Condor The Competition Gliding Simulator
Ralph H. - Essex Gliding Club Feb 2016.
Condor - "The competition soaring simulator" can be installed on a Windows PC, and provides a remarkable simulation
of flying a glider in a variety of weather conditions and scenery.
My version of Condor is: 1.1.0, which is out of date, but it runs well on my 10 year old PC.
My PC has a 2 GHz cpu and a NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 graphics card.
The latest Condor version is 1.1.5.
Like other flying simulators, to get the best out of Condor, the PC needs a joysticks to provide proportional elevator and aileron control.
Rudder pedals are desirable , but a joystick will do, especially if it has a twist input to help steer on the ground.
Flight model simulation:-
The way the gliders fly and respond to the controls, the speed, and the air around them etc is very good.
The Condor team have done an excellent job with it.
Take off, landing, flying faster and slower, turning, the trim, the affects of the controls pulling up and diving are all very well done.
The behaviour of gliders at the stall, with and without rudder input, with and without a wing down,
with and without a fully developed spin, are also modelled so well.
Spin recovery is modelled too of course and again seems so realistic.
I don't really enjoy spinning in real gliders, but its a great thing to practice in Condor.
The subtle affects of minor turbulence, lift and sink, ridge and thermal is also modelled so well.
The gliders do 'feel' like they are flying in real air.
I've flown real gliders for many years now, so far 30 different glider types from a T21 to a Duo Discus.
Yet I still can't fault the Condor flight model.
Glider crashes due to collisions with scenery or over speeding etc are correctly simulated.
I don't recall destroying a glider with excessive 'G', or colliding with another glider,
but knowing how well the Condor team have simulated other things, I expect those are correctly simulated too.
Condor comes with default scenery based in Slovenia.
The scenery has some wonderful mountain areas, interspersed with valleys with some gliding clubs and villages.
Trees, buildings, mountains and fields are all simulated.
The detail of the scenery is dependant on the settings.
Higher detail and resolution can be selected with satisfactory
performance if your PC has a good graphics card.
My PC is very old now, AMD Athlon 2 MHz, 512 Mbytes RAM but has a NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 graphics card,
so is fine on the average scenery settings, with version 1.1.0 of Condor.
A 'hat' switch on a joystick can be programmed to change the view to either side or up down etc.
I find the way the views pan on Condor is more intuitive than others flying simulations.
What you can do with Condor-
You can take off by winch or aero tow, fly circuits, soar in thermal and ridge, and of course land anywhere sensible including fields.
You can practice emergencies, such as winch launch failures, to aid training and get into the habit of recovering the glider to
a safe attitude and speed, and landing with the height available.
Winch launch failure rate can be programmed in, but you can always pull the release at any time.
I've set the release to be the trigger on my joystick.
You can set a task round various turn points, short or long distance, and then fly it, and see what time you achieve.
Set the weather and soaring conditions to suit you.
Thermals can be set to various strengths and width and the height of convection and cumulus set appropriately.
Turbulence can be set, at various levels.
The wind direction and strength can be set, and this directly influences the ridge lift on slopes.
Steep high ridges facing the wind have stronger lift,
whereas shallower ridges or those not quite facing into wind have less lift, just as you would expect.
All slopes generate less lift in light winds. The sink is also less.
A steep slope that is in the wind shadow of a taller mountain will be poor for lift, as expected.
You can enter competitions on line and fly against other real pilots on the same task. I've not tried this.
Have some fun, by for example doing things you would never dare to do in a real glider.
EG: Land up hill on a mountain side, and before the glider gets slow, rudder the glider round to point downhill.
Wait for the glider to gain speed rolling down the steep slope, then take off again !
You can do multiple beat ups , the first at high speed, then pull up,
steep turn and dive down to do a second beat up and sometimes even a third or fourth.
If you push it too far, you may find yourself negotiating with the tree tops on the final turn !
You can fly lots of different glider types, including high performance modern types you could never afford in real life:-
for example Discus, Nimbus4, ASW22.
I've heard reports that lee waves are simulated in Condor, but whenever I've tried to set the weather for wave,
I've not found any. This may be because I'm using an old version of Condor,
or maybe I just haven't set up the weather correctly for lee waves.
You can take lessons with the flight school option.
There are various sound control options.
The flight logs can be displayed, showing height profile and where you went.
You can create and save your own flights, with weather, glider type and task if required.
There is various optional scenery available such as the Alps, and Scotland, which are both nicely modelled.
Ridge soaring works with these.
For example, it possible to ridge soaring from Feichebridge to Aboyne with a westerly and no thermals.
What you can't do with Condor:-
On Condor there is no CFI to tell you off when you take a risk.
You don't get mud on your boots pushing gliders.
You can't drive the winch or fly the tug.
You can't put the world to rights on a rainy day with your friends in the clubhouse.
If I am to be hyper critical, I could point out that in common with other PC based flight sims I've tried,
the controls have a very slight delay. They move a split second after the actual joystick is moved.
This affect happens with other sims too, and most of the time goes unnoticed.
99% of the time the controls are moved smoothly, so it has no bearing on the flight.
However, if landing in turbulence, that last hold off action with a sharp stick movement is not
as immediately effective as on a real glider. Having said that, real gliders have some inertia too,
so I am being hyper critical here.
In real gliders on aero tow, we try to keep the rope taught, by minimising any up and down movement of
the glider. If a pilot pushes the nose down too much on tow, the rope can bow and become slack.
It then comes tight with a jerk.
This affect is about the only thing I could find which is not simulated in Condor.
This is being hyper critical.
In real life glider pilots try to avoid causing jerks in the rope !
Lets face it, Condor is a glider simulator, not a rope simulator !
So please don't let these comments put you off buying Condor.
The comments are here to let you know I am looking at the sim in a critical way.
Condor is a superb glider sim.
The accompanying screen shots were taken at Lesce-bled which is part of the scenery that comes with Condor.
Condor is a great glider simulation.
The flight and weather models are brilliant.
Well worth the £40 I spent on it.
It can be purchased on line at their web site.