Review: Aerosoft Online – Discus Glider X

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2009-9-6_14-14-15-278Peter Hayes glided away in the Aerosoft Discus Glider X v1.00 and sums up his review with: “The Aerosoft Discus Gliders are excellent, great flight characteristics with little impact on frame rates. It is much better than the default glider, they have better instrumentation but coupled with that there is a steep learning curve on how to use them and to fly the glider at its best. If you are a glider pilot, it is a must to buy especially coupled with the downloadable free software, Cumulus X and Winch X. The support forum is excellent and the one or two early glitches are being addressed to be incorporated in an upcoming upgrade patch.” Read the more in-depth review after the break.

Aerosoft Discus Glider X v1.00
A Fleeting Floating Review by Peter Hayes.

In the Sim

Setup
If you have joystick or Yoke that has a slider I suggest that this axis is set to “Spoilers” it will make landing more realistic and less problematic. If you do not have a separate slider this little gadget maps the throttle to slider with a single click, you can download here: Throttle2spoiler.. Other controls are standard.

In the Select aircraft menu in FSX you will see a new tab for Specific 3d design and this allows the choice of all 10 models. We’ll choose one of the BM models (self powered) for the first flight. I loaded a glider in FSX to ensure it ran OK, then closed FSX and ran a “Complete Name” defrag with O&O ver 11.0.

In the Select aircraft menu in FSX you will see a new tab for Specific 3d design and this allows the choice of all 10 models. We’ll choose one of the BM models (self powered) for the first flight. I loaded a glider in FSX to ensure it ran OK, then closed FSX and ran a “Complete Name” defrag with O&O ver 11.0.

aersoft discus

Settings in FSX
The fuel and payload shows that the BM is 74 pounds overweight, but this may be due to a limitation in FSX with respect to the “water ballast” and doesn’t seem to affect the take-off performance. Realism settings should be set up according to the manual to ensure the best flying flight characteristics.

The Visuals
Externally and Internally excellent, and I hope some of my “screenies” reflect that excellence Here is a picture of the VC view (There is no 2-D cockpit):

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This is a quality model chock-full of goodies for the ultimate flying experience. Most of the flight instruments can be selected with a mouse click some left some right. The “pilot” can be hidden/shown with another click of the mouse.

Instrumentation
The instruments are comprehensive with 3 variometers (vario) in the models which are much more accurate than the default instruments. As all glider pilots would know the variometer (aka the rate-of-climb indicator, or the vertical speed indicator (VSI) is a vital piece of equipment for flying a glider (sailplane). These instruments inform the pilot of the rate of descent or climb, and can be read in knots, feet per minute (101.333 ft/min = 1 knot) or metres per second. (Wikipedia).

The three variometers modelled in the Aerosoft Discus are the Total Energy Compensated (TEC or TEK) vario, the “Netto” vario and the “Speed-to-fly” vario. Simply Total Energy Compensation is the actual sink or climb rate of the glider and is basically used to find the best rate of climb in a thermal. The Netto vario is a further enhancement of the TEK in that it simply nets out the sinking speed of the glider at a specific forward speed, to give you a reasonable approximation of the movement of air outside the glider. The Netto is excellent for ridge flying optimising your flight relative to the thermals/landscape. The “Speed-to-Fly” vario is modelled in the Discus as a SDI C4 Competition LCD gauge. This gauge takes into consideration all the parameters of the glider, eg water ballast, headwinds/tailwinds, detritus on the forward surfaces of the wings and computes the optimal airspeed that the glider should fly at. There is an excellent tutorial article on the Aerosoft Forum by B21 on “How to set up and use the SDI C4”, worthwhile reading.

Other Instrumentation
The radio is basic and has a limited range but is quite usable. Other instruments include, an Airspeed Indicator, an altimeter, and a PDA based GPS unit, all adding to the flying experience. Yaw String This is faithfully modelled in all variants and basically this does what the turn indicator ball does in motorised aircraft, i.e it accurately depicts slip or skid in a glider in flight. The manuals and the forum give a good indication on what the controls do and how to use them. Including the actual manuals for the real instruments is a masterstroke as it shows the amount of work and accuracy that have gone into creating the Discus.

Take-Off
Initially this does not appear to be straight forward in that certain set-up procedures need to be properly executed to ensure that your take-off is perfect. The manual describes how to set up and start the engine in the BM model and how to call for the tow plane in the un-powered model. There is an excellent guide on the forums again by “B21” on “How to take-off in the powered BM”. Once mastered either the winch method or the powered take-off are easy to use, but as know, “practice makes perfect”. So if at first you do not succeed it is all down to practice, more practice and even more practice and the forum is very supportive.

In Flight
The flight characteristics are excellent but as I am not a pilot I cannot compare them to a real-life Schempp-Hirth Discus glider. I liked the handling and it was easy to get those “thermals” using the free add-on Cumulus X. Everything seemed realistic and landing was much easier than the default glider by using basic flying techniques and judicious use of the spoiler. I landed the BM in both powered and un-powered mode and it seemed very realistic in both modes. The FTX Hervey Bay scenery used with real weather experiences a lot cross-winds and on several landings I had to “crab” the glider to stay line up on the runway. The 3 variants do seem to handle differently and the “hardest” to land was the unpowered model which seemed to have much more lift coming into land but using the spoilers made it a lot simpler to achieve a happy landing. I liked the retractable gear again a great aid to landing. In one glorious flight I managed to get up to a “giddy” 15,000 feet. Wow!

The Sounds
The Sounds are very good, being custom made, for the 3 variants and the swoosh of air as you fly un-powered is very satisfactory. I have attached some pictures of the Discus in flight and it certainly looks the part.

Conclusion
I liked this glider but I do like flying low and slow. I had a couple of minor issues when I first installed the “Discus” but these were easily fixed with a post on the forum. I can’t wait to see how far I can fly or how high I can get in this glider.

Peter Hayes
Australia, 2009.

Table of the Important Bits:

Publisher: Aerosoft
Supplier: Simmarket by direct download.
Download File Size: 160MB (zip file)
Installation File Size: 600MB
Simulator Requirement: FSX with SP2 (or Acceleration)
OS Requirements: Win XP, Vista and/or Win 7; Microsoft .NET Framework Version 1.1 & Microsoft Visual C++ 2008.
Variants: Three with 10 models: 4 x Discus B (pure glider), 4 x Discus BT (with “get-me-home motor” and ” cruise between thermals motor”) and 2 x Discus BM (motorised allowing take-off under own power).
Flight Models Five very accurate flight models, tested by ‘real-life’ Discus pilots.
Supplementary: Winch X: By default FSX does not allow any motorized aircraft to be air towed, so Aerosoft include WinchX v1.0.0!  (Publisher: Peter Luerkens) a fantastic freebie add-on that simulates a realistic winch launch.  I already use this and it is just brilliant.
Testing System: Intel E8600, 4GB DDR 800 RAM, Vista 64 SP2, nVidia 9800 GT, 182.50 Driver; FSX SP1 + SP2; 750GB SATA II Seagate 7200 HDD. No Tweaks all standard and no over-clocking.
Scenery: FTX Hervey Bay Airport.
Installation: Note: Vista UAC & Windows Defender disabled temporarily) Installation is simplicity itself being automatic via a self extracting exe file.  The downloaded zip file can be expanded with the Standard Windows “Extract All” command or 3rd party software eg WINZIP.  Winch X installs after the main installation and there is an option to set various towing parameters.  I left this at the default.
Manuals / Documentation German and English Manuals  are found post-installation in the FSXMainFolder\Aerosoft\Discus\.  The flight manuals for each variant are the actual glider manuals as supplied by Schempp-Hirth.  There is also a general manual supplied by Aerosoft covering the basics of set-up and operation.
Support: http://forum.aerosoft-shop.com/

On the Runway At Hervey Bay
On the Runway At Hervey Bay

In Flight over Hervey Bay
In Flight over Hervey Bay

Pilot in Charge
Pilot in Charge
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Engine Stopped Ready to Stow
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Spoilers extended Engine stopped

Close-up of the power plant
Close-up of the power plant
From Below
From Below

Powered flight over the sea.
Powered flight over the sea.
VC NO pilot!!

VC NO pilot!!

VC showing yaw string, GPS on Final

VC showing yaw string, GPS on Final

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