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Simulation-based Online Flight Training Experience (SOFTE)

A new phase of the SSA’s initiative to improve glider flight training through increased adoption of simulation-based flight training (Condor). Phase I of the initiative was announced in the May 2023 issue of Soaring Magazine and provided SSA Chapter Clubs with matching funding for the acquisition of glider flight simulation workstations. The program described below seeks to further advance this important initiative:

Simulation-based Online Flight Training Experience – SOFTE

The overall purpose of this initiative is to advance the sport of soaring by providing an addition source of cost effective, time efficient glider flight training. The program is open to current members of the Soaring Society of America and its affiliated Clubs, Chapters and Commercial Glider Operations, and while the potential exists for the program to cover a wide range of topics, the initial offering will focus on the initial stages of primary flight training for a glider category rating.

The program format is composed of:

  • webinar-based presentations/demonstrations
  • local simulation-based trainee performance/practice sessions
  • critique sessions

To help ensure participation, the webinar-based presentation/demonstration sessions will be hosted twice each week, first on Wednesday evening at 8:00 PM Central Time and then repeated on the following Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM Central Time.  Trainees may attend either or both presentation/demonstration sessions.

Following each presentation/demonstration session, trainees are responsible for completing any related simulation-based flight performance exercises and/or reading assignments.

With respect to critique, trainees are responsible for recruiting at least one flight instructor and/or qualified flight training mentor (private/commercially rated glider pilot) to provide them with critique services.  Ideally the critique agent would be a local resource, e.g., a club CFIG, club member, friend, etc.  In the event a local recruitment fails, SOFTE’s primary flight instructor will offer critique services on a numerically limited basis.  Critique may be provided online or in-person, is scheduled at the convenience of both parties, and is most effective when incorporated into the trainee’s practice sessions.  There is no requirement for persons providing critique to have any working knowledge of the simulation hardware or software.

The Simulation-based Online Flight Training Experience – SOFTE is available at no cost to SSA members in good standing at any of the available membership levels. While the course itself is available at no cost, there may be related equipment costs. See Equipment Costs/Sources below.

Requirements/Options:

The ability to view internet-based webinars. Because the webinar presentations will include video demonstrations, a high-speed network connection (e.g., cable, fiber-optic) is highly recommended. Access to a glider flight simulation workstation including:

  • Windows PC running Condor Version 2.1.8 (Required)
  • Condor ASK-21 Aircraft License Key (Required)
  • Joystick (Required)
  • Rudder Pedals (Optional but highly recommended)

If your joystick has a twist grip, that function may be used for yaw control.  View Control Device (Required) Options include:

  • Two-button computer mouse
  • Joystick with hat switch
  • Head-tracking system (e.g., TrackIR)
  • Virtual Reality Headset

Equipment Costs/Sources

  • Condor Software License- $65 (Cumulus-Soaring.com)
  • ASK-21 Aircraft License Key- $13 (Cumulus-Soaring.com)
  • Joystick-Logitech Extreme 3D Pro $45 (Cumulus-Soaring.com)
  • Rudder Pedal: -Logitech G Pro Pedals $210 (Cumulus-Soaring.com) -Thrustmaster Pedals $160 (Cumulus-Soaring.com) -CH Products Pro Pedals $??? (Amazon, Ebay)

Note: Matching funds may be available through the SSA Chapter Clubs simulation workstation acquisition program referenced in the Introduction section of this document.

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