Flight Simulator Add-on Reviews:
Discus Glider X
|Discus Glider X
|Microsoft Flight Simulator X
|29.90 Euros (boxed);
27.95 Euros (download, 160MB)
What is it?
Discus Glider X is an add-on for
Microsoft Flight Simulator X from German publisher Aerosoft.
Based around the Schempp-Hirth Discus B. The original
release offered ten models but with the upgrade to version 1.5
a further three models were added, all with English cockpits
and British markings. Five Discus B gliders are
provided, four in German markings and one in British colours.
The Discus BT has an auxiliary engine which can be used in
flight but is not capable of being used for take-off; five of
these are provided - four in German markings and one
in British colours. The Discus BM can use its
engine for take-off but only around nine have been built;
three of these are provided - two in German colours and one in
imaginary British markings. Because Microsoft Flight Simulator
X will not allow aero tows if the towed aircraft has an
engine, Aerosoft has thoughtfully also included the WinchX!
facility, which allows all three types to be launched using
this module. Of course the pure glider Discus B can still be
launched using the default FSX aero tow facility.
Comprehensive documentation is also provided.
Discus B on the winch [click on
image to see larger version]
In detail ...
development (more than 20 months to create).
detail models (e.g. the Virtual Cockpit of the
BT model has 146384 polygons, more than double the
capacity of FS2004) using all the FSX options.
flight models that are accurate even in spins and other
than 100 non-standard sounds (created through flying with
open windows, side slips, pending stalls etc.), all
triggered by FSX variables and conditions using Aerosoft
water ballast system.
static ports (with selector) to avoid problems when using
the auxiliary engines.
of non standard animations, including elements that move
under high G load, as well as an animated pilot.
wing flex created with new technology.
instruments accurate, including Total Energy Compensation
(TEC) and Netto variometers.
yaw string, making coordinated flight easier.
models include a highly realistic C4 Flight Computer that
allows the pilot to calculate ideal speeds and routes.
a licensed copy of Winch X! .
full support of Schempp-Hirth, SDI Variomers and the SOAR
online glider community.
a FSX manual (English) and the real manuals for the
gliders and C4 Flight Computer (English and German)
Cable release [click on image to see larger
I confess I waited impatiently for this title to be
released and those 20 months while it was in development passed
by very slowly, cheered only by the odd 'taster' on the Aerosoft
web site of what delights were to come. In my opinion this
package takes FSX in a direction hitherto unexplored by most
mainstream publishers, namely into the wonderful world of
gliding (or soaring if you prefer). Granted, the default
FSX glider opens up this aspect but the Aerosoft package is, in
my opinion, the first to really offer something serious and
realistic for gliding enthusiasts. By including a motor glider
in the package. Aerosoft has also ensured that those seeking
full reality can take off, find their own thermals and then
glide away. The WinchX! utility also offers the chance to
soar into the skies with all three models as well as having the
option to have an aero tow with the pure glider Discus B, of
Initially this package provided ten Discus models, all in German
markings and with German language cockpits which had the desired
effect of ensuring that users read the manual, especially if,
like me, you don't speak German! The Aerosoft Forum also
had quite a dominance of German language postings on this
package, which may not be a surprise given that the designer is
German, but it did lead initially to a little disappointment
that the package and support wasn't so 'English friendly' as
some Aerosoft releases have been. However, with the
subsequent release of an update, taking Discus X to version 1.5,
three gliders wearing British markings are now included and
these also have English language in the cockpits so if you speak
English and haven't upgraded to version 1.5 yet, I'd recommend
it, especially as it fixed a few other early teething troubles.
The cockpits are different for each Discus variant and only the
Virtual Cockpit is provided. Not having a 2D cockpit might
appear to be a minus point but actually I have found that there
really is no need for one. The Pocket PC (GPS device) is a
little hard to read but the designer has already thought of that
and, with a click of a switch, a larger version is opened in a
new window in FSX. Reading the manual is certainly a must
with this package if you are to fully understand how the cockpit
works from basics such as releasing the cable to starting,
stopping & stowing the engine or understanding how the
complex C4 Flight Computer works - there is a separate manual
for the latter. Other aspects to master are the water
ballast system and the spoilers, which can be set to work on a
sliding scale, rather than just fully in or fully
deployed. All of this leads to a highly realistic
experience from inside the cockpit with the sound system being
the icing on the cake!
WinchX! is a very simple package to operate and it runs
separately in FSX. Before launch the user sets the cable
length, desired airspeed and cable strength before activating
the winch process. Once the winch launch has taken place
(assuming the cable hasn't broken), using the glider's cable
release sets you free and the cable even descends on a visible
parachute. Included is a manual explaining about WinchX!,
although I found it so simple to use that I didn't not need to
refer to the manual initially. From the same designer as WinchX!
comes another free package, CumulusX!, which creates thermal
lift with appropriate clouds and, while this is not included in
the Discus X package, it comes recommended - a link to the
relevant web site is given below.
The end result is a quite superb and novel add-on for Flight
Simulator X which must surely tick many boxes for those, like
me, who have been keen to exploit further the options that FSX
opens up as regards gliding. I have spent many happy hours
testing out this package and now that the testing is over, I
shall still come back to Discus X, I feel certain! I am
also quietly hoping that sales of this package go well so that
Aerosoft will be convinced to consider producing other gliders
for FSX and even inspiring some of its competitors to join the
fun and get the gliding bug.
Do I recommend this? I surely do!
[Version tested: 1.50.]
The Discus BM in flight with
the engine running [click on image to see larger
- Highly realistic gliding experience, offering something
new to flight simmers.
- A motor glider for FSX at last!
- Winch launch possible for all types, thanks to the
inclusion of WinchX!
- Comprehensive, detailed and illustrated manuals.
- Attention to detail everywhere - designed by those who
glide in real life.
Discus (BM) cockpit with pocket
PC view enlarged (top right) [click on image to see larger
and also ...
- The tow rope can be seen from inside the glider and
doesn't connect visibly with the glider when viewed
externally and the reflection on the inside of canopy isn't
interactive; apparently these are inherent faults with FSX,
rather than with Discus X.
- Engine deployment and starting are fiddly and cannot be
done using short cuts such as CTRL+E.
- Gliders on the ground can be very tricky to handle in
- Only German and British paints offered.
Discus BT coming in to land [click on image to see larger
Discus BM using the engine to
take off [click on image to see larger version] Cumulus X!
(creates thermal lift with
Discus BT with the engine deployed
[click on image to see
(no other gliding titles available for FSX?)
Discus BT with the canopy
open [click on image to see larger version]
of use, installation, documentation & support:
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