While browsing through some real-world glider flights on YouTube, I came across numerous videos of the Schulgleiter SG-38. There is something incredibly appealing about this single seat training glider originally designed and built by Rehberg, Schneider and Hofmann in 1938. Moreover, the modern replicas featured in those videos look as though they would be just as thrilling to fly as the originals. I have absolutely no chance of flying one of these in real life but I was inspired by these videos to try the FSX model of this glider in one of the UK Virtual Gliding Association (UKVGA) vintage cross-country tasks.
The UKVGA vintage glider tasks are typically designed to suit vintage gliders that have have a maximum L/D ratio between about 1:20 to 1:30 and speeds between 60 to 70 kph. The Schneider Schulgleiter SG-38 from WolfGang Piper’s large collection of freeware gliders for FSX is not typical of the vintage gliders that UKVGA members usually choose for these events. The SG-38 has a much lower performance with a nominal L/D ratio of 1:10 at 52 kph, so this would be a more daunting challenge than your typical vintage glider for any cross-country task. But that is the advantage of a flight simulator – you can try the near impossible without concern for real-world limitations and consequences.
The task that I chose for the SG-38 was a recent UKVGA Association Group Launch event for vintage gliders designed by Mark Hubbard. This on-line vintage gliding task was set in Mexico (see Plan-G flight plan below.) The flight would be from Colotlán South airfield (MM33) to Colotlán airfield (MM19). The total distance was 50.6 nautical miles (94 km) and the soaring weather conditions promised to be relatively easy (i.e. suitable for vintage gliders.) So with this task package downloaded from the UKVGA forum, I hoped that I might have some chance of getting this particular glider model to the finish line.
Unfortunately, I could not attend this on-line event due to other commitments so I decided to fly it a few days later off-line. To add some interest I downloaded the IGC logfiles from the club members that had already flown the task and replayed them in FSX as AI gliders using the “sim-logger” add-on. This recreates some of the atmosphere of flying in an online event, albeit without the usual advantages of being able to converse with the other pilots and the LPC (Launch Point Controller) on TeamSpeak.
Being such a slow glider meant that the video of this flight became too long to be uploaded on my poor performing internet link to YouTube. So, reluctantly, I had to break the video narrative into three parts.
Part 1 features an introduction to the SG-38 glider model, a description of the task, two attempts at winch launching due to a cable break on the first, and my near disastrous effort to come to grips with the limited performance of this glider on the first leg of this cross-country task.
In Part 2 I am saved by dumb luck from the dangerous situation that I stupidly got myself into in Part 1. Then with restored confidence I manage to get past the first waypoint but the stress continues as I try to grapple with the performance limitations of this vintage glider, which is clearly unsuited to cross-country racing tasks.
In Part 3 I lose even more confidence in the ability of this glider to get me to the finish line as I try to skirt around a blue hole on the final leg of this cross-country task. This affects my judgment of final glide and I end up arriving at the finish line with some height to spare. Turning onto final too high and being cramped by hills behind the runway led to an awkward final approach without the benefit of air-brakes. Nevertheless, by some fluke I managed a decent soft landing on the grass.
In truth this virtual flight was probably unrealistic with this particular glider. However, flight simulation allows for a bit of occasional fun with foolhardy adventures like this.
Links related to this video:
UK Virtual Gliding Association: http://www.ukvga.org/
CumulusX! by Peter Lürkens: http://www.luerkens.homepage.t-online.de/peter/
Wolfgang Piper’s glider models: http://www.fsglider.de/index.htm
A real-world SG-38 replica flight on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cV6wZQdorVk
For more Sim Soaring videos see my YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/TuggyRacing