When I was asked if I wanted to review Glider Pilot from Apex. I thought that here was one simulation that I could really get to grips with as I have been flying gliders in real life for the last ten years.
Available on cassette, and both 3" and 5.25" discs, the simulation supports both key and joystick control.
A full introduction to both the world of gliding and the simulator itself is available and should be read.
The final page before the simulation begins is a reminder of the various key functions. I hope that the sales packaging will contain a printout of this page as I found I was always forgetting the commands during games. The objective in Glider Pilot is to fly for as long and as far as possible, points being awarded to provide competition.
During the flight the view ahead includes the instrumen tation, with variometer - which gives the vertical speed of the glider - air speed indicator and altimeter.
In addition indications of spoiler, pitch, inversion and control positions are given.
After the launch - towed by cable along a runway - in which you gain as much height as possible, you arc released. Now you need to find a thermal - a pocket of rising air - in which to gain height so that you can continue your flight. The distance to the next thermal is given - how I wish real gliders provided such information - but not the direction.
If you find it. you circle in it gaining height before progress ing to the next thermal.
A map is available and beacons can be rounded during flight to gain further points.
At the end of the flight a landing is required and, like the real thing, it is possible to land away from the runway although more points are available for landing back at base.
I was surprised at the difficulty I had in flying the simulator to begin with, although I quickly learned to at leastslay airborne. After several hours it is still demanding and I find it difficult to score high points.
A friend of mine, a newcomer to Hying, has learnt more slowly than I, but now flies the simulator better.
Maybe this reflects the differences between simulation and reality.
Although not as difficult as, say, Elite. Glider Pilot is a good package and a good introduction to gliding.