The Hang Gliding Files Widget – 3.0.2.0

Everything you need to fly a hang glider in MSFS 2020

Airplanes fly from airports. Hang Gliders fly from mountains! Flight simulators are made to find and fly to and from airports using a motor of some sort. To fly hang gliders in simulators you first need the aircraft, then the ability to launch the aircraft (with no motor and no runway), and a way to get your aircraft to a flying site, which is almost never an airport. But it can be! To fly a foot launchable Hang Glider in the MSFS 2020 simulator from any mountain on Planet Earth, you need to know where those sites are and a way to put your glider on a mountain top somewhere without falling off of it!

This tool gives you all that you need to fly a hang glider like a hang glider in real life, in one package. The widget.

IT IS FREE! And all future upgrades to the widget, including new standard gliders, will be free too!

This version of the widget tool includes at least 1 glider, 320+ flying sites to start, and the ability to go to these sites and foot launch your glider.

Glider(s)

This tool will someday include at least 1 standard glider(s) model for each category. But for now, we only include 1 glider model. With each upgrade to this software, we will hope to include a new glider for the empty categories.

All of our gliders can be foot launched, winch launched or aerotowed without modifications.

The goal is to delivery to every simulator pilot (installer of this widget), at least 1 model for every hang glider category type. This will allow us all to fly in multi-player mode with other pilots and always be able to see some other hang glider versions, categories and liveries. To all other pilots without the widget, you will probably look like a Cessna or something like that. That is one reason we provide all of this to the community for free. The other reason is that no one will pay to fly a hang glider as virtually no one really knows how and where to fly them! Real hang glider pilots are exceedingly rare. We need to start there.

At some point in the future, we will be providing the option of individual, custom-made gliders. These will be their own products. These will all be based on the core category glider types. Other pilots flying with you that do not have your custom glider will see the base category glider instead, but they will at least see you as a proper category of hang glider. We hope to be making many unique gliders into the future.

Categories

Single Surface: The HAWK

Hawk

The Hawk is a weight shift controlled, single surface, entry level glider. It soars in the lightest of wind and is very forgiving in its flying characteristics. An excellent glider to start your hang-gliding journey.

Highly detailed glider model. Great in VR!

Fully animated wind tell-tail.

Fully animated pilot position poses.

Functioning Variometer with 3 position choices.

Choice of wheels.

3 livery choices.

Supports user defined tail numbers.

Supports foot-launch, winch launch, or aerotow launching.

King Post – double surface

Gliders that are weight shift controlled, have good performance but also easy handling. Great for everyday flying.

*** INCLUDED IN FUTURE RELEASES ****

Topless – performance glider

Gliders that are weight shift controlled, have great performance and go very far distances. Harder to fly, but worth it.

*** INCLUDED IN FUTURE RELEASES ****

Spoiler controlled high performance glider.

Gliders that have great performance but are controlled by both aerodynamic controls and weight shift.

*** INCLUDED IN FUTURE RELEASES ****

Foot launched sailplane glider.

Gliders that are controlled only by aerodynamic controls and have excellent performance. These gliders can also be foot launched.

*** INCLUDED IN FUTURE RELEASES ****

Ground Handling

A hang glider is moved around on the ground using only your feet! You are responsible for positioning your glider on launch and to be in the right position for a safe launch. You are also responsible for when and how you launch. (that would be running!) After landing, you probably need to move your glider to a suitable parking area as well. You get the ability to do all of this by simply installing the widget.

You can then ground handle your glider using the widget pages/controls or you can map your flight controls (joystick, HOTAS, etc.) to use our specific mapped MSFS 2020 events that will activate the ground handling features. The functions we need are not part of the simulator, so we hijacked some events that would never be used on a hang glider and that allows you to create your own unique configuration for your personal setup. See the widget pages to see what events you will need to map to buttons.

Ground handling features:

Set Down You can put the glider down on the ground so that it does not move. You can still change direction but not location.

Pickup You can raise the glider off the ground. When you do this, you can walk your glider around! You do this using the joystick like you would in any video game.

Foot Launch You can attempt to foot launch from any site on planet Earth. But you will need to run, and you do that by how fast and many times you click the launch button. Not enough or too much will likely end in a crash! Picking a good launch is a priority.

Exit/Enter: You can get out of the glider or back in, at any time while you are on the ground. Good way to look around and watch your friends or just check out conditions!

Flying Controls

Weight-shift hang gliders also need to have some different/unique controls while in the air. These functions can also be mapped directly to your specific flight controller setup.

Flying control features:

Prone Flying in the prone position. It is the most aerodynamic position and provides the most control authority.

Upright Flying in the upright position. It lowers your feet to get ready for landing. It provides more drag and lets you control your glide path on your landing approach. It has reduced control authority.

Yaw Flying wings do not have a tail rudder so you control your yaw by moving your feet! This is only active during flight and not on the ground.

Flair You can land on the wheels, but to do a foot landing you need to slow the glider to an almost zero ground speed. You do that by using the Flair control at the right time. Not too early, not too late.

Weather Presets

To properly fly you need to set the weather! We have included over 60 pre-configured, real world, weather presets in this package. They are available to use with any aircraft, at any site or airport. These represent classic cloud types, cloud layering (up to 3 separate layers) and wind velocities.

All clouds layers are configured to be in heights relative to the ground elevation, thus allowing them to be usable from sea level up to the highest mountain launches.

You can control when and how you weather presets by installing the optional download best suited for how you want to manage weather presets.

  • The FULL Widget contains all widget code and all-weather presets automatically included.
  • The MINI Widget contains all widget code and NO weather presets present.

INSTALL ONLY 1 OF THE ABOVE VERSIONS AT A TIME.

  • The Weather Presets alone.  This can be used in conjuction with option 2 above.  This will let you add and remove the weather presets as you wish.

Soaring Conditions

All of these weather presets can be soarable in some way, but they will not be soarable for every site or site type or time of year or wind direction. That is up to you to setup your flight conditions for any given day, but I would suggest that you experiment to test your skills in a variety of weather conditions.

Wind direction.

Each preset comes with a defined set of wind layers. All the layers have a defined velocity and direction. The direction of wind is what you should modify to suit your choice of flying site. Once you have chosen your day’s weather, change the wind direction to match your site launch requirements. You can modify velocities as well.

Multiplayer weather

When you want to fly with other pilots, it is absolutely crucial to your group, that all pilots fly the exact same weather conditions. Otherwise, chaos. I mean it, it won’t be pretty. By using these Widget Weather presets, you all have the same weather, all the time.

 Choosing your weather while flying

All the weather presets can be selected and modified using the weather tool from the tool bar in MSFS 2020. If you modified the weather presets (as shown above), each and every THGF preset will work for your site.

In flight weather preset choices example as provided by the Widget.

Choosing weather before you fly

You can also choose from these weather presets before starting your flight using the Weather and Time section of the pre-flight screen (if you are using weather presets). Again, if you have modified these presets for a specific site (see THGF app above) before staring MSFS 2020, then all of them will be set for your site.

pre-flight weather selection example

Widget

The widget is the tool bar application you will see inside MSFS 2020 when in the flying mode.

You can open the widget in regular flying mode or while in VR. You must be in the FLY NOW mode for the toolbar to be active.

Teleportation Page


Teleportation page showing site information, setup areas, launches, and landing areas that can be spawned to:

The widget will default to showing you the first site it finds in the current database. You can then scroll thru the entire database of sites using the forward and backward arrows.

This widget allows you to teleport any aircraft to any flying site in the world that it knows of in its database. This is the main page of the widget as that is what you will likely use the most. All of the other background features and the glider(s) are always available, and it is not necessary for you to do anything to have them active.

Once you have found a site.

You will see some description of that site and where it is. You will also see group of three (3) buttons.

These are the TYPES of places you can teleport to at this site. A flying site can have multiple areas of each of these types. Click on an icon to change the displayed type(s).

Teleport point types.

2. Launch areas. These are usually well-defined launch sites. Some may include launch ramps.
(* NOTE: you do not have to launch from these places, you can launch from anywhere you want)

3. Landing areas. These are marked landing areas for this site. You do not have to land here either. You can land anywhere you like, but the landing areas are known safe places. They are also generally within a reasonable gliding range from Launch in light wind conditions. However there is never any guarantee that you will always make it to that landing area. You must learn to evaluate weather conditions and capabilities of the wing you are flying. Just like the real thing but with no physical risk.

Searching

Once you have chosen a spawn type, you may see 1 or more places to teleport to. By simply clicking on any item, you will be transported to that location!

Setup areas are usually flat. Launch areas are usually steep. Visiting the landing areas are usually a good idea to get acquainted with before flying a new site.

Teleporting may take some time. Please be patient! The simulator must re-adjust itself and load all the scenery and details of this new planetary location, weather, season, and date/time. You may even find yourself upside down (if you chose the other side of the world). Don’t worry if your jump is not successful. Just try it again, and it will likely work. This will all be dependent on the speed of your computer, what data you have cached, your internet connections, and many other factors.

Filtering the database

You can find a specific site by typing in a site name, or partial name. Every site that matches will appear in a list. You can then choose anything from that list.

You can also just filter the list by type (thermal, ridge, tow, etc). This will shorten the list to included only these types. Or can use the country code as an additional filter as well.

If you do not know of any sites, roll the dice! Use the surprise me button. Go on an adventure.

Ground Handling Page

Ground handling example. Shows what standard events you need to map to your controller.

You should map the specific MSFS 2020 simulator events to your flight controls/buttons and then remember how you have them set up.

Flying Controls Page

Flying page: Shows what events you need to map to your controller setup.

You should map the specific MSFS 2020 simulator events to your flight controls/buttons and then remember how you have them set up.

Instruments Page

Options you can set for your variometer.

The type of variometer/flight computer you see on each glider is determined by the glider itself. This page only lets you change where you see the variometer.

Wheels Page

Options you can set for your wheels.

The type of wheels (if any) you see on each glider is determined by the glider itself. This page only lets you change wheel types or even if you see wheels at all.

Statistics Page

Prototype statistics page *** BETA *** not functional at this time

We are looking to capture your accomplishments as you fly. These are just prototype suggestions of what we might do here. These would be your personal accomplishments and available to only you. We may also look into keep track of site and world records and save those off in the cloud! Maybe competition results as well.

Go flying.

This tool contains everything you need to fly a hang glider in MSFS 2020.

But don’t be surprised if it is harder than it looks! There are skills to learn just to get it off the ground, let alone on top of a mountain somewhere. The controls are not normal. This is not ‘normal’ aviation. Then there is soaring and staying up. You will need to understand and control weather conditions. You may want to fly somewhere not in the database. You may want to fly with your friends. You may have a lot of questions. You may not have any idea what I am talking about so far, that is ok. Download the widget anyway. Try it out. Then watch our videos, ask questions on discord or just email us about anything. Then let’s go flying together.

Download this Add-On package.

This is an Add-On modification package designed for the MSFS 2020 Flight Simulator that will allow you to teleport any aircraft to any known hang glider site. Any aircraft used other than a THGF Hang Glider will crash spectacularly if you use this app to move them to Hang Glider sites. These are not airports. This should be self-evident, but you never know.

You must install this add-on into your community folder for your installed MSFS 2020 installation! That is all there is to it. READ the information on this page about what this add-on does and why you may want to install it.

This add-on is only activated when you are in the flight simulator, and you can access it using the Toolbar menu. If it is not on your toolbar, then you have not successfully installed it or you have disabled it from the toolbar.

Just Read the Instructions

Release Notes:

3.0.1.0 March 30, 2024 
Contains absolutely everything you need to fly a hang glider in MSFS 2020.  This update contains the following updates and bug fixes.

  • Weather Presets
    The widget will now come in 3 flavors to allow pilots more say in how the weather presets are used.
  • Standard Widget – has all weather preset included.
  • No-Presets Widget – has no weather presets included.
    • Weather preset package as a separate download and installation.
  • Site Database
    Now includes 360+ sites.  Including many submitted by the community of pilots.  Thank you to all contributors.  Please send in any new sites you create!
  • UI Updates
    • New main search page has easier to use new search criteria and button layouts.
    • Searching now includes all possible text fields that may match any text you enter.  You can find sites by Country, state, description, as well as just names.
    • You can also now filter those results to only include sites with specific criteria like only beach site or just ridge soaring sites.  These filters require that this information has been defined for each site.   Most existing sites in the database do not have these definitions fully defined yet.
  • Shared variometer code
    • All gliders, of all makes and models and styles will share the same variometer and flight instrument code base.  This means that when we update the widget in the future all your current gliders get an updated variometer!

  • Vario Position Saved between sessions.
    • When you place the vario in the location you like this will be where the vario will appear every time you start MSFS 2020.  This will be true for every glider you fly.  The same is true for your wheel settings for gliders with wheels.
  • Vario Measurement Units Setting
    • You can now configure the variometer to use your preferred unit types for reporting data.  These settings are persistent so that they will remain your assigned settings every time you start MSFS 2020.  All data fields will now be displayed in your defined settings.
  • Vario Tone Settings Page
    • We have a new configuration page that lets you turn on and off certain sound settings on the vario!
  • Vario flight data Page
    • The flight data page will show you all the statistical information about your flight when you land.
  • New Flight Computer Functions
    • With 3.0.1.0, we are introducing the flight computer functions on the common variometer!  All existing gliders will automatically get this update when you update to the new Widget.
    • A flight computer will allow you to load up a task and then guide you around the turn-points defined within that task to get to a goal or destination.   This can be used for fun with your friends, or you can use them in a competition.
    • The flight computer can fly any task that meets the XCSoar standard data configuration.  This is widely supported in the gliding community, and you can easily find existing tasks to find or just create your own.
  • Vario Choose Task Page
    • This new page allows you to choose a task to fly from any TSK file that has been put into your Widget working directory (not community).  You can change tasks while inside the simulator at any time by simply choosing another task file.  This allows you and your friends to pick a task that suites existing conditions once you are on launch!  Any task you choose will remain the default task every time you start MSFS 2020 until you choose another.  This lets you leave the site and return, and you are not required to set the vario up again.  It always knows your last vario state.
  • Vario Turn Point Page
    • Once an XCSoar task has been selected, you can see each of the turn points defined and the current state of each of those turn points.  As you are flying the task, you can return to this page to see your progress, what is remaining to be done and other information about completing the tasks.  Upon completion of the tasks, you will see your flight statistics such as average speed and time to complete.
  • New Vario Functions
    • In addition to now having a flight computer that can load and manage flying tasks, we have modified the variometer data displays fields as well.
    • Each page of data can be customized by each pilot to show whatever data he/she desires in any order on any page in any combinations.  You can define it to be just how you want to use it.
    • The vario will come with a set up pre-defined data for each page.
    • To change any data field to any other data field, just click on that field with the mouse and cycle through all the possible data types until you get what you want.
  • Color Speed Indicators
    • We added color markers for some data on this version.  This includes speed markers for important speed numbers such as VNE and stall speed.  These are different for each glider and come directly from the glider itself and not the vario.
  • Waypoint direction indicator
    • We have added a new green arrow on the analog compass that points to the heading for the next turn point.
  • Modified wind direction indicator
    • We have modified the wind direction indicator to be more visible and understandable.
  • Waypoint direction guide
    • We added a new waypoint direction guide at the bottom of all the vario pages.  This simple indicator shows you if the current waypoint is to your right or to your left or centered for quick waypoint navigation on any screen.
  • 5 pages of user definable data pages.
    The variometer itself has about 60 different types of data information values that it is producing.  You can have any of these data elements on any page in any way you wish.  We supply 6 data pages for this purpose: 
    • Free flight data Page
      • This page defaults to general soaring information for staying up.
    • Start Gate Page
      • This page defaults to waypoint information that will get you to the start gate at the right time.
    • Waypoint Page
      • This page defaults to information that will let you navigate to the current waypoint or turn-point.
    • Finish Gate Page
      • This page defaults to information will get you to the finish line fast and above the minimum altitude.
    • Thermal Page
      • This page defaults to information about your last thermal climb.
    • AAT page
      • This page defaults to information about how to best maximize your flying specifically to flying this type of timed task.

2.2.2.0 Update January 24, 2024

  • Site Database. Now includes 320+ sites. All over the world.
  • UI Updates.
    • Modified the User Interface look to clean it up and make it a little simpler.  We are trying to make it as easy as possible to do what you need to do to find a site and fly.
    • Spawn points now show the heading and altitude of each point.
  • Weather Presets
    • We include 61 pre-built weather presets you can use when flying.  We have updated names and images to give you a better understanding of what to expect.  These weather presets come with pre-determined wind speeds and directions as well as cloud levels and types.  Virtually any cloud type variation can be applied to any site.   You may need to modify wind direction to fit your site, but we don’t recommend that you change wind speeds.
  • Ground Handling.
    • Modified some ground handling functions to use more standard aviation actions.
      • Pickup and set down functions are now tied to GEAR DOWN and GEAR UP.
      • This means that almost all existing aircraft configurations you have for MSFS 2020 will work if you know how to raise and lower gear using buttons.  If you don’t have them mapped, you will need to do that.
      • These updates also greatly reduce the number of flickers that could occur in some situations. Flicker still happens as the gear is raised or lowered, just what MSFS 2020 does when doing this on the ground! Also removed the Z key activation of call for a tow.
      • Auto Prone. This feature will automatically put the pilot into the prone flying position when it is detected that you are flying and have not actually launched.  This allows you to just drop the glider into the sim or use the slew functions to start your flight.
      • Auto Upright. This feature will automatically put the pilot into the upright flying position when it is detected that you are flying but are within 10 feet of the ground.  This gets you into landing position, even if you forget to do it yourself.
      • Wire Man Mode. This feature will let you hit the launch key 1 time and be in ‘wire’ mode. In this mode, the glider is affected by the wind but will not move on the ground.  This lets you foot launch in windy conditions that would otherwise blow you right off the ground.  Hit the launch key again, and you are free to run (or just elevator up).
      • Running. The launch sequence has been updated so that you can ‘jump’ (by hitting the launch key) or you can ‘run’ by pushing your joystick forward after you release ‘wire’ mode.
  • Hawk Glider Modifications:
    • Cockpit view
    • The pilot/harness are no longer visible when you are in the cockpit view.  This prevents clipping of these items while flying.  If you switch the view mode to free form (hold down right mouse button or use a controller) it will be visible.  The pilot and harness are always visible in external modes.
    • Pilot animations
    • We are very happy to add complete pilot animations to this update!  This includes arm motion while flying and on the ground.  In addition, we have also added moving legs and feet when moving on the ground.   These do not change how the glider flies at all but makes for much more realistic flying.
    • This was a very difficult development process, but we hope you like what we came up with.
    • Textures
      • We have improved our use of cloth textures in this release.  We hope you agree.  We have also added some details using stickers and decals.
  • Multiplayer Support
    • The Hawk glider has been modified to support all future custom single surface gliders in multi-player mode.   If you are flying with another pilot who has a custom glider you will now see that glider as a Hawk.  We have also made it possible that the Hawk will now look like a standard LS8 sailplane to anyone who does not have hang gliders installed.
  • Custom Glider Support
    • We are building custom gliders as well.  The basic hang gliding system needs to be able to support this and we have built that into this version.
    • Shared variometer code
    • All gliders, of all makes and models and styles will share the same variometer and flight instrument code base.  This means that when we update the widget in the future all gliders get an updated variometer!
    • Shared ground handling code
    • All gliders also share the same ground handling code.  As we make improvements and bug fixes over time, this too is automatically applied to all custom aircraft.
    • Shared generic aircraft
    • We have built in updates to the MSFS 2020 generic aircraft database that defines what generic aircraft to show when no standard aircraft exists or if you do not have a custom glider one of you fellow pilots have.  Either way, you will always see a hang glider (of some sort) whenever you come across one in multiplayer mode.
2.1.0.0 Update
  • Modified teleportation page search to add filter criteria, county code search, and a surprise me button to randomly pick a site for you. You can also now use the forward and backward buttons to move the list of results.
  • Added 60+ real world weather presets. These will now show up naturally for any site and/or aircraft in MSFS 2020. You will still need to modify the wind direction to best suit your selected site. Or you can use the THGF app to change all 60+ presets to be perfect for your chosen site before you enter MSFS 2020. Then all you need to do is just choose your weather.
  • Fixed time of day display in variometer to use 12-hour clock and not a 24-hour clock.
2.0.0.0 Initial Product Release
  • Includes Widget tool bar that controls everything. This tool will show up in your standard MSFS 2020 toolbar once this product has been installed.
  • Includes the HAWK hang glider ready to fly. This glider will automatically appear in your hanger.
  • Includes 195 flying sites. You can use the widget toll to teleport your glider to any of them.
  • Includes working variometer instrument. This instrument allows you to detect lift and sink as well as many other flight parameters.
  • Includes ability to move the glider on the ground, walk, run, takeoff, set the glider down and even get in and out of the glider when on the ground.
  • Includes ability to fly in either the prone or upright position. You can even flair the glider for landing.