Can I play The Freeflight Experience without a VR system?

Unlike airplanes which are often flown with reliance on instruments which help gauge speed, altitude, and attitude, hang glider pilots rely on subtle cues… visual, audio, touch and smell, to seek out and find updrafts to sustain flight. Some of these cues (visual and sound) can be now be adequately reproduced with the latest VR technology. Without the immersion of a VR display however, and the ability to naturally look in any direction, the value (from a training standpoint) of a hang gliding flight simulation is tremendously reduced.

What about VR sickness?

The Freeflight Experience is a highly dynamic VR experience, and it is not uncommon for users to initially find the first-person view experience uncomfortable. VR sickness is caused by inconsistent sensory signals from the vestibular (inner ear balance) and visual (eyes) sensing. Because we cannot yet accurately simulate the sensations of movement, some users will experience nausea when playing the game, and this discomfort will persist for hours after exiting VR. Generally, with repeated exposure, the symptoms diminish. Some users experience vertigo (dizziness) but do not report nausea.

To help our customers who experience VR induced motion sickness while flying the sim, we provide a third-person chase cam view, where you can watch yourself and your wing from a view similar to a trailing action cam in VR. Many users report a much more comfortable VR experience, probably because the glider image allows you to focus on something not moving around in your view. Over time, as your tolerance to experiencing the contradictory signals from your eyes and ears improves, you can graduate to flying from the pilots perspective. We also provide flight control assistance, to help you recover control if things get out of hand, since minimizing rapid maneuvers helps to reduce motion sickness.

Can I hook up a fan to create wind in my face, and drive this with data from the sim?

Yes. The simulation will support such devices by exposing data through a blackboard. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.

Can I run Freeflight Experience on my Mac?

The software was developed specifically to run on Windows based PCs, and places significant demands on the processor and GPU. Beta testers have run the game on their Macbook Pros using Bootcamp software to emulate a Windows system, and have reported good results. Others have used cloud-hosted solutions, such as ShadowPC or Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run the game. For those who don’t already own a gaming PC, these web-hosted services, together with “Virtual Desktop” software to wirelessly connect the headset to a local PC or cloud-hosted PC represents a lower up-front cost way to try the game.

Can I run the game standalone on my Quest headset?

We have created an experimental and very limited version of the game that runs directly on the Quest 2 and 3 hardware. The full-featured version of the game is available only as a PCVR title. We will revisit the capabilities of standalone headsets periodically, with the hope of someday releasing a standalone version without too many compromises.

I’ve never flown and hang glider. Can I learn to hang glide using this game?

In a word, NO. This is because hang gliding is as much a physical & athletic adventure as it is mental. Muscle & reflex memory is vital to flying— this can only be achieved by physical practice.” So, you should never step straight into a real hang glider flight, no matter how small the training hill, without a qualified instructor starting you from scratch.”

The game does however includes introductory tutorials to get you started and help you have a successful game experience. No software, book, or video is a substitute for quality professional instruction. If you are interested in learning to fly real hang gliders, you should only do so under the supervision of a qualified instructor to ensure your safety.

If this is your plan, FreeFlight Experience will give you the best head start that you can receive anywhere. No book or video can even come close to what you could learn from using this game before starting lessons. This knowledge may save you time and money, and may make you a better and safer pilot.

What do I need to use the simulator while hanging in my harness?

If you want to try this out while hanging in your glider on a stand, or a mounted control frame, all you need is a VR system like the Meta Quest. You can optionally use a Windows-compatible joystick attached to the airframe to measure the angle of your hang loop to realistically track the position of your weight-shift. This direct measurement of pilot weight positioning is necessary when training beginner pilots to ensure incorrect control habits are not reinforced.
The simplest method of control input is simply to use the position of the headset as the pitch and roll inputs. While this is not physically correct, its simplicity is ideal for sharing the hang gliding experience with non-pilots, or for practicing judgement and tactics related skills, rather than developing mechanical reflexes.