Author Archives: Frank

About Frank

ex-government parasite, ex-skydiver, ex-scientist, current cross-country racing pilot and Condor Soaring Simulator advocate

First Lesson Plan Finished – whee!

My intent for this entire website is to provide reasonably complete and effective lesson plans for XC training using Condor, for both students and instructors.  Interested and motivated students can use the lesson plans as a self-study guide if they can’t find an instructor, and instructors can use the lesson plans as, well, lesson plans! ;-).  I intend to lean heavily on the FAA lesson plan layout, as this is a familiar format for instructors, and is reasonably complete/explanatory in its own right.  It may look a little stilted to students unfamiliar with the format, but it is effective.   With the website setup here, the lesson plans can be augmented with additional material via imagery and links to other documents.

Put the ‘final’ touches on the first lesson plan (assuming it is ever really ‘final’!) this morning.  The lesson plan uses the FAA lesson plan format to the extent possible, augmented with hopefully appropriate links to other pages/material.

On to Session 2!

Frank (TA)

Condor Primary Training Website

Scott Manley, my partner in crime and fellow Condor training proponent, is launching a sister website, dedicated to the use of Condor as a primary flight instruction tool.

Individuals interested in soaring can significantly reduce the real-life calendar time required to solo and/or obtain a private glider license through the use of the Condor Soaring Simulator, combined with Scott’s thoroughly researched and effective instructional techniques.  Scott pioneered the use of the ‘Skype Webcam Technique’ for primary flight instruction, and I have adopted it for use in my cross-country training curriculum.

Check out the site at

Adding a ‘favicon’ to the site

OK, figured out how to add a ‘favicon’ image to the site.  The ‘favicon’ is the little 16×16 image that shows up to the left of the website tab at the top of the browser.  I’m a bit surprised this isn’t part of the default setup (and maybe it is but I can’t find it?), but in any case, ‘Google is your friend!’

see for the details.


Adding author information to single-user twentytwelve blog

I noticed that the author information I was used to seeing on my Soaring Cafe posts weren’t appearing on these posts, so I started digging (again!). Turns out the TwentyTwelve theme doesn’t add the author info until/unless there are multiple registered users on the site *and* there are posts by at least two different authors.

To defeat this ‘too smart for its own good’ setup, I did the following (see for details)

  • copied functions.php from twentytwelve to twentytwelve-child
  • deleted the contents of the new functions.php (remember, child php files are executed *after* the corresponding php file of the parent), and added the required filter line “add_filter( ‘is_multi_author’, ‘__return_true’ );”


Eliminating the header images from the ‘Condor Cafe’ blog page

After getting the random image header working, I realized I might have too much of a good thing, in that the images tend to take a *lot* of space!  This is OK for the Welcome page, but not necessarily so for the ‘Condor Cafe’ blog page.

So, I started researching the issue (yay Google!) and found there were a number of posters with the same problem.  The answer turns out to be a small modification to the ‘style.css’ file, something I was a bit loath to do, but…

Anyway, I wound  up doing the following:

  • Created a ‘child’ template called ‘TwentyTwelve Child’ (the nomenclature suggested by the WordPress.Org article on the subject)
  • Create a new, blank ‘style.css’ file in the child file folder (did this using  the GoDaddy ‘File Manager’ applet).  This ‘style.css’ gets executed *instead of* the parent’s ‘style.css’
  • In the new ‘style.css’, place the line”@import url(“../twentytwelve/style.css”);”.  This causes the entire parent ‘style.css’ to be executed
  • Below the above line, place the line “.blog img.header-image {
    display: none;
    }”.  This disables the header-image for all pages with class = “blog”.  See for the details on this.

Now my ‘home’ page (class = home) and others (class = page) still show the header images, but the blog page does not.  This is a much better approach than using page-id numbers, as those could change over time.

Adding a page for Condor Corner articles

I have been trying to figure out how to present Condor Corner articles on the new site.  I wanted to have all our articles available here, and for a while I thought that meant I needed a ‘file/document’ management plugin.  After doing a fair bit of research, I came to the conclusion that most, if not all, of the available plugins either did WAY more than I needed, or didn’t work, or both!  So, I decided to simply add a ‘Condor Corner Articles’ page to the site, and just edit the page to contain the links to the documents and a short description of each installment.

As it turns out, the CC articles are also archived on my home club’s site (, so all I had to do was cut/paste the text from their page to mine, and voila! it was all there!  Well, the one minor fly in the ointment is that all the links point back to – but who cares where the actual document resides? ;-).

TA finishing at the Region 5 North (Perry, SC) Contest

Starting Up….!

This is my first blog post to the new ‘condor cross-country soaring’ site.

The genesis for the new site was ‘website envy’ brought on when Scott Manley showed me the website he is creating as the focal point for using Condor as a tool for accelerating primary glider instruction.

When I saw the site, I immediately wanted to be part of Scott’s effort, but he wasn’t particularly enthusiastic (probably a wise stance in retrospect).  Instead, he urged me to create a companion site focused on the use of Condor for cross-country soaring education, and so here I am ;-).

I have created websites in the past using HomeStead and Google Sites, and this worked very well for more or less static website layouts.  However, I wanted this one to be scalable, expandable, and easily maintained, and I quickly settled on WordPress as the platform of choice.

Of course, that meant I actually had to learn something about WordPress and all the other supporting technologies, but hey – its still winter, dontcha know ;-).  After investigating (and rejecting) the idea of hosting the site on my home Linux box, I decided to go with GoDaddy’s hosting, as I had purchased my domain name (condorxcsoaring) from them and they had a good package deal.  Then I started educating myself on WordPress via Google and a whole bunch of ‘WordPress for beginners’ tutorials.

I tried a bunch of WordPress templates, but finally wound up with the very simple WordPress ‘TwentyTwelve’ layout – it is very clean and (hopefully) easy to maintain. Now I’m busily trying to set up pages and add content, and this post is the first thing I have added.