19 April 2012

Decision Making in XC Flight

What would you do next?

a) Head for the sunshine?
b) Continue to follow the line of cloud?
c) Something else?

The added consideration, not obvious from the photo is that 20km downwind from this position over Sheffield, is some pretty major airspace. This cloud line, plus the wind are leading right to the centre of it! Planning ahead for obstacles such as this can make a big difference. On this day (16.4.12) some pilots chose to cross wind before this point, whilst still in the Peak District. Others (me included) tried to take advantage of the 6000' altitude at this point to make a crosswind  move. The final option was to carry on and make the crosswind move later in the flat lands and it was this option which yielded the best distances on the day. In fact no one actually was able to continue after the airspace probably not helped by poorer thermal conditions to the east. If this proves anything, it is that XC flying is not an exact science!

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