24 May 2013

What does an XC sky really look like?

Thursday dawned cold, cloudy and windy. It would have been easy to write the day off but despite a lot of "weather" in the area, there was sufficient instability to have a nice task 2 at the Gin Wide Open.
An unpromising sky, but still we had nice thermal XC flying

Top left of the photo you can see a cumulus forming: there were certainly thermals forming despite the extensive top cover. Shortly after this the sun appeared as well. As you might guess, the conditions were not 100% reliable, but many pilots sensed the fluctuations and took time to gain height in weak climbs or to wait before tackling difficult sections. A few certainly pushed too hard and a few were just plane unlucky. I was well placed for much of the race although I got stuck for a few minutes at one point. Paradoxically that may have helped because it made me approach the last section with caution. A new mass of dead looking cloud was encroaching on the course so I decided to take time to try to get enough height to do the last 2 turn points and goal in one glide. I hadn't anticipated the buoyant glide and regular thermals on route so despite requiring a bit under 8:1 to make goal I arrived almost in orbit.Its a funny game!
We were treated to a great talk by one the new Gin development pilots Torsten Siegel, more of which in a day or so.

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