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I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today.

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Presentation on theme: "I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today."— Presentation transcript:

1 I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today.
My flying background – over 1,000 hours soaring most of it cross country. Few claims to fame – I flew the first OFFICIAL 500 km. triangle in S.W. Ont. I flew this one in an ASW 20 – a wonderful glider with the capability to bite you. Andy Gough flew the second 500 a Mini Nimbus.

2 THERMALLING (and how to avoid landing out)
Other possible titles: “How I landed out over 50 times.” “50 Farming families I’ve met.” “ S.W. Ontario walking tours.” I stopped counting my land outs when the number of off field landings exceed my age. Some where in the 60 to 70 off field landing range. Not going to talk about THERMAL STRUCTURE and HOW TO CENTER thermals. These topics have been covered in various articles and presentations. RATHER – I want to talk to you today about thermalling errors, thermalling tactics and thermal selection while going cross country.

3 Purpose Improve your soaring skills.
By learning from the mistakes of others. Reach the point where you enjoy cross country soaring. Give you some insights into current thinking about cross country. Pass along your new skills and insights to fellow pilots. In recent years, I have come to realize that what I considered to be my greatest strength, in fact hid a serious weakness. How is that you say? I thermal very well and I have flown with pilots with outstanding thermalling skills. How could that be a weakness?? Stay tuned!

4 The Need for Speed All cross country flights are a race against time.
Essential to understand the importance of a superior climb rate as compared to high inter- thermal speed. (Any fool can fly fast!) Thermal activity – weak in morning and late afternoon – requires tactical adjustments. Late in the day – STAY HIGH! Without a sense of urgency you will fail to complete any task. You need to train yourself to adapt to tim epressures and to continue to make good decisions while under stress.

5 First Cross Country The 50 km. task is easy – in a modern glider – assuming decent weather conditions.. 6,000 feet msl. at SOSA – York Soaring is in the bag. The biggest barrier you face is the psychological fear of cutting the apron strings. Remember – the thermals work just the same 10 miles away – just make the move.

6 YOUR OBJECTIVE Badge flying is NOT a competition.
Your purpose is to COMPLETE THE TASK. Who cares if you complete a 300km. flight in 4 hours or 6 hours? You should ! Higher speed requires mental discipline and courage. Yet, enjoy the experience – the journey is just as important as the achievement.

7 The Big One – 300km. Junior glide ratio is 34:1 at fairly high airspeed. Most modern fiberglass gliders are in the 33:1 to 37:1 range. Astir, Libelle, Junior, Std. Cirrus. “Even” a 1-23, 1-34 or a 1-35 are capable of 300 km. + + The key – good thermalling skills and adequate planning. Conclusion – 300 km. flight is possible on many “average” soaring days in S.W. Ont.

8 PLANNING Check lists. Weather forecast? Declaration. Water*, Food.
Pee system. Map preparation – do not rely on GPS. Course line? Key radio frequencies. * Top priority for safety! Know how to operate your instruments – vario, computer, radio etc. Can you reach everything? Weather shaping up per forecast? Take your time – let the day develop. Get input from qualified pilots. Be positive – don’t get psyched out!

9 The Big Day Once airborne, get a feeling for the day.
How do actual conditions compare to the forecast? Thermal strength and ease of connecting. Wind shear – at what height? Operating band*– thermals consistent above 2,500 feet or higher? Resist the pressure to start too early! *Note – operating band will change as the day develops.

10 Thermal Indicators Other gliders – most times.
Birds – hawks and seagulls. Dust “devils” – ploughed fields. Debris – plastic bags, hay, small cars. Slopes, ridges, hills, towns, factories etc. Fires – often quite small but powerful. Remember the rule ……

11 Thermal Indicators WHEN HIGH ….. Use clouds or haze domes. WHEN LOW…..
Use terrain features. On overcast (overdeveloped) days fly to areas of sunshine.

12 Common Thermalling Errors
Look outside – keep your head out of the cockpit! Use the audio function. Use ALL your senses. Speed control – fly attitude – fear of stalling? Angle of bank – fear of stalling? How do I calculate my bank angle?

13 Calculate my bank angle?
Airspeed – you know. # seconds to complete 360° turn – you know. Gives you approximate angle of bank.

14 Circling Time in Thermals
Bank angle 30° 35° 40° 45° 40 knots 45 knots 23 sec. 26 sec. 19 sec. 21 sec. 16 sec. 18 sec. 13 sec. 15 sec. 50 knots 55 knots 29 sec. 31 sec. 24 sec. 20 sec. 22 sec. THIS IS A MOST IMPORTANT CHART> UNDERSTAND THIS AND YOUR SOARING SKILL WILL IMPROVE EXPONENTIALLY!

15 Circling Time in thermals
Better pilots typically fly at 45 to – 23 seconds per turn. If you are wandering around at 20 degree angle of bank – you cannot thermal efficiently. Good training – 42 knots – around 19 to 20 seconds. Caution – remember laminar flow … you can also thermal too slowly.

16 Common Thermalling Errors
Turning too soon when you enter a thermal. Banking at high speed : 60 knots + +. Chasing the vario – remember vario lag. Ignoring the yaw string. Rough control movements once established in the thermal. Entering thermals at high speed. Leaving thermals at high speed. Turning too soon – wait for the thermal to talk to you. Wait for the surge. Be patient. If you can see the controls of another glider moving – highly inefficient. WILLEM L. story – extremely smooth – French National Champion feedback. 1980’s technique.

17 Common Thermalling Errors
Taking every thermal. Thermal “love in” – the last to leave? Follow the mob or lead? Team flying – single file or spread out? On blue days it is essential that all gliders on a task spread out.

18 “Average” thermal strength
Typical flight computer – average thermal strength based on: Start of climb? Last 10 seconds? Last 20 seconds? Last minute? Duration of flight? Computers have given us greater insight into achieved speeds.

19 Average thermal strength
Typically based on the past 20 to 30 seconds. That is why a 4 knot day really turns out to be a 1.7 to 2.0 knot day when you analyze the data. Beware of optimistic radio calls – “5 knots here.”

20 Thermal strength* in knots *(Assuming 4 turns to center)
Height gained 1 knot climb 2 knots 4 knots 6 knots 1,000 ft. 0.7 1.1 1.5 1.8 2,000 ft. 0.9 1.7 2.9 3.8 5,000 ft. 1.0 1.9 3.4 4.8 Be conservative with your estimation of thermal strength!!!

21 Cruising between Thermals
This should be a very busy time for you. How fast to fly? How slow? Go left? Go right? Fly through the blue hole ahead? Avoid the overcast on course line? Catch up with that LS 8 ahead? Reading the sky ahead is a critical part of your flight. AVOID THE FOCUS ON A “TARGET” CLOUD. Think of the sky as a giant chess board – always plan a fall back option.

22 Cruising between thermals
How FAST should I fly? If I fly too fast, what happens? If I fly too slowly, what happens? The good old days of “pure” MacCready ring settings.

23 Impact of Conservative Ring Setting
Thermal Strength 4 knots Achieved! 6 knots 8 knots # 2 setting costs you: 3% 6% 9% # 4 setting costs you: 1% # 6 setting costs you: If you set MacCready for 2 knots on a 4 knot ACHIEVED day it costs you 3%! Remember we are talking about ACHIEVED climb NOT indicated climb!

24 Impact of Conservative Ring settings
If you set the MacCready ring at “0” How much performance/time do you lose? Answer – 20% Leading to a high probability of an out-landing! Why? Reduces your thermal search area. Limited amount of thermal activity during the day – you run out of time.

25 Thermal Probability S.W. Ontario*
1 mile 5 miles 10 miles 1 knot 2 knot 4 knot 6 knot * Standard class glider. IT IS A LOT EASIER TO FIND A 2 KNOT THERMAL in 10 miles as compared to a 6 knot thermal over the same distance.

A “good” pilot will take FOUR turns to core a thermal. That is 120 seconds, 2 minutes – a long, long time, going nowhere! A really superior pilot will center the thermal in two turns. Time saved during a 20 thermal flight? 10 minutes!! An “average” pilot may NEVER center the thermal. This is crucial to your average cross country speed.

27 How to read Clouds Depth of cloud – vertical development.
Shape, Texture, Curl over. Solid, dark base. Firm profile – not fuzzy. Cloud shadow. (Overdevelopment?) Growing clouds, Mature clouds and dissipating clouds. Learn to recognize the differences! Beware of towering Cu.

28 How to Read Clouds Rule of thumb – 1 in 3 clouds working.
Thermal height is proportional to distance between thermals. 8,000’ cloud base – thermals far apart, lots of sink. 3,000’ cloud base – thermals close together, not much sink. Thermal cycles - try to get in phase with growing clouds.

29 While you are thermalling…..
Read the sky ahead. Pick out growing cloud(s) – have more than one option! Avoid blue holes! Select best course line based on cloud layout. If you deviate – try to deviate upwind.

30 Between Thermals Blue holes - course line deviations. How far ? Remember your objective! Upwind or downwind? Cloud shadow. Overdevelopment – how to handle? Cloud streets – visible and not so visible. Sink streets – be decisive – act quickly. Blue days – sunglasses.

31 Between Thermals Lake effect. Turn point in blue air – what to do?
First – decide how far you have to fly in blue air. Second – climb as high as possible. Slow down and be patient. Work weak lift in blue air – particularly after turn point- wind at your back.

32 Course deviations Remember your mission !
A 30° course deviation causes you to fly 15% further. At 80 knots, 3 miles and 30° deviation costs you 20 seconds. If you gain a mere 100 feet, you are better off than the blue hole puncher.

33 Course Deviations (The Tortoise and the Hare)
High personal confidence in my thermalling ability. Shortest distance (best speed) between two points? Straight line ? Flying with others showed that the most effective way to fly between two points is frequently made by deviating under “wimpy” lift.

34 Effective Inter-thermal Flying
Fly with purpose! Don’t let the thermals push you around As I said earlier, you can not wander aimlessly through the sky. It is you who is controlling the glider Q. What happens if we fly into a thermal, but don’t force the wing back down? A. We let the thermals push us around. This results in flying between the thermals in sink

35 Effective Inter-thermal Flying
When you feel lift always slow down and turn into it Anytime you can climb while flying straight on course is advantageous So by reacting to the thermal trying to push us out, we can spend more time flyin in lift. There is no need to stop and circle in every thermal when we turn into the thermal and it is not stong enough to merit stopping, or if we are already at a good altitude, with respect to our working band, then we just make small deviations into the lift and then continue on course with out circling. Besides pulling up and turning into thermals, how else can we climb while moving straight ahead Cloud streets - at what altitude should we fly under them? It is more efficient to stay feet below cloud base Otherwise if we are at cloud base, we will have to speed up in the lift to stay out of the cloud!!

36 Turn point Tactics Take upwind turn point……….. LOW.*
Take downwind turn point…… HIGH. *( Within reason, of course!) Bartell – “ a 2 knot thermal going downwind is as good as an 8 knot thermal going upwind.”

37 Key Points Read clouds carefully. Enter and leave thermals correctly.
Turn tightly. Be selective with thermals you take. Use conservative MacCready settings. Speed up by slowing down between thermals. Be flexible!

38 Thermalling Rules First glider in thermal establishes direction of turn. When joining a thermal do NOT interfere with other gliders. Keep yourself visible to other pilots in the thermal. If you are climbing faster than other gliders – you must not impede other pilots Maintain a good lookout at all times.

39 Psychological Factors
The importance of flexibility - learn to adjust your pace. At 7,000 feet ignore weak lift. At 2,000 feet take anything! High = Fast Low = Slow Be patient – a 1.5 knot thermal at 1,200 feet may be a 4 knot thermal at 3,000 feet

40 Psychological Factors
Develop stamina – both physical and mental. Fight the urge to “do something”. Be patient! Avoid follow the leader – fly your own flight. Fight the urge to “catch up” – the need for companionship. Remember your objective – finish the task safely.

41 Psychological Factors
The need for companionship – follow the leader often puts your brain in neutral. Think for yourself – avoid the herd mentality. The other guy is just a dumb as you are. (Most of the time, anyway!)

42 Psychological Factors
Don’t get sucked in by higher performance gliders. Be realistic about your gliders performance: Astir versus Ventus Hornet versus LS 6 LS 6 versus Nimbus 3 McMaster strategy – optimize your gliders performance envelope.

43 Airport Hopping (Airport hoping?)
Seductive for the low time pilot. Pros and cons. Silver distance – o.k. Dangerous for longer flights? Your energy and concentration is on the next airport and NOT on weather reading. Actually slows your speed dramatically. Many airstrips are very narrow! Target fixation – final glides…. The mind stops working!

44 PRACTICAL STEPS The importance of weak days.
Use 1 knot thermals around the field. Work on low saves around your Club. (Just brief the Duty Instructor!) Work on stamina. Release early. The Tow pilot creed – “if he fails to release in lift, he must want sink”.

45 Summary Develop thermalling skills – particularly on weak days.
Constant angle of bank, constant airspeed. Tight turns ! CONSERVATIVE ring setting. Make haste slowly and steadily. Read the sky ahead. Avoid blue holes. Work on long inter thermal glides – 15 to 20km. Lead – don’t follow. Have fun!

46 Recommended reading list
Soaring Cross Country Reichmann New Soaring Pilot Welch & Irving Winning Moffat The Platypus Papers Bird Meteorology for glider pilots Wallington Transition to gliders Knauff

47 Recommended Reading List
A comprehensive reading list will be ed along with a copy of this presentation. address:

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