A tracklog analysis – Giant mountains

My last XC trip was amazing. Flied above highest mountain in my country, above my childhood town, above my grandfather’s house and above town I spent teenage studies. Beautiful weather, cloudbase unusually high and lift often strong, but still challenging conditions in some areas and many better pilots landed prematuraly. Let’s look to tracklog.

Discussed tracklog is here: http://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:petr.kozisek/19.8.2016/10:33

We started later than planned because of an accident. Few have balls to try it first (Standa Mayer), most pilots waited to see him climbing. He catched thermal far in front of the hill, and it was good strategy to go away from ridge as soon as possible. Gaining 1000 m in 10 minutes is not a bad start.

If other glider is thermaling away from the ridge, there is no point not to follow.

Big mountains can be tricky. Wind direction and strenght can surprise even experienced pilot. This is caused (in my inexperienced opinion) by replacing air sucked by strong thermals combined with general wind direction. After we crossed Spindleruv Mlyn I noticed faster movement, and weaker, very drifted thermals. Checking the clouds and terrain I decided to go to Snezka and search for strong thermal there, despite poor landing options. It took few minutes but I was rewarded by 4 ms thermal to 2700 m.

Check blue arrows and changing wind direction. Wind strength also increased.

On picture above you see the turnpoint. I returned the same way, but some other pilots decided not to cross Spindleruv Mlyn against the wind and drifted to cloudbase followed by south movement. It was good decision I think. I spent 20 minutes searching for stronger, not too back-drifted lift, and got only short one. As I saw new clouds on other side and was almost sure I will make it to east side, therefore I risked a transition. As expected, there was a nice thermal on other side of valley. This was the most difficult part of trip.

I continued to take off, thinking about next plans. A lot of options were there. FAI triangle means I need to go to blue hole (visible in one photo). So I decided to continue the trip of my youth, which was a planned alternative.

On picture bellow you see blue line, which is obvious and 90% realiable skyway. Sunny part of a ridge. Dashed line is an alternate route I thought about but decided to fly above my child town. Blue circles are obvious spots where thermals will be probably met. As you see they worked well but often I hit thermal along the way or slightly went off the track to a newborn clouds. There is also a visible change in wind direction above Desna and Rokytnice, caused probably by a valley wind.


As altitude was not an issue all the time, flying the clouds were the strategy but still you can see the planned route is quite close.

It was a great trip and thank to all co-pilots showing me thermals.

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