Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Heavy Leeside Today

The wind is from the left (north) in this Google Earth view of today's track.

Flying at Kuratake today was like drafting a motorbike behind a transport truck on the highway.  The north wind was stronger than predicted, making for only scant, rough thermals on the leeside.  The couple of times I topped out, I went to search for lift on the windward side, only to find none.  I kept it up for an hour before finally getting flushed down toward one last weak thermal over the village.

I don't seem to get tired of sketchy leeside flying, because it's such good practice for real XC conditions.  It's never the same.  Today, periods of relative calm alternated with powerful flushes coming from the north, so that merely going back to where I found lift before wouldn't work.  I had to guess, visualize, and anticipate what was going to happen next.  An imperfect science at best.  But unlike in some unknown place in the high mountains, here at my home area I can read the conditions well and know more or less what to expect even before I leave the ground.  If it proves too rough in the air, which actually isn't that often, there are also plenty of places to land safely.  There is simply no excuse not to practice flying leeside here anytime there is a chance to do so.

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