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Weather to Fly (local) - Pre-Frontal by Brad
Sat, 21 Sep 2002 06:34:48

Lately there have been several folks (some of them new to the area) asking about the local weather patterns, predictions, etc.  I think that we too often take for granted that this stuff is well known, when in fact some of the newer pilots are pulling their hair out over when to fly and when to work or please their spouse.  The purpose of this email is to help those pilots with some "Rules-of-Thumb" to help them decide.  Perhaps some some of the more experienced pilots could add their input here.  Mike, Eddie, Vince, etc. can you help 'em?

Cloudy = Less Solar Energy = Less Thermal Strength = Mellow Conditions

Moist = Less Density = Less Thermal Strength = Mellow Conditions

Pre-Frontal = Cloudy & Moist (see above) with general Southerly Flow Strong* South Winds = Good Ridge Soaring even when overcast Moderate South Winds = Good Ridge Soaring and/or some Thermalling Light South Winds = Fair Ridge Soaring, Good Thermals if some sun CAUTION: Midday at Moore Mtn LZ is Turbulent, especially if westerly *don't fly in strong winds unless you are checked off for it

Pre-Frontal (south) days are usually good for ridge soaring at Moore Mountain or taking a relaxing (slow) trip from the Flight Park to Moore Mountain or other spots along the Brushy Mtn. Range.  If the skys are bright (less clouds) you are going to be able to thermal better, but if it is overcast you may be limited to ridge soaring.  If the winds are strong you will need more sun for thermaling, but the ridge will be working well even if it is too cloudy to thermal.

For those pilots still needing to accumulate mega air time, don't forget about the ridge soaring options at our nearby mountain sites.  Make sure you are a paid member in good standing with the land owner/controller (Ty and Shirley Lowe, The Buzzard Club, SMHGC, etc.) and make sure you are cleared to fly that mountain (in those conditions) by your instructor.  This is a great way to rack up time 'till you get "bored on the ridge" and find yourself sleeping on the base bar.

-Brad

P.S. - I remember when we used to fly all day at Moore Mountain, just before the rain would push in.  You could always rest up the next day and listen to the rain hitting the roof as you slept in.  Those were the days - when we thought we needed a mountain to fly.