Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Condor soaring simulator

As an early solo pilot with out any cross country training as of yet, I am working towards my bronze, I have been looking at ways to practice soaring and cross country flying and so far I have identified three ways.

1) Local soaring - if you can time it so that you have one of the club machines during a part of the day when its soarable, not such an issue in the summer but spring and autum it can be difficult as the window is small, you can practice in the 5nm radius of the airfield.

2) Grab a ride - if you are lucky you can hitch a lift in a two seater with someone who is off on a cross country. You are generally limited to the hieght of the season and spare seats are few and far between.

3) Condor - is a simulator designed to closely mimic real soaring and cross country conditions and is accurate to such a degree that the BGA use it in their simulator and I have found vast communities of real life pilots around the world that use condor to train and keep in practice when they are not soaring for real. The best thing I have seen by far is condor boot camps, clubs set up a server to host LAN connections, you get a bunch of condor pilots together in the same room and go racing. The sessions are usually run by experienced cross country pilots and all that is required is a half desent laptop, condor and a joystick. from what I have seen and read its a great way to keep sharp or get some wisdom off old hands from the comfort of a training room and with minimal expense.

I guess where I am going with this is I would like to find out if there is a reasonably sized condor user base locally, even within the club, and if there is enough interest starting up maybe a boot camp or Monday night league style events, As well as LAN the server can host across the internet so people could also join remotely. these events have been a huge success in other parts of the world and especially in the states at improving cross country pilots skills and preventing rustyness in the off season.

Please check out to see more on Condor style events and also to see a video of Condor multiplayer in action.

please leave a comment if you are a condor user and/or just interested in running one of these cool events. or drop me a mail at lhitchins@aiscorp,com


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

UPDATED 20th Mid week forecast for weekend 19th - 20th March

UPDATED - Forecast held for the weekend with Saturday being beautiful with plenty of soaring flights of over an hour. Sunday Started out with a high overcast as predicted which broke up towards the end of the day.

Saturday - Pressure - 1033 MSLP
Winds - South west 3-7kts
Temps - sfc temp 13:00 - 10dc dew point -2dc
Clouds - expect a blue day
Sun - Clear day cloud wise some haze expected below the inversion.
Rain - less than 10% chance
Soaring - Possible to ~2500ft amsl blue conditions will make it more difficult RASP
shows 3.5kt climbs

Sunday - Pressure - 1032
Winds - South easterly 5 - 10kts
Temps - sfc temp 13:00 - 10dc dew point -0.5dc
Clouds - Divergence of models indicates large dew point depression lower boundry level but high level cloud cover possible which could kill off thermal activity
Sun - Again clear skies with haze below the inversion at 3000ft amsl high level cloud possible at 10000ft amsl
Rain - less than 10% chance
Soaring - Possible to ~27ooft amsl RASP shows 3.5kt climbs

Monday, 14 March 2011

Weekend of the 12th and 13th

Unfortunately I had to watch a lovely day go by on Saturday from the streets of Oxford, there was plenty of flying done with some good soaring flights. The glass ships are all starting to be extracted from they're trailers and have they're legs stretched ready for the soaring season.
Sunday started out really grey and without checking the forecast one would of assumed it would remain that way for the rest of the day, The forecast however showed the cloud base breaking up into scattered Cu's, lifting and eventually bluing up. The airfield was reasonably quiet due to the early weather, come the afternoon glass ships were being unpacked again and our CFI had is ship out as well. I managed to grab a hand full of flights in the little K8 but my soaring skills let me down and I only managed to stay up for 18 minutes with a net gain of 600ft, still the weather is definitely on the change and it wont be long until we are well into the soaring season.

We also have a new ab-initio Katie Harris, Katie moved down to bicester to teach rug rats and being a bit of the adventurous type wanted to see what windrushers was about. She came, had a flight and now I am pleased to say is hooked, she has even taken a trip to Welshpool this weekend with some other club members in the robin. Andrew Preece did some check flights on Sunday and then continued with his early solo flying, nice work Andrew and keep it up.


Friday, 11 March 2011

weekend forecast 12th - 13th

Unfortunately I have been jetting around Europe this week so the forecasting has gone a little out the window.

Saturday looks flyable with some overcast and light to moderate wind conditions, clearing as the day goes on before rain moves in overnight.

Sunday looks as though it will be much the same but with an increased chance of rain in the morning brightening up after lunch.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Passenger to pilot windrushers style - March/April 2011

Hi All, Pretty short pluck for March and April, I have been traveling round with work for the majority of the time so I have been limited with my flying and blogging. March was rather quiet, two attempts at my half hour early in the month failed with one only 7mins short, I did manage to eek out 35mins though right at the end of the month after finding some time one Friday afternoon which gave me my second leg. I took the week of April the 4th off between work commitments to concentrate of getting some of my bronze work done. Luckily for me a guy dropped out of the going for solo course that week allowing more time for me to fly, I managed to get the rest of my bronze done, about 7 winch launches and 1 areotow for GFT's with 2 trips in the motor glider for my field landings, one of which was interesting after developing an oil leak on the return trip. I completed the week by doing the oral test, getting the CFI's endorsement and then converting to the twin acro and getting my solo aerotow done at the same time. Job done. Next up will be the cross country endorsement, however I am going to try and get a few genuine cross country trips in with an experienced cross country pilot before doing the tests. My Goal now is to be as close to silver C as possible by the end of the soaring season.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Weekend forecast for 5th and 6th March 2011

Forecast has stayed reasonably steady through the week with the only uncertainty being the amount of cloud during a given period. In a nutshell it looks as though Sunday will be the best day buy flyable throughout the weekend.

Saturday - Pressure - 1031
Winds - North eastly 8kts Gusting to 14kts
Temps - sfc temp 13:00 - 7dc dew point 3dc
Clouds - cloud base around 2000ft amsl extending up to the inversion at 2300ft amsl
Sun - Generally clear start with increading cloud from lunch time onwards.
Rain - less than 10% chance
Soaring - limited due to low inversion, limited visability and increasing overcast.

Sunday - Pressure - 1034
Winds - North eastly moving more eastly during the day 8kts Gusting to 15kts
Temps - sfc temp 13:00 - 6dc dew point 0.5dc
Clouds - cloud base around 2300t amsl extending up to the inversion at 2700ft amsl
Sun - 1/8 to 2/8 scattered cu all day Possible fog first thing
Rain - less than 5% chance
Soaring - possible 2kt climbs to 1800ft where rate drops below 200fpm before dropping below 150fpm at 2100ft.

The weekend played out pretty much as forecast, plenty of flying done and Sunday produced at least one hour long flight, well done Jon Verrill in the little K8, and plenty of 20 - 40 min flights. The Discus (T19) was rolled out with Pete Garrett and philippa Roberts stretching her legs.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Mid week weather forecast for the 5th - 6th March

Spring is here, but what does this mean for us weatherwise as we head into march?

Well it looks as though it is going to be a really pleasant weekend, a little chilly but with plenty of sunshine. I will update on Friday.

Saturday - Pressure - 1031 inc to 1036
Winds - North eastly 10kts Gusting to 15kts
Temps - sfc temp 13:00 - 10dc dew point 5dc
Clouds - cloud base around 2200ft amsl extending up to the inversion at 2500ft amsl
Sun - fog clearing to 1/8 clould cover early am increasing gradually throughout the day to 6/8
Rain - less than 15% chance
Soaring - limited due to low inversion, limited visability and increasing overcast.

Sunday - Pressure - 1037
Winds - North eastly 7kts Gusting to 10kts
Temps - sfc temp 13:00 - 6dc dew point -2dc
Clouds - cloud base around 3500t amsl extending up to the inversion at 3700ft amsl
Sun - 1/8 to 2/8 scattered cu all day
Rain - less than 5% chance
Soaring - possible 3kt climbs to 2300ft where rate drops below 200fpm before dropping below 150fpm at 2800ft.