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Old Oct 08, 2012, 08:46 PM
lincoln is offline
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United States, MA, Waltham
Joined Dec 2001
7,229 Posts
Well, you'd learn a lot at a dlg contest also.

Seems to me that dlg provides more feedback, so you may learn a lot by just flying a lot. You might try putting up a few poles with very light streamers on them, and correlating that with what the dlg does. The streamers will usually point toward lift and away from sink.

When you're flying low like that, you can get clues from bugs. If you see them high up, it probably means they're in rising air. Ditto if you see bug eating birds like purple martins circling around at, say, 20 or more feet of altitude. I once won an event at a free flight contest by noticing what I think may have been spider silk getting pulled into the air. Sometimes trees will release fluffy stuff that can get pulled up also. If everything gets warm and still, it's likely the lift is slightly upwind of you.

It's not always easy to tell which way trees, bushes, and grass are being blown, but if they're all pointing at one spot, it's likely you'll find lift there. The prevailing wind may bias this. If that happens, the lift will be a bit upwind of where everything is pointing.

Thornburg's book and his buzzard essays from Model Builder describe this better than I can.
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