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Old Nov 28, 2012, 11:33 PM
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ozmo01's Avatar
USA, MO, Ozark
Joined Nov 2006
1,435 Posts
Sink will occur at the top area of a thermal as it pushes through the cooler surounding air.
Maybe not so pronounced along the shaft of a tall column. Lots of variablity.
Most recently I was able to enter a thermal while a hawk was circling in it. It was above me by twice my altitude. As he meandered quite abit, I stayed under him as best I could, this indicated to me the wandering nature of thermals that day. Several other planes joined in the fun but my efforts to follow the thermal by following the hawk got me far above all the others.
The only way I know of to do this without the benifit of a hawk or vulture is to watch for the higher quarter of your circle and drift that way. A skill I am still working on.
Although I live in the midwest we do have seagulls from time to time. During a precontest practice session with the guys I launched at the time a flock was passing by. I told one ot the guys I was gonna join 'em in their thermal. He said, "Gulls aren't soaring birds". I ignored him and got a great flight. I didn't say much to him but the gulls were not flapping their wings SOOOO :-)
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 06:11 AM
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Windsor, Canada, near Detroit
Joined Jul 2007
4,365 Posts
gulls and thermals

right.
here in windsor (near detroit, great lakes), gulls thermal all the time. great thermal travelers. from ground, to high altitude, you watch them going up and up in large flocks and disappear up there. and this is all over the region.
so, gulls do fly in thermals, and are great into that. in case any1 has a doubt, come around and see. and it's a joy to watch them-any bird-doing it. they seem to be having a great time.
by the way, some turn left, others right. and i don't see them going faster 1 way or the other.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 06:39 AM
ein flugel schplinterizer
seanpcola's Avatar
USA, FL, Pensacola
Joined Sep 2004
4,912 Posts
Absolutely Gulls are soaring birds. The airport I manage is about 5 miles south of the county landfill and 8 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. You can set your watch by their daily commute between "work" and "home". They move en mass to the LF every morning and back to the beach late in the evening. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see them thermalling.

Talk about a great place to watch thermals form and observe various types of birds working lift! The landfill is a huge generator. If you can stand the smell that is.

Our FS soaring club regularly tows to and releases over that dump. The standing joke around here is "release towards the dump and scan for any Walmart bags you see above 3000 AGL.". Seriously. More than a few times I've seen one of the sailplanes come back with a blue WM bag impaled on the TEP or pitot.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:42 PM
They call me Maj. Sink!
stoked6.0's Avatar
Paso Robles, Ca
Joined Nov 2008
743 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whitney View Post
From many years of flying I have learned the following thermal facts:

The best lift is always directly in the sun where you can't see the model.

The best thermal of the day happens shortly after you put your glider in the car.

Birds always show the location of a thermal when you are too low to get there.

The winch always breaks down when its your turn to launch into the "hat sucker" everyone is flying away in.

And..... when you finally catch the ultimate monster thermal, your transmitter will be running low on batteries and you will have to pull out and land.

I do know this: thermals are invisible, they move, and they usually evade us. But it takes only one good thermal to hook you for life.
Found this out on my maiden sailplane flight with my Radian a few years ago! Had read and read on here about thermalling and finally set out to try it for myself. First time out and I flew for damn near 45 mins. Came home with a s$*t eattin grin on my face and told the wife I was hooked. Little did she know I was serious and it has become a passion! Hooked for life...
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 10:07 AM
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Hinckley, Ohio
Joined Nov 2008
2,276 Posts
Need to see this...

http://www.snotr.com/video/8956/Frig...h_of_a_tornado
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Old Dec 06, 2012, 02:08 PM
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United Kingdom, England, Windermere
Joined Oct 2010
198 Posts
that was scary...
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Old Dec 08, 2012, 04:55 AM
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Windsor, Canada, near Detroit
Joined Jul 2007
4,365 Posts
another view of thermals

i have to bring this that was in another thread but feels pertinent:
http://www.soartech-aero.com/Thermals.htm
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 01:09 PM
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RWCLOUD's Avatar
Fresno CA
Joined Jul 2006
1,738 Posts
Thermals in fog?

It's our foggy season here in central California. When I got to our field last Saturday it was foggy. About 1/2 mile visibility, ceiling about 150 feet.

One of the guys already there said he was practicing landings ( Radian ) and another said he tried to work some weak lift but it was hard ( Stretched AVA)

We stood around and talked awhile , then noticed a Red Tailed Hawk circling and going up! He was soon joined by his mate and shortly they both disappeared in the fog!

A few minutes later a flock of Turkey Buzzards came floating down out of the fog. Clearly they used a thermal to get there.

A couple of hours later when the fog started burning off , I launched my radian, modified with flaps and full flying stab into some weak lift. Despite drooping the flaps down a little all I could do is maintain altitude in a small circle. Then I fell out of the thermal and my poor flying skills would not allow me to find the lift again.

So has anyone else experienced lift in fog or watched birds circling in fog?

Blue Skies........................Tim
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