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Old Mar 17, 2011, 08:30 PM
Kyle Clayton
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United States, VA, Dinwiddie
Joined Feb 2008
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Flying in "over-developed" conditions

This afternoon looked like a great time to hit the field. It was the first sunny day we've had in 3 days and the temperature hit the 70. I was sure it would be a great day to have off of work and fly, but we all know how that goes Anyhow, I was concerend that by time I did get to fly that the field would be over-developed. I got out there around 5pm and sure enough, my fears were confirmed. The air was clearly shot, with weak, puny thermals that felt squashed and struggling to rise, even though there was plenty of sunshine left in the sky. It mustve been spectacular out there around lunch time. The majority of the air was sinking, my best flying DLG that I can usually make 2-2:30 minute flights without much struggle was fighting hard to crack 1:00, even from the highest I could launch. I had another DLG along with me as well, one with many repairs weighing about 1.5oz more than the other. I decided to toss that one around as well and found that I preferred how it was flying in the bad air compared to my lighter "best" one. It didnt make much sense as to why it seemed to fly better, as it cannot float as well and needs much stronger lift to work well. It got me thinking, in an "over-developed" sky, what is the preferred or best type of sailplane to fly? A more of a floater type so that it can work the weak bubbles that are left over, or one with a higher wing loading that moves faster and penetrates through sink?
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Old Mar 17, 2011, 08:54 PM
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United States, OR, Corvallis
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My 2 Cents.......

Hey, very interesting, here's a recent experience I had.

I have just built a Sig "Flip" all-balsa freeflight handlauch glider(see "freeflight" forum on the "Exotic and Special Interest" section for my build log and modifications). It's only a 14" wingspan and feels heavy-in-the-hand for it's size.

The day that I went out to balance and test-fly it, it was cool, breezy, mid to late afternoon, high humidity, clouds all day, in otherwords, pretty sub-optimal. That dinky thing outflew my expectations by far, in fact, I would say that 2 of the flights probably were of longer duration than some of my early flights of my HOB "2x4" in similar conditions with my first anemic hi-start (20-something feet of weak 1/8" surgical tubing). By the way, the "2x4" has had some alterations and improved a lot, but still, the point being that I was amazed at how a heavy little hand-tossed 14" balsa glider could perform that well.

I do think that my hand launches of the "Flip" were faster compared to the release speed of the "2x4" off the top of that weak early hi-start which may have had something to do with it. Still, it was spooky how well that dinky plane flies in not-good conditions from what I understand.

Just thought I'd toss this in incase that tells you anything -Paul
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Old Mar 17, 2011, 09:16 PM
Kyle Clayton
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United States, VA, Dinwiddie
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On that point, this week has been pretty interesting. I've made it a point to fly every single afternoon this week. I'm trying to set a new personal record of flying for a week straight In the time I've seen just about every condition I could imagine. Monday was cloudy, but lift was readable, light, and really workable. I even made a handful of 3 and even 4 minute flights, often times not getting any higher than I launched. Tuesday was bad, really bad. Cloudy, windy, rain on the way and lift was pretty non-existent. Yesterday was cloudy, then sunny, then cloudy again and the lift was reaaalllyy good for the first 15 minutes, tapering down to really weak rides at the end. Today was the shocker-not-really. You'd expect it to be really good given the visible conditions, but its what you couldnt see that made it super hard air.

If anything, this week has been an excellent and invaluable practice for me. Not that I didnt already know this, but it was definitely hard confirmation that you cant judge the air just by looking out the window.
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Old Mar 18, 2011, 04:51 PM
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I've never heard the term "over-developed" applied to flying conditions, but I would take it to mean everything is the same temperature.

Good flying conditions are the result of light prevailing winds and uneven heating of the earth's surface. Thermals form early in the day over the areas that heat up quicker than the adjacent areas. Too much wind rips them apart before they're able to get going good.

At the end of a sunny day, everything will be nearly the same temperature, so no strong thermals will develop.
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Old Mar 18, 2011, 05:59 PM
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Wave Glider:

I believe the more conditions (and locations) you can fly in, the more you will learn. If you fly contests, you will one day realize (as I did) that contests use the conditions of the day - they aren't scheduled for the good days that are easy to fly.

I used to watch the weather carefully, and go out when the conditions were "good". Not any more. I'll fly any day the winds are showing less than 19 mph, at the airport. And, the opportunities to fly have expanded accordingly. You will never know what lift is REALLY out there, until you go fly in it.

Keep up the good work. I hope we can fly together sometime.

Yours, Greg
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Old Mar 18, 2011, 06:01 PM
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I thought "overdeveloped" meant thunderstorms, maybe it's different up north
Dave
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Old Mar 18, 2011, 06:03 PM
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Ireland, County Kerry, Kerry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Forbes View Post
I thought "overdeveloped" meant thunderstorms, maybe it's different up north
Dave
I though it referred to some of my class mates at school....?
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Old Mar 18, 2011, 06:12 PM
Thermal Naked!
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I KNEW I wanted to go to school in Ireland!!!


By 5pm, even on the best days, thermals are pretty much done. Maybe you'll get lucky, but you won't have a boomer unless it's a small miracle. When it comes to flying in conditions like that, let your nick name be your guide! Some folks call it "slermalling". It's a combo of sloping and thermaling. Use a treeline, small hills, cars, bushes, fat modellers, etc..
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Old Mar 18, 2011, 06:45 PM
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Remembered the term from 1:1 soaring days..

Means that the thermal generating cumulus have over developed in size into enough cloud cover to block the sun, and stop or delay terrain heating.. which would produce thermals.
On a very active vertical convection day, you can cycle through a couple of over-developed conditions.

.. but that was a while ago..
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Old Mar 18, 2011, 07:49 PM
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A+, UpVector!

Well done
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Old Mar 19, 2011, 08:43 AM
Kyle Clayton
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United States, VA, Dinwiddie
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Greg, I do compete quite a bit. This will be my 3rd year of competing. I've been trying to make it a habit to fly in sub-optimal conditions. Easy lift days started getting boring, I wasn't learning as much from my outings as I wanted to, and knew the only way to own my "expert class" registration was to start flying in expert conditions

Also I know lift varies throughout the day, but even by 5pm there is still usually workable air out there. I'm not usually in damage-control, ultimate float mode until about 6:30 (that time changes as day length/time changes) considering its not raining or has been heavy clouds all day

Over-developed is a term two great sailplane gurus, Doug Berry and Ed Arnaudin, told me about when I flew with them last spring. The day would start off great then lift down low would become very soft, mushy, hard to read, and even harder to ride. It would still look great out though, lots of sun, clear skies, the works. I asked, "why is this air so hard to catch? It looks like it should be gimme air?" I was told that it had "over-developed" for the day. In explanation, they told me that the lift higher up, 2000' - 5000' AGL was booming leaving air down below it struggling to rise. I guess meteorologicaly it would be called a capping inversion, conditions above such as drier air or warmer air aloft is keeping the air from really booming down low. Now not taking the time look at a skew-T diagram of the air for the afternoon, I can't confirm if there was an inversion aloft or not. But from my asking, that's what over-developed means to me.
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Old Mar 19, 2011, 09:23 AM
Thermal Naked!
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Quote:
gimme air
I'm gonna use that one. It fits the usual summer time air down here on the Gulf Coast perfectly!


This is a good topic Wave Glider. You made me get my old textbooks out and start re-reading the chapters about weather. Haven't paid much attention to them since I got my IFR rating.
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Old Mar 19, 2011, 09:52 AM
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Interesting view from the sailplane pilots. As a paraglider pilot, I'd use the term to mean the time at which the cloud cover from earlier thermals starts hiding the sun, so the thermals turn themselves off as the heat is taken from the ground triggers.

Neil
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Old Mar 19, 2011, 10:59 AM
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Pauliwog:
If you think the Flip was fun, try building something similar out of 5 lb c-grain. It shouldn't weigh more than 6 or 8 grams at that size, and you can launch it with some rubber to give it a bit more zing. People who really know what they're doing can get a minute in dead air. I've had a number of these fly away myself, though mine are a bit lower performance.

-----------

An alternative, if your air insists on being good but you want to be challenged, is to use a beat up, draggy glider.
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