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Old Aug 14, 2011, 12:07 PM
Registered User
United States, FL, Tampa
Joined Feb 2011
73 Posts
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Holy Cow !!

Hi all ! Went to my usual flying site yesterday and much to my disappointment , due to the heavy rains there was no where to land without drenching my plane . This place used to be a lake ,but it has dried up in recent years . Unfortunately when the rains come it becomes very muddy and wet . So , I went driving around and found a closed down industrial center . Parked the car and launched my Radian Pro (my "beater plane" ). Decided to go over the top of the Pods building and "boom" left wing jerked straight up , plane flipped upside down and the plane went straight up for about 15 seconds . Looking behind the Pods building I see three large cooling tower stacks that I thought had been put out of use . Well , I guess they are still in use cause the lift from the dang things was so strong I thought my wings were gonna get ripped off . Anyway , I have never experianced lift that strong that would cause the plane to be out of control . Anyone in the Springhill / Tampa area want to have some fun , PM me .I will be going back real soon . brad
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Old Aug 14, 2011, 07:22 PM
Registered User
United States, MA, Waltham
Joined Dec 2001
6,888 Posts
Thats handy to have around. Even a furnace from a house generates usable lift. I have seen natural thermals pick up a ff model wing off ground and flip staked down shade canopy. But they wouldn,t stay put like yours.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 11:15 AM
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United States, FL, Tampa
Joined Feb 2011
73 Posts
Hi all ! Well I did a little research and those were not cooling towers . They are GE 7FA gas turbines generating electricity . Some general specs .....leaving temperature 1000 to 1200 degrees F , velocity leaving the 18 foot round stacks = 9000 feet per minute . Very glad I was 300 - 400 feet up and probably 1000 -1500 feet down wind from them . Would be a bummer to have the plane melt or catch fire ! Lift city !
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 12:54 PM
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Pittsburgh, PA
Joined May 2008
1,022 Posts
Well you shouldn't have a "light lift day" with those handy Heck with that kind of man made lift you should be able to go soaring with a P-51
Nice find, wish I had something like that nearby.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 08:00 PM
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United States, MA, Waltham
Joined Dec 2001
6,888 Posts
Kind of sad they don't use some kind of bottoming cycle to recover some of that energy. I'm sure thrre would be plenty left for you.
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Old Aug 18, 2011, 08:20 AM
Registered User
United States, FL, Tampa
Joined Feb 2011
73 Posts
Hi all ! It was a very good find . Just hoping nobody says anything or the sheriff stops by and asks me to leave . I guess if I am in a parking lot of a building that is empty and for sale I am still trespassing .
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Old Aug 18, 2011, 11:26 AM
Ochroma Lagopus Tekton
Fly Wheel's Avatar
Blackstock, South Carolina
Joined Sep 2007
1,827 Posts
Yes, you are, actually. until it's sold the original owner (or the bank if it's been repo'd) still owns it. After it's been sold the new owner owns it, obviously.

You could always ask (no crime in that), trespassing is only such if no permission has been given.
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Old Aug 18, 2011, 11:29 AM
Pompano Hill Flyers
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Coral Springs FL
Joined May 2002
680 Posts
BradLuke,

I've flown a handlaunch into the plumes of "cooling towers"

I can tell you NOT GOOD!!! The lift is SO strong the plane immediately points its nose down and charges straight down towards them.

When the "lift" is SO strong... It becomes the prevailing airflow. Therefore the plane wants to fly directly into it. Thus it noses over into a dive...

Think of it this way. It is no longer lift but vertical wind! WAY to strong.

You can however fly around them The rapid uprising air pulls the surrounding air up too. So wide circles around the towers will act like "lift"
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 10:40 AM
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United States, FL, Tampa
Joined Feb 2011
73 Posts
Hi all ! Yes , when I get in that lift too far it is not good . The lift is so violent I thought it was going to rip the wings off . The birds are a lot smarter than me and fly way on the outside , making big circles . Still a lot of fun to play around in though . Thanks again for all the great comments....brad
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