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Teaching Soaring Weather. Soaring Safety Foundation FIRC Rich Carlson. Basic Principles. Obtain the basic weather data Know how the atmosphere works Use some simple calculations to see if soaring is possible Graphs and pictures improve student understanding

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teaching soaring weather

Teaching Soaring Weather

Soaring Safety Foundation

FIRC

Rich Carlson

basic principles
Basic Principles
  • Obtain the basic weather data
  • Know how the atmosphere works
  • Use some simple calculations to see if soaring is possible
  • Graphs and pictures improve student understanding
  • Weather analysis continues throughout the flight
obtaining weather data
Obtaining Weather Data
  • Look Outside
  • Local sounding
  • Flight Service Station (1-800-WXBrief)
  • National Weather Service
  • Duat
  • 3rd party service provider
  • Internet (email and Web)
atmospheric assumptions
Atmospheric Assumptions
  • Pressure lapse rate 1” hg/1000 ft
  • Dry adiabatic lapse rate 5.4o (3c)/1000 ft
  • Wet adiabatic lapse rate less than dry
  • Dew point decreases 1o / 1000 ft
soaring calculations
Soaring Calculations
  • Thermal Index (TI)
    • measured - adiabatic (minus is better)
  • Cloud base
    • (max surface - dewpoint)/4 (in 1000’s of ft)
obtaining a weather briefing
Obtaining a Weather Briefing
  • FSS call 1-800-992-7433 (WXBrief)
    • Identify yourself as a glider pilot
    • Give Aircraft ‘N’ number
    • Say type of flight and location
    • Ask for standard briefing
    • Ask for surface reports
    • Ask for winds aloft forecast
    • Ask for Soaring forecast
    • Ask for other pertinent data (Notams, TFR’s)
pseudo adiabatic plot
Pseudo-Adiabatic plot

Src: Soaring Flight Manual

typical fss soaring forecast
Typical FSS Soaring Forecast
  • T.I. at 5000 ft -5
  • T.I. at 10,000 ft +2
  • Height of -3 7200
  • Top of Lift 8500
  • Max Expected Temp 89
  • Morning Low* 50
internet sources
Internet Sources
  • Kevin Ford - http://www.soarforecast.com
  • NOAA-FSL, Forecast Systems Laboratory - http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/mab/soundings/java/
  • Aviation Digital Data Service - http://adds.aviationweather.noaa.gov
  • Dr Jack BLIPMAP - http://www.drjack.info/BLIP/index.html
kevin ford plots
Kevin Ford Plots
  • === Interpolations (temps in deg. F, altitudes in feet MSL) ===
  • MSL *TI* Wdir@kts trig VirT 1.2 degrees/division ("`": Dry Adiabatic)
  • ----- ---- -------- ---- . ---- -----------------------------------------
  • 10000 12.4 40 | -9.8 ` :
  • 9500 11.6 39 | -8.6 ` :
  • 9000 10.7 280 27 37 | -7.5 ` :
  • 8500 9.8 35 | -6.5 ` :
  • 8000 8.8 290 25 34 | -5.5 ` :
  • 7500 7.9 32 | -4.5 ` :
  • 7000 6.9 295 24 30 | -3.5 ` :
  • 6500 6.0 29 | -2.6 ` :
  • 6000 3.7 300 27 25 | -4.0 ` :
  • 5500 3.6 24 | -1.5 ` :
  • 5000 3.5 24 | 0.9 ` :
  • 4500 3.3 24 | 3.3 ` :
  • 4000 2.1 22 | 3.7 ` :
  • 3500 0.8 19 | 4.1 `:
  • 3000 -0.5 18 | 4.4 :`
  • 2500 -1.8 16 | 4.8 : `
  • 2000 -2.1 15 | 7.0 : `
  • 1500 -2.1 15 | 9.7 : `
  • 1000 -2.1 15 | 12.3 : `
local factors
Local factors
  • Terrain features
    • Ridges
    • Mountains
    • Rivers
    • Lakes
    • Towns
local factors18
Local factors
  • Ridge conditions
    • Calculations
    • Predictions
      • 90O +/- 30O to ridge line
      • 10 - 15 kts
    • Ridges
      • Lift extends 2 – 3 times the ridge height
      • Ridge length should be several miles
local factors20
Local factors
  • Wave conditions
    • Calculations
    • Predictions
      • Wind at peak
        • 15 – 20 kts
      • Wind 2000 m above peak
        • Same direction
        • 20 – 25 kts higher
thermal predictors indicators
Thermal Predictors/Indicators
  • Negative Thermal Index values at alt.
  • Forecast plots
  • Clouds
  • Birds/Gliders circling
  • Dirt, crops, houses, animals rising before your eyes
go no go decision making
Go/No-Go Decision Making
  • Use realistic scenarios
    • Storms forecast for later in the day/evening
    • Effect of strong x-wind
    • Local vs X-C flight
    • Pilot experience level
continuing weather analysis
Continuing Weather Analysis
  • Obtaining enroute weather data
    • Flight Watch (122.0 Mhz)
    • Airport automated weather services
  • Obtaining end-of-flight weather data
    • Wind direction for landing
    • Current Altimeter setting
en route flight advisory service flight watch
En Route Flight Advisory Service (Flight Watch)
  • AIM section 7-1-5
  • Real-time weather advisories
  • National coverage above 5000 ft on 122.0
  • Available 6:00 am to 10:00 pm
  • State ARTCC facility, N number, & nearest VOR name
types of fronts
Types of Fronts
  • Cold
    • Good soaring conditions
    • squall lines 50 - 300 miles ahead
  • Warm
    • temperature inversion
    • broad cloud system precedes front
  • Occluded
    • both warm & cold cloud patterns
cold front
Cold Front

Src: Aviation Weather AC 00-6A

warm front
Warm Front

Src: Aviation Weather AC 00-6A

cold occlusion front
Cold-Occlusion Front

Src: Aviation Weather AC 00-6A

warm occlusion front
Warm-Occlusion Front

Src: Aviation Weather AC 00-6A

seasonal weather operations
Seasonal Weather Operations
  • Density Altitude
  • Thunderstorms
  • Frost, Snow Ice
  • Temperature extremes
  • Wind shear
  • Microbursts
determining when to land
Determining When to Land
  • What effect does the wind have on landing?
effect of 20 kt wind

27

9

Effect of 20 Kt wind

Time on Downwind: More, Less, no Change?

Altitude loss: More, Less, no Change?

20 Kts

effect of 20 kt wind41

27

9

Effect of 20 Kt wind

Time on base: More, Less, no Change?

Altitude loss: More, Less, no Change?

20 Kts

effect of 20 kt wind42

27

9

Effect of 20 Kt wind

Time on Final: More, Less, no Change?

Altitude loss: More, Less, no Change?

20 Kts

effect of 20 kt wind43

27

9

Effect of 20 Kt wind

Which path is your student likely to fly?

Which path do you want them to fly?

4

20 Kts

3

1

2

final approach no wind
Final Approach(No wind)

60 kts @ 500 ft/m decent rate

12:1 glide slope

24 seconds

200

2400

final approach 20 kt head wind
Final Approach(20 Kt Head Wind)

60 kts @ 500 ft/m decent rate

8:1 glide slope

24 seconds

200

2400

1600

final approach 20 kt wind shear
Final Approach(20 kt wind shear)

60 kts @ 500 ft/m decent rate

Maintain constant speed during approach

How much time remains?

200

20 kts

0 kts

X

Y

2400

1600

decision time
Decision Time
  • With a 20 kt shear, are you likely to
    • overshoot (into area Y)
    • undershoot (into area X)
  • Said another way, what actions do you need to take to reach your intended touchdown point
    • close the spoilers to extend (undershooting)
    • open the spoilers to sink faster (overshooting)
  • Another variation, what will the aim spot do?
    • move up on the canopy (undershooting)
    • move down on the canopy (overshooting)
final approach 20 kt wind shear52
Final Approach(20 Kt Wind Shear)

2 seconds for the glider to stabilize at the new sink rate

AOA increases from 0.5o to 5.0o

200

20 kts

0 kts

2400

1600

934

final approach 20 kt wind shear55
Final Approach(20 Kt Wind Shear)

3 seconds to accelerate back to 60 Kts

Glider nose is 20o below the horizon

200

20 kts

0 kts

1230

2400

1600

final approach likely outcome in 3 cases
Final Approach(Likely outcome in 3 cases?)

No Wind

Constant headwind

20 Kt Wind Shear

200

2400

1230

1600

shear encounters
Shear Encounters
  • When can this happen?
    • Landing in gusty conditions
    • Landing area shielded by obstructions
    • During good thermal conditions
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Plan for this loss of energy
    • Pick an approach speed that will allow for some loss
    • Move base leg closer to runway edge
    • Be higher turning Final
    • Be prepared to close the spoilers
    • Be prepared to pitch forward to maintain/recover airspeed
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Shear line causes loss of Total Energy
  • Large Pitch change required to rapidly recover lost energy
  • Large amount of Time ‘lost’ while total energy changes
  • Immediate action is required to reach original touchdown point!
effects on landing
Effects on Landing
  • Steady wind requires more energy
    • 800 feet closer or 100 ft higher for 20 kt wind
  • Changing wind requires more energy
  • Sink requires more energy
  • Ask yourself “Are you more likely to wind up getting low or high on final?”