30 June 2008

Winds, clouds, and a couple of good flights

The last three weeks pilots in Finland were pestered with unstable weather with over development pretty much every day, and on top of it strong winds prevailed. Nevertheless, at times there were some areas with clearer weather and last week saw a couple of good flights.
On Thursday Ari "303" Sahlström was reported to have flown some 140 km from a private winch field in Vampula to Hämeenkoski. Winds were really strong that day and rumor has it that the in the upwind part of his thermal circles Ari was flying backwards (relative to the ground).
Next day hangglider pilots Kari and Vesa flew almost 200 km, from the Kauhajoki airfield to Hankasalmi. Kari told us that the first 80 km were flown in string winds with broken thermals under a blue sky, and that they were mostly only between 700 and 200 m above the ground. They then reached another airmass with good clouds and with a base of over 2000 m. He thinks that with a slightly different route for the last part they could have gone a bit further still.
I myself did only fly on Saturday at the Yötä Myöten ("throughout the night") event organized by the hang- and paragliding club in Jyväskylä, Pitkävuoren Liitäjät. Luckily I arrived early in the day and could fly for a good hour. I tried to fly to the North where the sky looked good but was to slow and got locked in between cloud streets that rained on both sides of me. With no landing possibilities in the open corridor north and a cloudbase of only 1100m the only option was to land on the last nice field and pack up quickly, just in time before the rain (see track).
Later this week a high pressure system is expected and that should give us some better conditions. Also this week the European Championships (in paragliding) commence in Serbia. As far as I know without participants from Finland, but I'm keen to follow the results from the Dutch team, as well as various other friends. Wish you all good flights!

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