From a Chris Santacroce conversation about thermalling...

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From a Chris Santacroce conversation about thermalling...

Postby gracecab » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:12 am

The following is from a Facebook conversation I had with Chris Santacroce about thermaling... He has written lots of articles, and this is what he recently gave me when I asked him for any tips he may have for a beginning pilot like myself about thermaling:

OK – here are my top five tips…

If you don't have a thermal – point straight toward something convenient and safe – you can't make a thermal happen.

If the thermal is not productive then leave it – it either rocks your world and takes you up or it is a tease – no in between. There's nothing regrettable about pointing straight and not getting a thermal but there is something regrettable about making a bunch of circles trying to force a thermal to work when it really isn't there.

If it is a thermal then you had better be circling and it doesn't matter which way – just execute well on three circles – head over to whatever side of whatever riser you're turning toward – looking behind you like a dog chasing its tail – maintaining inside break and adjusting a bit with the outside break – it's all about intent – force the issue of three circles. During that time you will learn a lot about where the thermal is or isn't.

If the thermal is more than 400 feet a minute then bank angle doesn't mean anything – feel free to overbank like a son of a bitch – just make sure that you're over banking right in the core.

If there is anybody circling and going up successfully then you should be right next to them – right behind them – circling with them wingtip to wingtip – making eye contact the whole time. You might not be as experienced as them but they want you and need you in the thermal. You lwant and need them as well… put your glider in the exact same piece of air as them – if you're in-attentive for a second or two – observing that there is a better position available without claiming it - in that moment - then you are blowing it.
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
Ventura, CA
UP Kantega XC2 / Gin Verso
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