XC Secrets

Catching the Drift: Thermals and Wind

Holding on to a drifting thermal can be very challenging, but improving this skill can yield exponential gains in airtime. Due to their buoyancy, thermals want to rise straight up. At some point the prevailing wind will overcome this inertia and tilt the thermal column. The winds at different altitudes can vary in direction and strength. The thermals therefore follow a wandering tilted trajectory as they rise, which can be difficult to map in three dimensions.

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XC Secrets: Going First or Going Fast?

Getting the most out of a good XC day often comes down to a simple decision: do you leave the hill as soon as you can (and try to stay up all day) or do you wait till it's good and blaze a trail on speedbar to cover more ground during the strong part of the day?

Carlo Borsattino recounts his decisions and tactics on an epic flight from Selsely common, when his leading position on his Skywalk Cayenne 5 (EN C) was put to the test against the relentless racing of Mark Watts on his Ozone Enzo 2 (CCC).

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XC Secrets: Cracking 200km in the UK

Carlo Borsattino has been flying XC for over 20 years, and has a reputation for his ability to stay aloft for hours even in the weakest conditions. But it takes more than patience to fly over 200km in the UK.

He analyses the technical challenges, tactical moves and saved mistakes that helped him to achieve his personal best distance.

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Big XC? No Hotship Required

Although having more performance helps, you don't have to fly an Advanced or Competition wing to achieve your Big XC dreams. The gliding and climbing ability of the modern Performance Class (mid EN C) is now remarkable! 

Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than Carlo Borsattino's recent performance on his Artik 4. 

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XC Secrets: Cloudsuck

In the UK we often fly near clouds, because the airmass is usually moist and the cloudbase is low. Small cumulus clouds can be fun, but large ones can become a problem.

How can you tell the difference?

Greg Hamerton analyses a recent XC flight that became a little too lifty. 

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XC Secrets: Breaking 50km

Want to know what's involved in doing your first 50km cross country flight?

Flybubble Team Pilot, Dickon Walker, shares the tale of a cracking XC in Wales from the Blorenge during the British Club Challenge ... complete with ups, downs and strategic thinking.

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XC Secrets: Busting 100km

Want to know what's involved in doing your first 100km paragliding cross country flight in the UK?

Flybubble Team Pilot, Dickon Walker, shares the tale of a cracking XC in Wales from Hundred House during the British Club Challenge ... complete with ups, downs and strategic thinking. 

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XC Secrets: Learning From Tracklogs (Phil Clark)

You only get one chance to fly the line you choose to fly. But what if you could go back, and analyse the decision? Consider the alternatives? Compare with others? You can ... with a tracklog!

In this multi-part series, Flybubble team pilot Phil Clark explains how you can learn a lot from analysing your flight tracklogs. Part one explains how to view your flight data by getting it out of your instrument and on to your computer, uploading it to an online XC league, and downloading the Google Earth (GE) file. Part two explains how to get more out of your tracklogs with GE, understanding the different file types, and drawing lessons from from them. Part three looks at multi-coloured traces. Part four draws more tracklog lessons. Part five investigates ways to learn from others in competitions and XCs.

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