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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STANDARD WEB VERSION >

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XC Secrets: Breaking 50km (by Dickon Walker)

Never having been a part of the BCC I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In 7 years I’d not quite got beyond being a lone ranger of the skies (well, ridges, more accurately). Whenever I’d previously thought about attending, the dates had never coincided with my being free of other responsibilities.

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XC Secrets: Busting 100km (by Dickon Walker)

It was Day 2 of the BCC, and looking through the caravan skylight the sky was blue with conditions similar to the day before. Hundred House was the new venue called for the BCC, given the more Easterly breeze. This was over an hour away from the Slackers camp site in Llangatock so I enjoyed being chauffeured there by more experienced XC hound Andrew Craig; it felt good to share encouragement and be confident enough to leave my car far behind with a clear intention of leaving the hill, knowing that every kilometre flown would take me towards my (mobile) home. 

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