Soaring in Winter? - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:30 AM   #1
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Soaring in Winter?

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Was wondering if anyone soars in the winter? (on nice days)
Can you find thermals in the winter?
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:33 AM   #2
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Re: Soaring in Winter?

I'm not sure Vancouver Island counts, but I fly all winter out here. We've had 20+ minute thermal flights on winter solstice. The days are short, and the sun angle is very low, so there are only a few hours of the day that are good for thermal soaring at that time of year. I thermal soar more in the winter than the summer out here, just too many other things to do in the summer.

I have flown hang gliders in the winter in Ontario, Alberta, and a bit in Sask. There are thermals if the lapse rate is OK, and there is something around to absorb what little solar radiation there is besides white snow. Early spring in Alberta (Feb., March) can have quite strong thermals with some snow on the ground for contrasting heating rates.

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Old 07-03-2015, 05:53 PM   #3
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Re: Soaring in Winter?

Yes it works. Your high start won't work in the cold though. It looses all it's stretch! You will need a slope, a tow plane or a glider cradle to get it up there.

Ok - I suppose you could use a powered glider, that's cheating though!

As the previous poster says toward spring when the sun gets stronger and there is good snow/bare ground contrast the thermals are unbelievable!
Hang time does not apply to ceiling fans, light fixtures, overhead door tracks or basketball nets!
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:49 AM   #4
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Re: Soaring in Winter?

I flew my Radian all 2013-14 winter long, about twice per month, in the Montreal area. You need just the right conditions: no to very low wind, sunny, warmer than usual, temperature that is just enough to melt the snow in a large parking, nobody in the parking, then yes it works. You can climb to 200m with the glider then it just glides down to 40-50 meters over the parking/roof and stays there for a very long time, circling. A cloth hood over the radio helps keeping the fingers functionnal.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:51 AM   #5
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Re: Soaring in Winter?

Flying a foamie is allright in winter, but I would not advise flying a composite model. Landing in the random snows/crust/ice/frozen ground is punishing, but foam just absorbs it.
Make sure to really clear the ice/snow that gets in the spinner before launching again.
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