Spotting Thermals

I've cross posted this to rec.aviation.soaring, because those guys are *bound*
to know, so I'll explain the problem in full:

We are discussing the problem that I had of flying a 15 square meter light
weight kite at an altitude of 300' (with CAA clearance).  I hit a thermal
and was lifted a short distance off the ground.  I was fortunate to
notice the problem and collapse the canopy before I got into trouble, but
since I am using this kite to power my kite buggy (an idea similar to land
yachting), and could easily have rushed into the updraft at 30mph and been
too far clear of the ground before I realised what was going on.  So:

I'd like to know how to spot a thermal, just by observation.

I have a dead-man's quick release harness and am flying on the minimum
line strenght that I can get away with - whilst it will hold my weight,
this is NOT a rig to go paracending with!

Work: gaffer@plx.com Phone: +44 793 614 110 Fax: +44 793 614 297

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