Spotting Thermals

In Article <CB6wyp.CK8@tug.com>, andrew@tug.com (Andrew Beattie) wrote:
>I'd like to know how to spot a thermal, just by observation.
If I knew the secret, I could win a lot of soaring contests!

You usually can find thermals under developing cumulus clous, but thermals
also occur "in the blue" with no clouds to mark them.  Other more
experienced sailplane pilots may wish to make additional comment.

A recent article in Soaring magazine by a military helicopter pilot who is
also a sailplane pilot talked about being able to see thermals with the
(very expensive) infared vision system in the chopper.  There was also some
recent mention in this newsgroup of research that indicates thermals might
be detectable by some microwave emmision of the certain molecules in the
turbulent air.

If you do find an easy way to spot thermals, please let me know!

As far as keeping your kite from lifting you off the ground, perhaps you
could rig up some sort of tension system that would cause the kite to stop
or lessen it's pull as the tension increases past a certain "safe" limit
(like your weight).  Don't know exactly how the kite is designed but you
could make it collapse part of the canopy or decrease the angle of attack or

Have fun!  Maybe wear a parachute or put a stake in the ground and tie
yourself to it!  :-)
|   Mark Milbourne                  |
|   milbouma@esvax.dnet.dupont.com  |
|   (302) 695 3328                  |

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