torsdag 3. april 2014

”8 flights from Khao Sadao”

The wind was from southerly directions all five days, sometimes too much, sometimes too little.

The special thing about the wind at Khao Sadao is the regularity of it. In nighttime the wind is usually much stronger than in daytime. The strong wind, but less strong than in the night, very often lasts till the thermals start to come. If the wind is strong till noon the thermals might be strong, too, making it difficult to take off with a paraglider. You have to wait for a pause between the thermals.

If the wind is five meters a second or less in the morning a possible scenario is that the wind and thermals slow down and you can have a tailwind. In conditions like these you should take off as soon as possible, Then you can stay along the ridge waiting for the thermals.

When the clouds start to pop up make ready for takeoff. Much sooner than you think the wind can slow down and you will have a tailwind the rest of the day.

When you are high enough you should look for thermals  not only along the ridge. Go out on the flatlands or behind the ridge.

The days we were at Khao Sadao it was very hot, sometimes 41 degrees in the middle of the day.

On Tuesday it was very hot. Not too much wind in the nighttime, and the same in the morning. Around 11.30 the wind slowed down. We had to wait for wind to make a reverse takeoff. It was not a piece of cake to get up. You had to take what you got and be careful and turn in lift all the time. The clouds were growing extremely fast. I centered a good and wide thermal which speeded up the higher I got. At 1500 meters the lift was at 6 m a second with a peak of 8 m. Above my head the cumulus cloud was growin in size and blackness. A cloud street pointed towards Chok Chai, my first destination on the way to Suntinimit, more than 120 kilometers away. I had to pass another big cloud to reach the cloud street. As the two clouds might grow together into one and suck me up, I decided to go to the right when I was at about 1850 m asl. From there I saw that there were quite a few high clouds on the way. Some of them would probably give heavy rain later. So I decided to go for a landing as it would not be easy to see what happened up there due to haze in the air. I think that was a good decision at that time of the day. A peak of 8 m a second is quite much 500 m under cloud base. That cloud really sucked!

When we were there pilots from different countries were flying, Russia, France, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway.

Khao Sadao is a great place for flying, and for sure the best flying site in Thailand.

One day after flying Bengt and I went up on the right (north) side of Khao Phrik. We parked the car at the wat and followed the blue plastic water pipe up to some big steel tanks. From there we followed a black water pipe further up. When that pipe ended we turned slightly to the left up e steep hillside. We marked the our trail with red strings. When we came to a place with much grass we saw that around here it could be possible to make a new takeoff. Higher up there was tall grass up to the tree line. Not too much work to clean the area and not too many trees to cut down. 10 to 15 minutes walk up to takeoff when bushes were cut. Too much work for the two of us. But I guess that 10 people could do all the work in one day. This takeoff needs wind from E, ENE.

However, there is an old takeoff to the north at the other end of Khao Sadao. One problem here is that there is a locked gate so that you for the time being cannot drive by car  to this takeoff. From the air it does not seem to be many trees to cut down. Bengt and I will have a look here later some time.

If there are takeoffs to the north and south this will be one of the best flying sites in South East Asia. It is possible to fly many hundred kilometers if the conditions are favourable.

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