Cross Country Magazine Tuesday Tip

This week's Tuesday Tip is from the May/June issue of Cross Country, which will be winging its way to subscribers later this week. It's from Bruce Goldsmith's Icaristics

Escaping Sink

If you are in an area of strong sink it is sometimes worth flying in zero lift or even in slight sink to avoid spending too much time in the sinking air.

This is a trick often used by XC pilots flying in the UK in strong wind when leaving the ridge. You know that behind your ridge there will be sink. So even if your thermal is not lifting any more it is better to stay in the zero than leave and get the full force of the sink.

Sometimes the zero can turn back into a proper lifting thermal once you have got through the area of strong sink.

This trick is particularly useful when you are leaving a plateau, or a region of highland. The whole airmass is descending over a large area. The only way to get through it is to stay in a region of reduced sink and drift with the wind.

You leave the area of highland and there is a massive area of downwards moving air. The best way through is to find a bubble – a zero, even slight sink – and hang on.

Gliding into the flats
Photo: Fredrik Gustafsson