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Thread: Escaping Down drafts and Mountian Flying

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    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Escaping Down drafts and Mountian Flying

    Jon Stark Waspair on RWF post one of the most concise posts I've seen on escaping down drafts:

    Having spent a great deal of time flying gliders in the Rockies, with no ability to climb at will, I've developed a practice that is easily adapted for powered aircraft.

    Many power pilots try to handle sinking air by slowing to best climb speed and adding full throttle. At high density altitude with lower power margins and with potentially very powerful down currents, that is often not a very good idea, but there is another way. If you are at best climb and still not going up, turn 45 degrees to course and INCREASE your speed.

    Why turn?
    Most subsiding air is highly localized, and you may get out of it quickly with a simple course adjustment. The last thing you want to do is continue in a band of sinking air along a ridge, when you could move away a little and be out of that flow.

    Why more speed?
    The less time you spend in sinking air the better, especially since there is likely still or rising air very close by. Your performance won't let you overpower it, so dash to get out of it. The loss you suffer from briefly flying above your best climb speed is likely to be much smaller than what you gain by getting out of that sinking air promptly.

    Once your gauges and the seat of your pants tell you that you're back in friendlier air flow, you can adjust your speed and heading again. You know now where the trouble lies, and can devise a plan to cope with it.

    Don't fight the downdrafts -- escape them.
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    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Jon that was the most precise description I heard! This is EXCELLENT advice my friends! Wind and sea act much the same with rip-tides!! To get out of both as quickly as possible you swim 90 degrees to the current. In the mountains you turn as much as you can 90 degrees but always turn following a descending slope or valley. The secret really is get out of the sinking air mass or current as soon as you can.
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    U.S. Agent for Aviomania Aircraft... the most stable gyroplane on the market today.
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