The season is not starting dramatically quick here in Austria. Almost repeating the pattern of the previous year with late spring and fronts coming one after another. One has to actually jump from one location to another in order to get some flying.
Such picture can be seen most of the time at the Metoffice Surface Pressure Charts. I keep my fingers crossed for the friends form the UK!
Looking at the forecast maps and the weather predictions on classical websites like Alpterm and XCskies also doesn’t bring much consolation most of the time. However, as we notice, the tendency of forecasts seems to be quite defensive and often in retrospective I can see that days happen to be much better than they were supposed to be. The reason for it is partly in the overall unstable condition of the airmass over the Alps. When the next cold front comes from the west it appears to be quite tricky to predict precisely how long it will take the front to pass through, then afterwards there is a trough situation with moist air, which makes it harder to tell, when it is going to overdevelop, how vast will be the overcast and etc. Sometimes the dry air comes earlier than expected, sometimes not. Classical pattern that can be seen is prediction of quite good days in a long perspective, like in 4-5 days before, with high cloudbase, no wind and other tasty attributes, so we as pilots get all excited, planning big and scenic flight, and then day by day they tweak it with decreasing the top of lift, cross country potential, spreading cloud cover wider and wider. In the end they are not shying to give a nice rain possibility over the place which initially promised hardly less than record flying.
That was the case for three of us, Gerolf, Suan and me a couple weeks ago, when while observing the weather situation over a few days we saw that Gemona is looking very promising. So after preparing a task, uploading the waypoints to our instruments, solving logistic problems with retrieve options by leaving one car around the most probable bombing-out place, driving all the way from Graz to Italy, waking up freaking early to meet at Suan’s homeplace called Cercivento we faced new version of the weather with nicely covered milky sky and instability spread basically everywhere but over our little area around Tolmezzo and Gemona. Nice, huh!? This time the forecasts were over calling it.
Means that the pre-planned epic flight couldn’t be accomplished and there was a high risk to spend half of the night on retrieving from Slowenian bushes. The next day was already the first competition day in Loser, so we tried our best on a bit Fore scale this time :). However such nice things like recovering in weak foreland bubbles and jumping over Gemona valley-opening towards Monte Cuar, which is typically a place to climb up before gliding to Meduno, was a tricky and interesting training part.
Now I have to leave Gemona flight in my memory as a nice Italian summer day with tricky inversion and pictorial view over wide halfly dry watercourse of Tagliamento river and jump to the description of the next flying project.