METEOROLOGICAL SUPPORT FOR GLIDING, HANG-GLIDING AND HOT AIR BALLOON CHAMPIONSHIPS: A Summary of Practical Experiences
Keywords:Meteorology, Atmospheric physics, Coaching
AbstractIt is essential to discern the relevant scales of motion which are important to gliders, hang-gliders and hot air balloons, respectively. Experience has shown the value of on-site meteorological support for aeronautical competitions. The better insight in local phenomena, the immediate feedback from pilots and the possibility to take measurements when and where needed cannot be compensated by the easier logistics of a head-office based support. The observations made by pilots of gliders, hang-gliders and hot air balloons are an invaluable source of information to complement our very scarce knowledge of the "micro and mesoscale structure of the atmosphere's first mile," particularly over inhomogeneous terrain. An increasing degree of sophistication of on-board equipment in gliders will produce quantified information and hitherto unmeasurable quantities like updraft strength and density, vertical wind and temperature variations and small-scale turbulence; HAB'S as very visible tracers of microscale wind systems provide detailed insights in the mechanics of valley-wind systems. This host of information, when carefully and systematically evaluated by meteorologists, would close some of the more embarrassing gaps in our knowledge about the atmosphere immediately around us.
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