Explanations of the tools below and more
Introduction to weather for PG pilots
NWS hourly forecast – Poteau, OK
Wister, OK – current conditions
Stigler, OK – current conditions
Poteau, OK – current conditions at the Poteau airport
Kiamichi – current conditions near Panorama launch
Buffalo Mountain Flyers – current conditions & more at Buffalo Mountain
MesoWest stations Ouachita Mountains – current conditions
Weather for Aircrews – Basic weather info for non-professionals
Pivotal Weather – an outstanding site for anything weather but it requires some work and know-how
SPC Balloon Soundings (every 12 hours)
UoW Balloon Soundings – usually available before the SPC soundings for 72364 (ELP)
NOAA Satellite image of moisture and clouds over the USA
Windy – animated map of winds and other data over the surface of the world
Wind History Map – actual vs. forecasts
Weather Spark – monthly, daily, and hourly graphical reports anywhere on earth
Introductory videos: The Dream of Human Flight is now a Reality - The Joy of Paragliding – a fine video production by Steve Crye showing the elements of why we love to fly. Let's go places (from Toyota), Featured video and introduction to paragliding (from the National Geographic), Fly like a bird (from USHPA), Eagle Paragliding has this outstanding video on the front page of their website of a pilot flying in the Alps.
Nearly every country in the world promotes and loves adventure sports, like hang gliding and paragliding. Switzerland even put an image of a guy paragliding on their 50 Franc note. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has opened the doors of Texas parks to USHPA pilots. Our sport is popular because it is the purest and rawest form of aviation there is and one that an average man or woman can afford (about the price of a 10 year old used car). It only costs a few dollars an hour to fly a powered paraglider. Free flight paragliding has no cost but the equipment. The downside? Training to do it safely requires more practice and time than most other aircraft. Weather is far more critical to flying safely.
It is going to be a near record day of heat so we're staying home.... No training!
Did a little flight over Cavanal today. Winds were light but sinky everywhere, sometimes over 100'/minute. Beautiful late afternoon!
The summit is an antenna farm with trees everywhere else. Just to the left in the photo is an open field along the ridge that once was an antenna. Need to check it out from the ground. Why is this? It could have nearly invisible wires, etc. at the site.
Wolf Ridge just to the south and a part of Cavanal. A relatively good place to operate from.
Britton Shaw, an instructor from Ft. Smith, had a crowd at launch from all over including Dallas and Kansas City! Reggie Koch assisted at launch the whole time. Winds were SSE sometimes crossing a bit more. Jason Tilley and yours truly arrived relatively late in the afternoon and watched pilots learning how to soar a ridge and make sleds to the south LZ by the old highway 59.
The winds were a bit light so soaring was not easy and Britton gave a good speech where NOT to fly so as to avoid the trees which are everywhere here. All enjoyed many flights and it was a safe and fun flying day for everyone. (Yours truly is new to the area and the sites so it is very important to get a briefing before flying, as I did and will continue to do. Thank you Britton.)
Here is the south launch area. It is very well kept and there is little turbulence from the trees. The bottom of the launch which is a steep cliff. On a day like this one, a pilot must not fly below this line. According to Britton (and it makes sense) there is NO lift and down you go! Pilots must head out to the LZ before getting lower than the top of the cliff. The dust cloud at the west end of the rim is about where the SW launch area is.
Jason Tilley soaring the Heavener rim
Kurt from Dallas
A new pilot learning how to soar the Heavener rim
Jason Tilley & yours truly had to take advantage of good flying conditions at Buffalo in the Ouachita Mountains. Arriving in the afternoon, we were met at launch by Ron Kohn, a great PG instructor and pilot who lives at the base of the mountain. He gave us a valuable intro to the site, especially the hazards and how it works. Jason and I are both relatively new to the region and getting with the locals is always recommended. Winds were moderate and thermals were weak, a good environment for learning how an unfamiliar site works.
After launching we both had to work to stay aloft. That is, turns in the air had to be perfectly flat (sharp turns lose a significant amount of altitude). It was intense finding and staying in lift. Conditions became weaker as the afternoon went on requiring us to land at the LZ out front but then things got stronger and we were both able to top land later. Ken Cobb (the landowner of both launch and the LZ) kindly gave Jason a ride back to launch, saving me a trip. Thank you!
Jason was the 1st to launch. Ron watches in the foreground.
The outstanding launch area. Ken is standing at the primary PG and HG launch. The others work better when winds are high.
The LZ – an easy and safe glide from the top of Buffalo.
View from launch. In the far distance is Kiamichi Mountain, a long ridge populated with wind mills. The Potato Hills are the small mountains in front. Ken is watching Jason land at the main LZ.
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