Successful Usage of our own Forecasts!

The motivation to found TopMeteo (formerly Wetter-Jetzt) as a company about 20 years ago lay in the fact that we missed suitable weather forecasts for our own flights. They were missing as well for the daily creation of our “Thermikinfo” service (since 1997, available in Germany) and we knew that we could do better. It was also the time when fully-fledged weather models could run on PC-class computers at least for smaller areas like Europe. This gave us the necessary infrastructure “at home” instead of working on large computers like the well-known Cray. The “Thermikinfo” has been successfully informing the German cross country glider pilots about upcoming good and very good cross country flight conditions for over 20 years now. And our own weather model – actually a chain of numerical models – supports this since 2005.

The original motivation to support us flying large distances by ourselves has not been lost over the years. This year TopMeteo co-founder Bernd Goretzki (PhD in meteorology) is again on the hunt for long distance flights. From Locktow (southwest of Berlin) he has already conducted six flights over the magic 1,000 km and 1,000 points limits in 2019 (see OLC).

Bernd reports about his flights:

All flight days were days with cold air masses and cold air advection, they started early and were reasonably homogeneous. But I didn’t find any longer lasting energy lines, as they like to occur within a mature, warm air mass with high ground temperatures, on any of the six flights. They were no days to race the track. Sections with high speeds were interrupted again and again by longer distances of careful gliding.

When are you ready for take off for these long distance flights?

On all days thermals started early, Takeoff was 09:30 o’clock (local time), sometimes even at 09:00 o’clock. I always plan my flights with a standard schedule, i.e. with an average speed of 100 km/h. Starting at 10:00 o’clock should give you 500 km on the meters at 15:00 o’clock. Starting earlier sometimes resulted in 300 km at 12 o’clock and 500 km could be done before 15 o’clock.

Do you plan your flights in the morning in such a way that you depart in the weak thermal with tail wind?

In the morning I always had a headwind for flights that went up to Hamburg. It was quite atypical this year that the wind came a lot from the west – normally big flights are in easterly or northeasterly wind conditions. I think it’s more important to have the long leg lying well in the wind during such flights.

… continued here …

  • 2019-05-05

    The thermal day lastet longer than predicted. Then the 00 o’clock run added a lot of spread out here in the east. Unfortunately it was right, but not so bad within this air mass, if you sit in an airplane with a good glide ratio. Otherwise, as always, you have to be lucky.

  • 2019-05-07

    Well, when you look into the cloudy drizzle in the morning after getting up, you are already wondering whether the orange colour in the PFD is right. I almost called a drizzle specialist. I know someone in Königsdorf. But they probably only have drizzle on weekends. He probably couldn’t help me today. What helped in the end was trust in God and the model and of course the view into the satellite picture. And they reminded me even hurry up. A great day. And still a great plane, this ol’Ventus.

  • 2019-05-14

    The plan was to escape before the moisture coming in from NE and to come back home in the evening when it was gone. This can be planned with cloud distribution, less with PFD. In my eyes the most important map. And sometimes it works. A lot of wind and sometimes broken thermals were part of it today.

  • 2019-05-29

    Pure enjoyment, from start to finish, even if thermals started before breakfast. The weather region was limited by the front in the east and by the humidity splashing in from the North Sea. In between a great air mass, crystal clear and with cloud streets. Climb rates were not so great. The orange in the PFD was not so wrong now 😉

  • 2019-06-17

    hm, there’s a little Namibian feeling this year 🙂

  • 2019-07-13

    A little chewy today. Only in the beginning it went very well. In the evening you had to park a bit until you were allowed to go home.