30 tips for successful cross-country flying
#19: Tools with addiction potential
There have been cases of relationship breakups because one partner was addicted to XC-Planner. At least that’s the rumour in my club. No question that the planning tools like ThermiXC from Bernd Gassner and xcplanner.appspot.com/ from Tom Payne are potentially very addictive for cross-country pilots. The afore-mentioned XC-Planner is no longer available. Nevertheless, there is no lack of tools for cross-country route planning, e. g. the Meteo-Parapente planner, SeeYou-Cloud from Naviter and FlyXC.
The great thing about XC planning tools is that you can easily set the turn points with a mouse click and the tool will tell you how many league points this flight will earn you. In addition, there is airspace information, skyways, the graphical representation of the turn point radius and above all, useful thermal information to help you achieve your dream 100/200/300 km flight. Last but not least, you can download the planned routes in various data formats (e.g. .gpx) and transfer them to your own flight instrument.
With ThermiXC you can limit the data to April to September. Official take-off and landing areas can be displayed. Thermal info is presented as a heat map based on KK7 data for January, April, July and October from sunrise +4, +7 or +10 hours. This helps a lot! But what you should also know is that this thermal info is based on past data, from real flights other pilots have submitted to a league. So it is by no means the case that in the immediate surroundings of Annecy, Andelsbuch or Kössen the thermals are “best”. It is just that that is where most people fly.
ThermiXC also displays the thermal info from the DHV-XC (Leonardo) – even with filter options according to wind direction and thermal quality. The Thermap data is great for pilots who want to “break new ground“ – this is a theoretical model for the thermal probability as a function of slope inclination and solar radiation (i.e. according to selected time of day and season). Since ThermiXC also allows the import of GPX or IGC files to your instrument, you will be amazed how good the thermal predictions are when comparing theory and practice. A real source of inspiration for new routes and a great tool to do a lot with!
With a similar interface and functionality, FlyXC can be used as an alternative to the XC-Planner for planning cross-country flights. With the Meteo-Parapente-planner, in addition to the popular wind and weather check, turn points can be added, the resulting the XC points calculated and airspace can be displayed. SeeYou-Cloud also offers this functionality, as well as others, e.g. tracking on 3D maps and the integration of weather maps from Skysight and Topmeteo.
It may take some time to learn how to use all these exciting features. But once you have the know-how to use these tools, it is possible to spend many hours playing with them.
But please don’t neglect your partner…