30 tips for successful cross-country flying
#29: Survival mode and mile-eater mode
The time of day and altitude have a great bearing on flying style. If the thermals are weak in the morning or evening, it is better to fly defensively: take every bit of lift and get maximum height. The same generally applies when you are low. In this situation it is far more important just to stay in the air, never mind flying fast. If, on the other hand, the thermals are booming and regular, and if you are high enough, you can switch to the mile-eater mode. Kick that speed-bar and go! Forget the weak thermals, just turn in the strong ones.
If you are high, let the clouds determine your route. Your focus is above – what line should you fly to lose as little height as possible? Which cloud is building, which one is decaying? In survival mode, when you are low, the focus is more below. Where is the thermal trigger, or where might the thermal be? Which ridge can I soar to stop me from bombing out?