22 - 24 November 1996

DLR Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

19 meteorologists and soaring pilots form Austria, Germany and Switzerland met to discuss aspects of soaring meteorology. This workshop was intended to provide more time for discussion in small groups than it was possible at the training seminar in Nötsch.

Topics were:

Soaring forecast

Hermann Trimmel started with the thesis that the following three aspects have to be optimized to achieve a good forecast: quality of the products, availability and access to the products, and knowledge of the pilots.

Erland Lorenzen presented the new selfbriefing philosophy of the German Weather Service (DWD). Key is the pc_met system which allows access to a large data base of soundings, maps, numerical forecasts (including thermal activity), GAFOR, METAR ... It includes also many facilities to interpret soundings.

The ALPTHERM program by Bruno Neininger and Olivier Liechti (OSTIV-price) allows the analysis of soundings for the forecasting of convection in mountaineous regions. It yields excellent results as far as the effects of elevated heating sources are concerned. It is planned to use the model-output soundings of the operational numerical forecast models of the Swiss Meteorological Institute and the German Weather Service to provide thermal forecasts for Central Europe.

ALPFOR is provided by AustroControl for Austria and available by fax polling. It gives the soaring conditions for 12 UTC and shows with standard symbols strength of thermals, convection levels and additional informations.


Selfbriefing requires sufficient meteorological knowledge of the pilots. Training workshops and self-learning systems should help the pilots to improve their knowledge and the successful use of pc_met.

Meteorological evaluation of GPS logger data

Jon Meis is preparing a diploma thesis at the University of Karlsruhe on the use of GPS logger data for the retrieval of properties of thermals. Data during the German Champonships can provide informations on hot spots in the contest area. Flights of many pilots in the same thermal can give information on tilt and the structure of thermals. once flight data of a greater number of pilots become available and the appropriate software is developed new opportunities for a more detailed analysis might open up.

Thanks go to Ricci Heinrich for providing extensive minutes of this meeting (see aerokurier 6/97).

Martin Hagen