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WAC Blog #7 - 22 August 2009

The weather bird was launched, ceiling has risen quite a bit in the last couple of hours, and flying has now resumed just after 11.00. Mikael Brageot of France in the CAP-232, F-GMRG. Because the weather has been marginal, we were concerned whether the French pilot would find the ceiling sufficient. 800 meters (2,625 feet) are needed to fly with a break.

Procedures can get quite cumbersome here if a pilot decides to abort the flight programme. This requires the launch of the weather bird with Jury member on board to verify the ceiling is below the minimum. If it is not, the pilot is not entitled to repeat the flight. At WAC 2009 though, there is one big difference. Height is being tracked by the QinetiQ system and we can see the height reached by the pilot accurate to a very high degree. When Brageot flew, for example, prior to the Q sequence, he reached an altitude of just over 900 meters and the highest point during the sequence was 780 meters. So pilot reports can be easily verified as we can also hear the radio transmissions he or she is making with the Chief Judge. A remarkable system. In any event, we are moving along now in the Q, with the break, and I am confident we will have sufficient ceiling to continue through the day.