So I have had a bit of time on my hands recently and have been crunching some numbers from flight track data online.
If you ever want to know when is the most relaible time to come paragliding in St Andre les Alpes or when you are going to beat your PB this might help you decide, although there is flying all year round!
This is a St Andre les Alpes focussed analysis so only concerns flights starting from Chlavet South or Chalvet West. Data comes from 7068 online track logs submitted to the following online competition sites
There is further clarification on data at the bottom of this article but suffice to say I wouldn't use it for any important stuff...like in a court of law!
The first table below illustrates how those 7000 plus flights are distributed across each month of the year.
- The most popular month for flights is July, August and September with more than 5000 flights taking place in this quarter.
- Each month from March to September the average length of flights is over 46KM.
- Each month from April to September flights over 150KM are achieved.
The next chart shows the average number of flyable days each month based on 5556 flights from 2011 to 2016.
- The most reliable months for getting a flight is August and September with an average of 27 and 28 flyable days per month.
- From June to October there are more flyable days than para waiting days each month!
Remember this is based only on uploaded flight track data and one persons flyable day is different to another persons. Aerogliss the flying school here will be launching their students on far more days than is illustrated here with often calm conditions existing in the mornings all year.
The final chart might help you if you are looking to do a big XC and break some records. It shows the maximum flight each month as a percentage of the current site record.
- The biggest flights take place in spring conditons in April including the current site record this year by Louis Gerin-Jean of 213.89 Km or 299.45 points.
- Big XC flights scoring points of at least 80% of the above score are possible from April to September.
Having spent some hours crunching these numbers I guess it only shows what we always already knew from experience is that St Andre les Alpes is a reliable place to get some airtime!
It's good to see the numbers confirm this though and also may encourage some of you to seek some long distant flights any time from April to September.
However track log data only shows what pilots managed to get out of the day not what the aerology was like! April may be the best time for long distant records but you may not enjoy flying with frozen fingers and dealing with punchy sky rocket thermals so choose a time that suits you.
September is the most popular time to fly in St Andre les Alpes for good reason. Its the most reliable month for flying days (unlike sites in the Northern Alpes), conditions still provide the opportunity to do 150km triangles and yet they tend to be more comfortable for lower airtime pilots.
If this has inspired you to come to St Andre les Alpes for the first time check out other parts of my website for more Chalvet site information.
Regarding the data, remember it has limits!
- Not everyone is interested in uploading their flights so it is not representative of all flights that take place.
- Pilots become more IT savvy so more of us upload flights data now than perhaps was done 10 years ago.
- Each online league reports their flight data slightly differently so there are some discrepencies although I have tried to normalise the main ones.
Feel free to add a message below if you want to put your thoughts into the discussion.