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Desert Met help please.


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All,

I noticed another post which spoke of the weather you have in the desert....

As you may know, I am off to fly my paramotor across the Sahara's 'empty quater' early in the new year.

Do any of you know what I can expect from the weather on the trip?

I have a good idea of course but there is nothing better than a bit of local 'ish' knowledge when it comes to met and I am sure there will be some interesting weather.

SW :D

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Simon,

The Empty quarter you are going to fly over is some 3000 miles away from Riyadh (we have an empty quarter in Saudi also), it fact it is a similar distance from us as you are so I don't think you can class us as local. However we are approximately on the same latitude and therefore if the Sahara desert is anything like the desert here at that time of year then it will be cold, windy and probably wet. You will probably feel quite at home!

Good luck and best wishes.

Alan

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Simon,

because of the terrain of the desert any wind can cause significant turbulence, also, as Martin says, we restrict our flying to early morning or late afternoon as the thermals can get quite violent during the mid day sun. I don't know how far you will be from the coast but I would imagine a fair way so you don't get the warming effect of the sea during the winter. Therefore the temperature difference between night and day can be significant. At that time of year the temperature can fall below freezing during the night and get up to 20C to 30C + during the day. We also get thunderstorms and un-announced 'tornado like' winds. It doesn’t rain very often but that is the time of year when we expect it and when it does you know it and flash flooding can be an issue.

I know your expedition is being led by an experienced team of desert explorers so I'm sure they are far more aware than I am of the dangers the desert poses at time of year but be careful as it is like flying on mars. The desolation can be mind blowing and if you have to land out it could be hours or days before rescue can get to you find you. There have been a number of cases of Saudis driving into the desert, getting lost and dying of thirst or starvation. If you do land out stay with your kit as it is easy to get disorientated, if you leave it you probably won't find it again (this happened to one of our guys who got lost, walked up a sand dune to get his bearing and then couldn't find his car. He was rescued three days later, near death, by search and rescue. They found his car on day one!). The dangers of the tip to tip pale into insignificance compared with the trip you are undertaking now!

Best Regards

Alan

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I've just read over what I wrote and I think I made it a bit extreme! The dangers are very real but they are not every day occurrences. I think the point I was trying to make (not very successfully) is that it won't be like a Sunday flight in the UK where you are never more than a long glide to the nearest pub. Your ground crew won't have roads to follow you on and driving in the desert is a real skill in itself as it is anything but flat and not vehichle or people friendly. Finding suitable takeoff and landing sites may be problematic. There is one other danger I forgot to mention and that is sand storms. If you remember as a child having a picnic on the beach and sand getting everywhere, multiply that by 1000 as it gets into every orifice it can. I recommend you practice at home by changing your toilet paper for 100grit sand paper! Harden up the cheeks before you go.

However, regardless of the dangers, on a clear day there is nothing more exhilarating than flying over a sea of sand, the sense of isolation you feel when you can turn 360Deg and see nothing but sand dunes no habitation, no life at all. It is like you are the only person in existence. The desert at night will take your breath away as you will see a heaven you didn't know existed, the stars are so bright and so clear they could be painted on the sky. You are really going to enjoy your expedition and I wish I was coming with you.

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