More On STREETS

     A big street of any kind can be astonishing, providing gobs of lift nearly everywhere on course.   At its best, streeting technique amounts to extended  ‘dolphin’  flight while wandering a few degrees off course wherever stronger lift is implied by individual cumulus, dark areas in one long cloud, or simply the feel of clear air.   It’s sometimes possible to run many miles (in some cases hundreds of miles), perhaps gaining speed and altitude, while seldom stopping to circle.   But however powerful or consistent a street may be, don’t assume you’ll be able to cruise straight along it before climbing at the first opportunity.   If you’ve arrived low, use it as you would any solitary thermal until you’re high enough to move on with confidence.   (In most cases streets will be stronger toward the windward end, and possibly useless near the downwind end.)  

     This exposes one of the more common dilemmas in soaring:  in weak lift, should you stop and climb or move on?   Or pose the question this way:  how strong should the lift be before you stop to climb, and how weak does it have to be to require moving on?   There can be no simple answer to these questions, since any solution depends on height above ground, distance below cloud base, strength of expected lift ahead (and overhead), the distasnce beyond this lift to the next left, and other variables.   In dealing with such dilemmas it’s important to keep asking questions.   How about this one:  what is the optimum speed to fly while moving on within the street?