The following are guidelines observed by PPPPC pilots to determine when it's safe to fly.  Most of our flying occurs in Colorado, so be mindful that some of these guidelines may need to be modified for your location.  Please read our DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page.


Time  2 hrs after sunrise or before sunset.  In recent years, we have seen much better conditions during morning sessions.  Late afternoon conditions have been frequently poor due to late day thunderstorms and gusty winds.
Temperature  Many pilots become uncomfortable below 40F.  Make sure your hands are  well protected from the cold!  Some of our more thick-skinned pilots will brave the cold down to 30F.
Wind Speed Winds of less than 10Knots are generally preferred. The icons shown to the right can be found on our Weather Forecast page.  They link to several sites where wind speed forecasts are available.  It's usually a good idea to check several of the sites since they can all provide different forecasts and information. usairnet wundergnd
windmapper sailflow wind_fcst
Winds Aloft  The NWS should be reporting winds at 9000'msl under 15knots and 12000'msl under 20.  Check the direction as well.  Winds aloft in a significantly different direction than on the ground can indicate good conditions for sheer, or rotor (learn more by reading about this incident).  The icon shown to the right can be found on our Weather Forecast page.  It provides a link to blastvalve.com which it a hot air ballooning site that provides winds aloft forecasting. blastvalve
Stability Instability should be mild and can be determined by noting a mild to high pressure and no more than a -20 Thermal Index (T.I.) between surface and 12,000msl. Watch surface temps and be leery of puddle temp increases. Summertime can bring about T.I. negatives of -30 as early as 9am. For example, you may measure 115f after a 10 minute surface temp measurement at 6000'msl and then note that the NWS has reported 35f at 12,000'msl. This would give a negative thermal index of -47 WOW!!!!! Fly early and late, quit flying well before trigger temperature is met to avoid turbulence.
Do's & Dont's Don't Fly with Thunderstorms Activity in Sight - following this rule could have prevented several serious PPG incidents.
  Don't Fly with Lightening in Sight - Lightening is associated with thunderstorm activity.  Even if lightening is not nearby, the associated storm activity can create dangerous gust fronts for up to many 10's of miles away.
  Don't Allow Weather Test Flights Unless...  No pilot should be allowed to take off and "Test The Air" unless all pilots in the group are under a consensus that the air is safe to fly in.

DISCLAIMER: SAFETY, AND EVERY DECISION TO FLY IS THE SOLE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH INDIVIDUAL PILOT. THESE GUIDELINES WERE NOT WRITTEN BY METEOROLOGISTS.  THEY MAY NOT BE COMPLETE OR ABSOLUTE AND ARE PRESENTED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.