Wizmo Soaring Guide

This guide was put together with the assistance of local clubs. These clubs have negotiated most of the sites. Please pay special attention to the access restrictions to avoid the loss of the site to all.

To use this guide to its full potential you need a browser capable of full Java 1.02 compatibility. Unfortunately due to Microsoft’s' great fear of Java and its claim against their monopoly, most of their Browsers have some convenient bug that prevents these pages working. I have tested these pages on Netscape 3.01, and IE 4. Some of the features work on IE3.01 and IE 3.02. I assume that Netscape 3.01 and above, and Mac/UNIX browsers will be compatible. Please inform me if you have any trouble with any software, and I will try and fix it

How to use this Guide

Your main navigation tool is in the left portion of the screen. The Top Cloud accesses the Current Weather screen. This page allows easy access to actual weather conditions throughout the UK. The Lower F-Cloud shows a Weather Forecast Model output. These pages display detailed weather predictions from various sources for Northern Europe. The Soaring Paraglider and cliff access the Site Guide. Currently I am waiting for permission from the local clubs, before publishing the pages. I have included samples to show the expected format.

The welcome page includes descriptive pointers to these links. The main links are always visible when using a frame compatible browser. If the soaring Paraglider animation does not work properly you are probably using an early version of Netscape. Using the small Netscape Icon you can select a compatible (but slower) image.

Where appropriate a form icon is provided for you to add other information to the site. If you would prefer to contact me via e-mail links are provided on most pages.

Current Weather

The top cloud is always visible in the top left corner of the browser window. Click it to show a graphical image of the U.K. with symbols indicating the position of Automatic Weather Stations. Click over the icon of interest to access the external link which displays the latest data including wind speed direction, temperature, and cloud cover. The data comes from various sources

Blue Diamond - NWS (US National Weather Service, mostly airports)
Green Cirlce - NOAA (US National Oceanic , mostly oil rigs)
Red Squares - Others - mostly universities


Forecast Weather

The F-Cloud image is always visible in the top left corner of the browser window. Click it to display the forecast weather. Linked images show data for the next six days. The models are more accurate the nearer the time. Two displays are shown for each forecast. The first is a pressure map. The second interprets Wind speed and Humidity. Wind speed is displayed as Ticks. Each full tick (or barb) represents 10 m/s (22 mph). Humidity is displayed in green. The darker the shading the greater the chance of rain. Clear areas usually indicate clear or high level cloud.

These pages can take some time with slow connections, although once downloaded each image can be immediately shown in full resolution when selected. Click on the image to display it full detail. Displaying an individual image before fully loaded will increase the download speed of that image.


Site Guide

The soaring Paraglider is always visible on the left side of the screen. Click anywhere on the image to access the Country Map. Use the Country Map to select your area of interest. A Local area map will replace the Map. The Local area map requires a Java compatible browser, but is capable of quickly showing the best site in the region to fly. Selecting the site of interest from the Local Map to bring up detailed information. The detail pages include details of the negotiating club and appropriate restrictions. Also included are full descriptions including hazards, parking details, take-off, landing points, Site Map, and specific details are also provided where available.

Country Map

The Country Map is your navigation start point, and displays a map of the UK with county boundaries. The map is divided into various regions. Click on the region of interest to display the Interactive Local Map

Currently the regions are Scotland, Cumbria, North East, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Eire, North Wales, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Midlands, Thames Valley, South Wales, Cornwall, South West, South East, and East Anglia.

Local Map

The local map includes coloured icons with red arrows indicating the wind directions required. The size of the icon is proportional to the soarable length of the hill. The shadow depth is proportional to the quality of the site. The quality is based on the access, XC possibilities and ease of landing. Moving the cursor over the icon will display the site name. Clicking the icon will take you to the Site Detail page (some clubs have requested that data is held on thier own pages so direct links are provided in these cases). The colour indicates the site access type

Green - Open Site
Yellow - Club Site
Orange - Strictly Members Only
Black - Site Closed

For example, indicates a site with slope ranging from north to northwest. The site is a Club site that usually requires being a member, accompanied by a member, or getting permission from a club official (check site details).

The large blue icons display the latest wind direction and speed information. The arrow represents the current wind direction obtained directly from automatic weather stations(AWS). The arrow angle is proportional to the wind speed. The shadow depth gives an indication of the AWS height so that you can make allowances for wind gradient. Moving the cursor over the icon displays the weather station name, wind speed and the data read time. Optional historical data and cloud cover information will also be displayed when available. Click and hold down the mouse button on the wind icon and the site icons displayed will be restricted to those that are most likely to be "on". (See Troubleshooting Guide)
Active Wind Icons are coutesy of NOAA, ENS, and WendyWindblows.
NOAA weather stations origionate from aviation METAR reports.  Optional cloud cover infomation may be displayed (below-left)
ENS weather stations.  Optional net radiation values are displayed (below-left).
The WendyWindblows weather stations network is private funded network for the flying community.  Please subscribe if you find the service useful.  Optional historical information is displayed showing wind speed and direction for the preceeding 30mins (above-left), 60mins (above-center), and 90mins (above-right).  Cloud cover is also displayed. (below-left).  


Site Details (not available on-line - site details are now provided by the NSG or controlling club)

Access (not available on-line)

Details of access restrictions including the name of the negotiating club and a link to their details.

Site Map (not available on-line)

Where available a site map is shown. The map graphically shows parking, take-off, landing locations and hill shape (contours). Check the "other info" text for further details.

Blue "P" - Parking location
Purple "T" - Take-off area
Green "L" - Landing field
Red "O" with "\" - Out-of-bounds

Other Info (not available on-line)

Descriptive details of access routes, take-off points, landing fields, parking areas and site hazards.




Gives details of the of the club address, contacts and web links.

REMEMBER: the local flying clubs negotiates most sites. Some are sites are sensitive and any unauthorised flying could jeapodize the site for all.  Many landowners require clubs to pay for access.


Troubleshooting Guide

1. Cannot get out of the Welcome Page - use the graphical links on the left-hand side of the screen.

2. On the current weather map my local icon link does not work - These are links to external sites and remote automatic weather stations (AWS). It is most likely that the AWS is out-of-order. Always check the date on these links.

3. The forecast weather is always wrong! - don't blame me, blame the weathermen! Although weather forecast are never perfect this is the most accurate I have seen (better than the BBC in most case).

4. Area Map page is blank or displays a Java request message - You must have a Java compatible browser with Java enabled to display these pages.  Some older browsers do not have java capabilities.  It is normally posible to enable / disable java from within browsers.  You may have a Firewall.

5. Area Map displays "no site data" and no site icons are displayed. - your browser is not compatible (I have seen some problems with IE3.0 and a java compatability bug - I recommend minimum IE3.02 / NN4).

6. Area Map displays "no wind data" and no wind icons are displayed - your browser is not compatible. I am still working this one out. It appears its something associated with security and FTP access. See Security error.

7. Area Map displays wind icons but it goes red and gives a "FileNotFound" error - The AWS is probably not on-line. Try again later

8. Area Map displays wind icons but gives "Security" error - Here we go the bind of my life. Java and security .... Arg!. Until browser developers get there act together its getting too complicated for me to address this problem thougherly (and expensive).  I am adding some support as I get time, most are based on test certificates ....
    a)  IE4.x users -  Accept the Microsoft test certificate.   Although the certificate is for full access, I assure you it is only used to read from a remote internet connection.
    b)  Netscape 4.x users - Click here to register my Netscape test certificate.  Then grant permission for the universal connect permissions so I can read from an external internet connection.
    c)  Other users with java compatible browsers -  You're not going to like this but there is a way round it. Download this ZIP file and save the .CLASS files in your JAVA directory ,or I think you can put it in any directory that’s included in your Java CLASSPATH command. You may need to include SET CLASSPATH=C:\WINDOWS\JAVA;%CLASSPATH% in your autoexec.bat file. In general with Windows 95 and IE4 this is in C:\WINDOWS\JAVA.