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Q: What is soarcast.com?
A: Soarcast.com is a quick way to get weather forecast information for hang gliding flying sites at a glance.

Q: Where do you get your information from and how often is it updated?
A: Soarcast gets it weather data directly from the national weather service (http://www.nws.noaa.gov) using its "experimental" XML data service. Site information is currently updated hourly at the 53 minute mark.

Q: How does soarcast.com work? How does it figure out what's flyable and what's not?
A: That's where you come in! I have a databse of sites (albeit small right now), with GPS coordinates, ranges for windspeeds and ranges for wind directions both with ideal conditions. Soarcast.com queries the national weather service for this information, and based on what is reported for a given timeframe, compares the forcasted values against what it knows about the site. The result, that simple "light" based interface to show you what's up with flying sites!

The most important thing to remember: green is good, yellow is marginal, red is bad!

Q: Who wrote and maintains soarcast.com?
A: Soarcast.com is written and maintained by me! Seriously tho, my name is Mike Wilson, and I am a hangglider pilot/IT professional. Use the contact us link to send me mail if you like.

Q: Hey, I got out to xyz flying site and soarcast.com said it would be (good/marginal/bad) and it wasn't. What gives?
A: First off, read the the disclaimer at the VERY bottom of the page... secondly, the condition judgements are also based on the information I have as far as windspeed and directions are flyable versus best case. I'm always working to improve the logic, so any suggestions you have, feel free to shoot them my way.

Q: How come I don't see my favorite flying site on soarcast.com?
A: I'm working on a web-based form to allow people to submit flying sites. For now, just send me an email with the following information: Sitename, launch name, GPS coordinates in degrees latitude/longitude, best windspeed range (in mph), marginal winspeed range, range in compass degrees of best wind directions, and again for flyable wind directions. Here's an example.

Q: What types of features will soarcast.com have?
A: The list of possible features for soarcast.com are endless. At first, it will be mostly things that will make it easier for you to view/browse data. Later on, I plan on letting people personalize it with their own preferences for favorite sites, your pilot rating, your "optimist index", etc. Eventually, I plan on letting people sign up for email notifications so soarcast will alert you when your favorite site(s) is/are ideal for flying.

Q: What is the optimist index?
A: The optimist index controls how optimistic soarcast is about conditions throughout the day. Basically it decides how many "bad" reports to discard before dropping the status light for a site to a less than "green" level. This logic is very much under development, and will improve greatly over time.

Q: Is soarcast.com affiliated with the soarcast glider plane application?
A: The short answer: No... I just got a nifty, easy to remember domain name. :)

Q: What type of glider do you fly?
A: I now fly a Wills Wing Sport 2 155.

Q: I have a question/comment/suggestion that's not answered here. Where do i send it?
A: There's a magic little link to the left labled 'Contact Us'... give it a click!

Q: How come xyz feature hasn't been implemented yet? Why haven't you added my favorite flying site yet!?
A: Currently, I have a full time job. Between that and flying, I only have a few hours a week to work on Soarcast. Add that to the fact that I've never written anything like this before (read: learning curve), and development isn't as fast as I'd like it to be. I'm trying here! :)

Q: I've found a bug on your site and I'd like to let you know!
A: Please use the Contact Us link to send me an email about it. Please include as much information as possible including error messages, behaviors, etc. I don't have anything nifty set up yet for tracking bugs, so for now this is it!

Want your favorite flying site added to soarcast? Use the contact us link.
See the faq for what information I need to add a site.


  Best conditions      Marginal conditions      Non-flyable

The fine print: (c) 2006 soarcast.com. Soarcast makes no warranty to the accuracy of stated conditions.
Weather data gathered from the National Weather Service (noaa.gov). Accuracy of soarcast is at the mercy
of noaa.gov, so don't be mad at me if you show up somewhere to fly and it's no good! :)
Also, pliots need to use judgement when deciding whether or not to fly. Always stay within
your capabilities, and within USHGA guidelines for your rating and experience level.

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