Flying Area

The area you can fly around, taking off from the local launches, offers both types of XCountry: mountain and flatland flying. The area goes from the town of Cartago in the northern part of the Valley, down to Buga on the south, between the Western and Central mountain ranges and the Cauca river flowing through. 
This gives us a rectangle of approximately 67 x 13 miles (100 x 20 kms) in which there are many possible routes. 
The Cauca Valley lies around 2880 and 2970 ft asl (960 and 990 mts) and it is possible to fly all year round; however, the best conditions are during the dry seasons (end Dec.-mid Feb., June-Sept.) and, the rumor says, they are particularly good when approaching full moon!
Conditions around Roldanillo are those typical of tropical areas: thermals are softer and cloud base somewhat lower than in places like USA, Europe or Australia, tending more to those found in Governador Valadares (Br). 
You can find thermals from 20ft/min up to 970ft/min (0.1m/s - 5m/s) with an average of 580ft/min (3m/s) and they tend to be very “flyer freindly”. Cloudbase lies between 2400 and 5100ft agl (800 y 1.700mts) depending on the day. Being so close to the Equator we do not have the four seasons and days are always around 12hrs long; the best thermal activity  goes from 10.30-11.00am to 15.00-16.00pm.
On take off you will usually find constant (non-gusty) valley wind blowing up at 2-4m/h (3-6km/h) offering very good launching conditions. Around 12.20-1.00pm (on ocasions even later), the Pacific seabreeze blows in (tail wind), which forces us to take off before this happens.
The Cauca Valley is mostly agricultural, therefore it has an incredible amount of landing fields with 2 main roads running N-S on each side of the valley and many altérnate roads, paved and/or unpaved in good conditions, that communicate the fields with those main roads. 
From Monday to Saturday we always count with fumes from the sugar cane mill´s chmineys, factories, burning fields, etc. that constantly tell us the wind direction and help us assess its strenght; on Sundays, rest days, there might not be any fumes soy we just have to be less lazy and appeal to our knowledge and our vario in order to guess the direction! 

Basically, Roldanillo offers very safe and pleasent flying conditions plus a beautiful landscape, lovely weather and friendly people. Cross country flying can be somewhat more technical due to the smooth conditions and the lower cloud base; nevertheless, it is an excellent site to learn, train and improve your XC habilities and techniques. 
During our competitions, tasks between 60-75mi (100-120km) are not unusual!

To get an even better idea, watch Daniel Vélez, one of our best pilots, train in Roldanillo in THIS cool video clip!

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