Despite limited cell towers in the Sahara UV was near enough to one yesterday evening to allow data to be transmitted. Paul has prepared a graphic showing UV’s progress between the afternoon of 5 October and the last fix yesterday. All times are UTC. The green line is his 2014 route.
UV left Portugal on Wednesday morning and apart from one short stop after landfall in Morocco he continued flying non-stop until 16.39 on Thursday when he paused for about 30 minutes.
He then carried on until he reached a wadi and intermittent river, the Saguia el-Hamra.
The image above shows him deviating from paralleling the R101 road and flying along a ridge. He was using available thermals for efficient flying; yesterday he deployed the ‘soar and glide’ technique to even greater effect, especially from around 14.00-16.00. Another of Paul’s graphics.
At the highest point UV was roughly 2300m above the terrain.
The ‘soar and glide’ technique is very energy efficient when winds are light to non-existent.
However less ground is gained, as borne out by UV travelling 219 km after landfall in Morocco at an average speed of 26 kph, not as eyecatching as his 50.4 kph for 989 km of sea crossing!
We haven’t received any data today; it could be a couple of days until the next email if UV is aiming for the Bay of Cintra, his 6 week Western Saharan stopover in 2014, or longer if he continues on an inland route.
The top graphic shows UV is diverging slightly from his course in 2014 and is well to the east of it. In 2014 easterly winds influenced his course at a point south of the area in the top graphic. Without those winds he may have flown on through the desert and past the Bay of Cintra. Paul’s analysis of the weather data indicates stable conditions ahead so if UV does return to Cintra it will be by design.