General information - Contest Area
Stendal is located in the Altmark region, about 10km west of the Elbe river in the northern half of Germany. This part of the country is mainly flat with maximum elevation figures of up to 200m MSL. It contains large part of sandy soil, stretching from Poland across the Altmark up to Hamburg. This provides excellent thermals.
In the west, the competitors may expect flights up to the hilly regions of the Weserbergland and the Harz (up to 1150m in height), southwest of Hannover.
Flights to the north stretch across the Lüneburger Heide and the Mecklenburg lake land. Containing many smaller lakes as well as sandy soil, this area is well known for excellent thermals.
In the northern direction, the contest area is limited by the Baltic sea and the airspace of Hamburg international airport.
Towards the east, circumventing Berlin airspace, tasks may be set up into the Polish airspace which gives access to excellent thermals provided by sandy soil and large coniferous forests.
The Altmark-region is located between areas that are mainly influenced by atlantic-maritime and continental climatic conditions. Compared to the more western areas of the Lüneburger Heide (south of Hamburg), the Altmark shows significantly less amount of precipitation and on average up to 30% more summer-days with a maximum temperature for >25°C. The reason for the reduced amount of precipitation is the covering effect of the southern mountain ranges of Harz and Thuringian Forest.
From a gliding perspective, the Altmark region provides favourable meteorological conditions in both, maritime or continental influences. Troughs crossing the area towards the east leave cool unstable air that comes along with long soaring days, thermals starting around 9:00 local time with 600m cloud base, rising to 1800m in the afternoon. In such conditions, flights of >10h duration and >1000km in length already started in Stendal.
During the summer, high pressure areas over central Europe regularly move dry and warm air into the contest area. Such conditions usually start with good Cu-Thermals in the first days and blue thermals up to 1300m in the days thereafter. Common cloud bases are around 1300-2000m AGL. In case of high temperatures and marginal lability, cloud bases >2500m AGL can be expected (e.g. during 2010s contest). While these conditions do not allow long flights, they are commonly quite stable and ensure several contest days in a row.
Some competitors may have experiences from the WGC2008 in Lüsse, about 70km SE of Stendal. The meteorological conditions between Stendal and Lüsse are largely comparable. At Lüsse, thermals usually start up to an hour earlier because it is not influenced by the humidity of the Elbe river as Stendal is. The Fläming range also offers higher thermal altitudes in blue conditions. But this is compensated for by a more flexible airspace situation in Stendal since tasks may be set in basically all directions.