14. Checking the line of flight prior to liberation
Making an informed decision before liberation is a necessity in this day and age. Current technology allows us to obtain the latest information that is available. In the preceding chapters we have explained the different kinds of weather and what to expect if the birds are liberated. What is listed below is a checklist that can be used as a guide which hopefully will help you make the correct decision. We will show you what we consider are the best weatherlinks which can be found on the Internet. The first step to take is to view the satellite images. By doing this the race controller gets a perfect view of the weather situation at that moment and also what kind of weather he can expect for the rest of the day. If the forecast is showing bad weather moving in later that day an early morning liberation may be possible. Or the opposite may be true, it might be necessary to hold the birds for a later liberation while waiting for bad weather to move out of the area. We would like the fanciers and race controllers to view the satellite images regularly to gain experience about weather movement. This may give the race controllers the advantage of having a good idea as to how long they may have to wait for a system to move through. While this may not be a very scientific method of timing the duration of a system any idea is better than no idea at all. The next step is a closer one for the line of flight, a view on the most important weather radars.
Not so long ago in Holland every race controller had a number of confidants on the line of flight. On racedays early in the morning these confidants were phoned in order to gather as much information on the weather as possible. With the installation of a special institution by the dutch pigeon association N.P.O. this process is being fazed out. Now with all services provided on the internet this kind of personal contact may be lost. However we think this contact should be maintained. Think of a situation when the internet is down or very difficult to enter. This has happened a couple of times when weather that was not forecast caused havoc. The next step for the race controller is to check for the actual weather in the countries/regions on the line of flight: In the meantime the race controller has regular contact with his convoyer on the releasesite and checks with him for the best circumstances to release the pigeons in. This last checklist where the weather on the release site plays the most important role together with the behaviour of the pigeons inside the transporter, will be explained in the following chapter.
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