Paul Scorer obituary

Other lives: Creator of a pioneering weather-forecasting site for glider pilots

My friend and fellow glider pilot Paul Scorer, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 72, was a scientist and innovator who created the hugely successful weather-forecasting site for glider, paraglider and hang-glider pilots, UK Rasp (regional atmospheric soaring prediction).

He was also a senior lecturer in computing at Leeds Metropolitan University (formerly Leeds Polytechnic, now Leeds Beckett University), an active trade unionist, a special needs governor of the local primary school and the university liaison lecturer for future RAF pilots.

Rasp data was originally pioneered by Jack Glendening in the US in the early 2000s, but Paul, combining his interests in meteorology, technology and gliding, worked with that data, integrating it with Google Maps and adding more information to create a user interface that made a complex set of data accessible to all.

The free-to-use system gives details on thermals, temperature, windspeed, cloud cover, rain and much more, to allow soaring pilots to understand their flying conditions across the UK.

The site is used daily, from novices for a basic understanding of soaring conditions, through to the world gliding championships.

Born in Lincoln, to Anne (nee Humphrey), who set up and ran the first Citizens Advice Bureau in the city, and Sam Scorer, an architect, Paul went to Repton school, Derbyshire, then studied physics at Nottingham University.

He graduated in 1969, then moved to London to work for the Rank Organisation. In 1975 he took up a research post at Leeds Polytechnic, looking into the technical aspect of television. Following his research, he continued his academic career there, lecturing first in electronic engineering, then computing.

His first gliding flight was in 1985, and with his scientific background he soon developed a detailed interest in meteorology. He began work on UK Rasp in 2004 at what had become Leeds Metropolitan, which initially provided the main server for the site, alongside his lecturing, and continued to maintain and further develop the site after his retirement in 2011.

Paul also had a natural flair for photography and exhibited his emotive black-and-white street images through the North Lights photography group.

An independent thinker, Paul was nonjudgmental, kind, honest and unfailingly loyal and liked and respected by all. He deeply believed in equality, championing women in his workplace and in his gliding club. His last glider flight was in May.

He is survived by his wife, Krystyna (nee Stucka), an educational psychologist, whom he married in 1977, and their daughter, Maya.

Andy Carden

The GuardianTramp

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