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Flight Safety

Golden Gate of Good Advice to FLY SAFE.


Photograph - Walt Nielson

I just wanted to pass along this message that is relevant to all pilots

Walt. 

CHGC President.

[Flying Legend and formerly Chief Flying Instructor -  Fort Funston.]

Welcome to summer! and thermal turbulence

From the Accident Review Committee

Your Accident Review Committee hopes your reintroduction to the flying season in spring went great!  Now we are in the heat of it, literally, with long days and lots of solar heating.  This makes it a good time to look more closely at the topic of turbulence in general - and thermal turbulence in particular - with the goal of reducing the risk factors of summer flying that contribute to accidents.

Preface: Causes of a Serious Accident

First, some preface remarks about accidents in general.  In serious accidents, we all want to know the reasons why it happened.  We want to know the root cause(s).  This yearning for an answer partly (or mostly) comes from the fear that it might happen to us.  We need to understand so we can convincingly tell ourselves that we are safe from the fate that occurred to our friends or fellow pilots. While this is a very useful and beneficial desire, it often results in “sound bite” answers to complex scenarios and risks: missing or minimizing the full list of ingredients that went into the recipe that resulted in the accident.

The importance of digging for that full list of ingredients is that in many (if not most!) serious incidents, it was the culmination of several factors that led to an unrecoverable situation for the pilot.  The elimination of perhaps just one factor would have left the pilot with the ability to successfully deal with the situation.  Distractions are great examples of seemingly minor factors that lead to more serious incidents.  Being distracted with operating a camera in flight has led to close calls or midair collisions.  Pilots adjusting their harnesses or zipping up shortly after launch has caused some exciting maneuvers or worse.  Most of the stories we know about pilots launching unhooked or with poorly pre-flighted gliders happened after getting distracted before launch. Take away the ingredient of distraction and the accident either doesn’t happen or the pilot is in a better position to deal with it.

Now there are absolutely solid principles, physics and factors involved that can be crisply articulated as having major contributions to the recipe of an accident: the root causes.  The point here is not to dismiss the primary role of the root causes, but rather to not miss the importance of the other contributing factors that may have had a non-linear, significant impact on either the pilot’s ability to deal with the big problem, or that may have even caused the big problem.

Assessing risks related to thermal turbulence

Visualizing “invisible” turbulence

Now, back to the topic of turbulence.  Let’s motivate this discussion with a quote that many have probably heard:  “If we could see the air we fly in, we wouldn’t.”  The point is that the air we fly in is very actively moving in many different directions and on different scales.  Large scale horizontal flows are mixed in with the smaller scale mechanical and thermal induced flows in all directions.  The analogy of water cascading over rocks in a fast flowing stream helps us visualize the invisible mechanical turbulence of the air we fly in.  We see smooth flows over round rocks in slowly moving water and chaotic tumbling flow behind sharp rock edges in fast flows.  

That visualization helps us understand how we easily soar in the nice ridge lift in front of a mountain ridge and why going behind the ridge in strong winds likely results in total loss of flight control of our wings no matter how good we are.  So never go behind the ridge right!?  Well, if we are flying in moderate winds and the ridge has a smooth round top, we might see pilots top landing back there.

The Answer is “It Depends”

This exception to the “Don’t land behind a ridge top” rule leads to a couple of important facts.  For many, if not most, of the flying situations we face, the answer is “It depends”, along with the more important corollary: “Just because you got away with it, doesn’t mean it was a good idea or low risk.”  For the ridge example, as the wind velocity increases and the sharp edges/obstacles on the ridge are more prominent, the chaotic turbulence that results behind the ridge also increases making controlling our wings in that area more and more difficult.  There is absolutely a region of the velocity/obstacle density spectrum above which our wings become totally uncontrollable (and no one could top land in those conditions); however, where that region occurs is highly dependent on the local factors of the ridge and the wind velocity/direction (so the answer to the question of “Is it safe to land behind that ridge top” is “It depends”).  

Between the no brainer conditions where anyone could top land and the uncontrollable conditions where nobody could, is an insidious slope of increasing difficulty/risk along which more talented pilots can pull off the top landing most of the time.  There are and will continue to be many things you see your fellow pilots do that may or may not be smart ideas depending on the conditions, the pilot’s experience level and wing type, etc.  Having a skeptical, somewhat pessimistic view of the merits of trying some new flying trick will serve you well in your personal risk management.

Thermal Turbulence and Time of Day / Time of Year

The characteristics of ridge lift and mechanical turbulence are also true for thermal turbulence, although it is tougher to “see” the increasing velocity/obstacle turbulence spectrum when it comes to thermals.  That said, as the vertical velocities of the air increase (common during mid-summer, dry, high lapse rate days) and the sharpness of the edges of the thermal increase (common on those punchy, small thermal, high pressure days) we can expect increasing thermal turbulence. This thermal turbulence may be severe enough to lose control of our wings for a moment or for good.  

This leads us to a useful metric for predicting potential thermal turbulence: time of day and time of year.  Early morning and early evening flights are the sweet spots for student training for good reasons.  In the morning the shining sun hasn’t heated things up enough for thermals to begin and in the early evening, the diminishing sunshine moderates the amount of heat energy in the thermals and they tend to be more benign.  As an example of the time of year effect, more experienced pilots can enjoy pleasant, mellow flights in the famous thermal producing Owens Valley in October, as opposed to the rippers in June/July.  When you are evaluating the amount of risk you want to expose yourself to from thermal turbulence, consider the time of day and time of year.

Altitude AGL in Risk Management

Now let’s shift to another strategy for risk management concerning thermal turbulence that has been a factor in several of our most tragic accidents over the years: altitude above ground level (AGL).  As mentioned earlier, turbulence in the invisible air we fly can make our aircraft permanently uncontrollable.  In that case, an emergency parachute may be the best - or only! - option for survival.  In order for an emergency parachute to be useful, however, we need sufficient altitude AGL to provide us the time to look, reach, pull, and throw our chute, followed by successful inflation.  While the answer of how much time/altitude is needed for a successful deployment depends on a variety circumstances, numbers in the 300-500 feet AGL range are reasonable and on the low end of the comfort zone. That said, do not hesitate to throw even if you think you are too low! Some reserves have been successfully deployed in 100 feet or less.

Tools for managing risk

“Safe Operating Envelope” (SOE)

The above discussions on the probability of thermal turbulence and the altitude AGL needed for successful emergency parachute deployment leads us to the useful concept of a “Safe Operating Envelope” (SOE).  Such an SOE can be depicted on a plot with the axes of “Probability of severe turbulence” vs “Altitude AGL” and with shaded areas ranging from red indicating high risk, to yellow for moderate risk, and to green for low risk (see Figure 1).

Safe Operating Envelope
Figure 1: Plot of Risk vs Probability of Turbulence and Altitude AGL

The purpose of the plot is to provide a picture that emphasizes what we already intuitively know: that flying close to the ground in likely situations of severe turbulence is a bad idea!  

The vertical axis (probability of severe turbulence) depicts how likely you might encounter air that would make your wing uncontrollable and require emergency chute deployment.  It starts at the origin with a very high probability of turbulence - equating to flying in situations such as sunny mid-day summer conditions of high pressure and high lapse rate, or flying in areas of known mechanical turbulence such as the lee side of a ridge in high winds.  You’d find a moderate chance of turbulence on days with less solar heating, a moderate lapse rate, etc.  A low chance of turbulence would be found early or late in the day, with light winds, and/or very little solar heating such as in the fall in many locations (the “Time of day, Time of year” idea).  While defining and identifying the probability of severe turbulence is an inexact science, we can find value in a general assessment of high, medium or low probability, which can be made considering the types of circumstances listed above.

The “Altitude AGL” axis of the plot is more straightforward to define, and easy to understand. The plot goes green at the point on the axis where a successful emergency chute deployment is likely.  That point is intended to be defined by pilot comfort, equipment, and training; however, as previously mentioned, it starts at the 300 to 500 foot range for most pilots.

Take Off and Landing

Now the astute in the audience will point out that every time we take off and land on a thermic day - hoping to soar - we are in the “High Risk” red zone on our SOE because we are starting at zero altitude AGL and have a reasonable probability of encountering turbulence.  This is true! That fact should be acknowledged and we should mitigate the associated risks as best we can.  On thermic days we should be hyper vigilant and stack as many mitigating factors on our side as possible during take off and landing.  Choose good cycles to launch in, fly quickly away from launch and gain altitude, don’t fly in known turbulence areas low, etc.  On landing a very useful strategy is to arrive high enough over our LZ that we can drift or climb in any thermals kicking off in the LZ and then land after they have passed.  Also consider that a very reasonable decision is to not fly on those very thermic days or at least not during the peak times of the solar heating.  The mountain will be there tomorrow!

Summary Thoughts

It is the hope of the ARC that this article stimulates further discussion between pilots and at club meetings on how we can mitigate the risks we encounter while flying. There were a lot of topics touched on in this article that deserve further discussion:

  • Distraction as a significant contributor to accident scenarios
  • Just because a pilot got away with it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea
  • Time of Day / Time of Year and thermal turbulence
  • Minimum altitude for effective chute deployment
  • Visualizing / predicting areas of turbulence at your local sites
  • Evaluating the current risk level along the “no brainer” to “nobody could/should do it” spectrum based on current conditions
  • Making the decision not to fly

While acknowledging that many of the ideas above might not be new, reviewing them and saying them a different way is always useful.  As any long time aviator will tell you, there are seldom new causes of accidents, just innovative ways to fall prey to old ones


Spring Flying


A Friendly Reminder from the Accident Review Committee

Dear Member:

We are taking a moment to reach out to you today on the subject of Spring flying and our ultimate goal of helping you to enjoy free flying over the decades. Each year, we all dust off our flying equipment and spread our wings. It’s a joyous time and nothing quite compares to getting back in the air after a hiatus.

Thankfully, we have our instructors and our community to help us to get re-current. Reserve repacks, cautionary posts on social media, and friends helping friends to exercise restraint get juxtaposed against our starry-eyed and sometimes misguided ambition for personal bests.

Of course, free flying is a ruthless judge. The pursuit challenges us to avoid common pitfalls, to exercise restraint and to make sure that our shortcomings don’t define us.Yet there lies the heart of our current challenge. It’s springtime and the usual scenarios are unfolding across the country. Pilots are showing up at their sites, and in many cases flying in conditions that are too strong. Thankfully, other pilots chime in with their opinions about the flyability of the day and caution others to stand down. In most cases, admonished pilots will indeed stand down and thank whoever had seen fit to help them stay out of harm’s way. It’s a beautiful gesture, and it is a cornerstone of our free flying community.

Here’s the crux. In several recent cases, pilots have chosen to fly despite the good advice of their fellow pilots. In several recent and specific cases, the results have been bad, even tragic.

We urge you to please be selective about the air you fly in, revisit the operating limitations for your rating, confer with your local mentors when assessing conditions, and when someone goes out of their way to try and help you avoid making a bad decision, please listen, take heed and stand down. Asking a fellow pilot to stand down is probably the kindest thing that a person can do for another. If you see someone about to make a bad decision, say something.

Thank you in advance for factoring this into your decision-making. We encourage you to share this message and we welcome your feedback on the subject. Realizing that accidents do happen, we still feel that the only acceptable goal is an accident free season. We would like to challenge every member to assess their decisions on a moment to moment basis.

Sincerely,
Chris Santacroce & Mitch Shipley
USHPA Accident Review Committee Co-Chairs

USHPA Accident Review Committee Spring Outreach Reminder

This is an official periodic E-Newsletter of the USHPA. The intent is to provide members with information pertaining to the organization and other aspects of the free flight community.




 



Accident Review Committee
Mid-Air Incidents


Dear Member:

Welcome to the second edition of the USHPA Accident Review Committee Outreach for 2017. Our first outreach was very well-received, with a lot of great feedback. We have a new round of information for you and we hope that you find it to be useful.

Mid-Air Incidents: A Recent Trend

Several mid air incidents have occurred with some unusual and remarkable commonalities.There have been incidents of mid airs when only a few people were flying.There have been some incidents where both parties were actually quite familiar with one another (friends, family, or familiar outside of flying).

We’d like to remind all pilots that it is easy to become complacent when the site is not crowded (or less crowded than usual). It is also worth noting that there is a certain strange attraction between pilots who are friends, or who are learning together.Various situations present an increased risk of mid air contact: husband and wife are flying together, parent and child are both aloft, a student shares the air with their instructor (especially for the first time), or any situation involving cameras.

Avoiding Mid-Air Incidents
In an effort to avoid any of these pitfalls, when you are flying with friends, family, or your instructor/student you might want to make extra effort to stay in separate airspace.We remind pilots to take care when it is not crowded, as well as when it is crowded. There is also an added risk for pilots who are flying with cameras, trying to get that extra special shot. Keeping an eye out for a photo opportunity could be distracting, and looking through a viewfinder can reduce one's overall situational awareness.

Formation flying should be avoided in general.If it is contemplated, then it should theoretically be done by advanced pilots in very favorable conditions with prior communication, planning, and explicit consent by both parties. Pilots should always make sure that all parties can fly away from the formation easily and safely if they become uncomfortable at any point. No other pilots in the air should be in harm’s way as a result of a few pilots wanting to fly close to each other.

Assessing and Mitigating the Risk
Finally, we remind pilots to ask themselves: is the risk of flying with a lot of traffic really worth it? How would you feel if you had a mid air accident at a crowded ridge just trying to win the daily sink-out contest or eke out a few extra minutes of flight time?

Please remember to use common, recommended practices forclear communication, like yelling “clear” or “launching” before taking off. Follow the ridge rules knowing that most ridge flying environments are three-dimensional, and that all pilots need to be flexible with the ridge rules:see and avoid! Be aware of all of the people in the air with you, and alwaysindicate your intention to turnby looking, tilting your head, leaning, etc. to give everyone sufficient warning before executing on your actual turn.Don’t be afraid to yell. Have some words on the tip of your tongue - something like “look out” , “heads up”, “on your right.” It’s worth knowing that as soon as one person yells in traffic, all the people flying at that time will start paying more attention. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s yelling so don’t be afraid to kick your feet or somehow identify yourself as the one who is uncomfortable.

If you need to make a course correction to avoid a traffic conflict, please do it early. Most near miss accounts include at least one party having recognized the situation quite early, but then waiting to take corrective action until it was quite late.

Help Us Help You
As always, we welcome your feedback on these subjects and we encourage you to reportallincidents and accidents. This information is gathered for statistical analysis, and so that we can identify trends that are worth pointing out to the pilot population.The only acceptable goal for this season is zero mid airs.

Sincerely,
Chris Santacroce & Mitch Shipley
USHPA Accident Review Committee Co-Chairs

Night Visual Flight Rules

Wolfi fly .com

FAI - Airspace: Barometric altitude

FAI Hang Gliding & Paragliding Commission (CIVL) Minutes of the Plenary Meeting, Salzburg, Austria 4 and 5 February, 2017 

Altitude measurements concerning airspace.

Section 7A 4.1 

New rule:
"Only flight recording devices that record both GPS and the International Standard Atmosphere pressure altitude (QNE) in the track log are allowed for scoring. It must not be possible to modify the barometric altitude once track log recording has started. Flights will be verified using either GPS track log or live- tracking data. When live-tracking data is used as a primary source of scoring, pilots must be able to produce GPS track logs as a back-up. The FAI has the right to use all data collected in 1st Category events, including track logs, and may publish such data."

Section 7A - 4.4.5 

New rule:
"... Airspace violation checks rely primarily on the barometric altitude as recorded on the flight instrument tracklog (the International Standard Atmosphere pressure altitude QNE) and then when necessary corrected by the scoring software for the pressure conditions of the task (QNH). Pilots may submit a GPS altitude log as a backup log only in case of problems with the primary barometric log."

"Penalties for Airspace restrictions infringements."


Section 7A - 6.3

New rule:

"As an aid to competitors and when reasonably possible with the scoring system, pilots that fly closer than 100m vertically or horizontally to prohibited airspace will be listed in the scores for each task without penalty."


Discussion:

The Steward for the Brasilia worlds will formulate specifics of a 100 metre ‘buffer zone’ with graduated penalty provisions, to be approved by HG committee and Bureau and then included in the local regulations. The plenary accepted that the local regulations supersede Section 7A on this matter.


Compete document reference:   http://www.fai.org/downloads/civl/CIVL_2017_Minutes

Aircraft Maintenance

HGwires

Look after your wings, and they will look after you. 


Aircraft maintenance is due for regular checks. Most well known for all aircraft is the "Aircraft Annual inspection or 100 hours whichever occurs first".

Follow your flying equipment Manufacturers Manual. 

For example: Hang gliders; Moyes Delta Gliders : LiteSpeed RX Owners Manual and Litesport Owners Manual

(Both manuals: pages33 paragraph2, bullet point 6) "Replace lower side wires every 50 hours or 6 months."
Gecko Owners Manual page32 - Replace (flying) side wires every 100hours or 12months.
Check your equipment owners manual.

Moyes is having a special this week [8 Feb 2017] on side wires. If you haven't changed yours in the last year or two it would be a good time to do it. Please feel free to send a text message or email if you would like some.

Contact Jonny Durand.

Members log in for contact info.

For Paragliders check your manufacturers manual. Seek advice from others. Such as contacting your instructor. For example, Phil has skills and equipment for paraglider servicing and testing including para material porosity testing.

 


Flying Sites - updates & Ch-ch-changes

CHGC Flying Sites information, Map with waypoints, and Airspace information are constantly evolving. And ongoing contributions by every pilot continue to be warmly welcome for collective benefit to all. Please check for updates before you fly, so you have the latest current information as recent changes may have occurred that affect you. With safety in mind, flying sites Information is provided to assist your flight preparation knowledge to be as best you can be. With a sense of humor, some say, "As flash as a rat with a gold tooth."

Oxygen Systems - Special

Oxygen MH We are celebrating the World Gliding Championships in Benalla with Special Pricing on OXYGEN SYSTEMS.

10% Discount on Mountain High Oxygen systems. 

This offer is through till the end of the comp on the 22nd January 2017

 

Cheers, Al

 

Go Soaring - Why should the birds have all the fun!


Fly Better

HGcristo

How do you get better at flying and have more fun? The limiting factor is always the pilot.

Once you have earned your wings on a learn to fly course. To advance your skills familiarize yourself staying in constant contact with your sport and instructors. Join the local club. Fellowship of pilots, male and female. Social events and comarderie. Expand your knowledge studying your art and science of free flying. You are always a student. What did I learn from my flight today? Flying, is like going for a motorbike ride. It blows away the dust of life. And your positive attitude influences your whole life and the people around you.

For no matter how many years you progress your flying. Ask yourself. Are you flying the right wing, for you right now? Suitable for your skills, how current since your last flight and what do you hope to be learning goals for this flight at today's location in current weather conditions? GET GOOD ADVICE! Prioritize & Qualify the accuracy of who told you the information.
You can buy performance, but you can not buy results. Often pilots seek more advanced wing with more performance to further their flying ambitions. To fly for longer, higher, further. And race somewhere faster than friends. Anyone can fly a more advanced aircraft, until you can not. The easy bits are easy, anyone can do it. It's the challenging stuff that requires experience to draw upon and skills developed. To identify the situation for your intent, and respond the correct amount at the right time. And new equipment may respond in unfamiliar ways or require skills not apparent to the person upgrading to higher performance equipment. 


On familiar flying equipment you are best to firstly exhaust every lesson and perfect your skills in a full range of conditions before advancing to a more stressful, difficult handling, higher performance wing that is more unforgiving, and requires you to fly more often to really fly properly. Using pilot rating as a guide, skip any stage, of flying experience on that rating of equipment to develop pilot skills, at your peril. Pilots disadvantage themselves when skipping a step and inevitablly tripping over as somethings are overlooked and always encounter problems. Do not pass go, go straight to repair or replacement of damage parts by Manufacturer, or Medical.

To give yourself the best opportunity to develop your pilot skills, live in the moment with the Goldielocks approach of what's just right equipment for you right now and best serve you for your flying progress and goals for today's flight. Advanced pilots often fly beginner type wings at the beach for easy fun times. Intermediate gliders can land in more places than faster advanced wings needing bigger space to glide into landing. Advanced sports wings, that trade little racing performance for forgiving handling are worthy of flying experience rather than early upgrade for the latest and greatest unforgiving rocket ship. Never underestimate the power of good experiences. Amateurs practice to get it right, Professionals practice to never get it wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect. 

Get some coaching. Doctors cost more than Hang Gliding / Paragliding Instructors. And with events where pilots have written off their equipement but no injuries. Just big financial ouch! Your personal treasury department will have some explaining to do to your personal secretarial minister for war and finance in kangaroo court. With no injuries you may believe it comes down to luck. You make your own luck. It is really pilot skills and experience given the opportunity to be put to good use that saves you. "Further your skills " 'cause crashin' ain't cheap". In hindsight,  some coaching is cheaper than a new wing. For professional instruction on progressing your flying skills, contact Local Instructors  for coaching to fly better, attend XC coaching clinics and stay safe. 

To Fly better, FLY MORE! Study, study, study. Have fun!


Flying High above 10,000ft - Oxygen Pilot Endorsement

For all pilots wanting to stay legal (and lucid) above 10,000 feet Mean Sea Level Pressure altitude, Phil Hystek ParaGliding Queensland is running a HGFA Oxygen endorsement in Canungra on 15th of Decemeber at 6:30pm. If you are interested get in touch with Phil.

Course Details:
Prerequisite: HGFA Ops Manager advises - PG4 or HG Intermediate Pilot Certificate (Application Form requirements to be amended)
Location:  Clubhouse 
Time :   18:30 - 21:30
Cost:  $45  

Course will include both theory and practical components of the HGFA Oxygen Endorsement Syllabus. Course will include the Theory exam. Passing the theory exam and practical component of the course will result in the issue of a HGFA Oxygen Endorsement. 

If you are interested in going big this summer, being oxygenated while being high in flight levelsEmail Phil 

Reference HGFA Oxygen Endorsement Application Form 

Please note that for airspace Flight Levels requiring oxygen, you are required to have Radio endorsement HGFA VHF Radio Endorsement Application Form 

Recommended reading  HGFA Oxygen Endorsement Manual 2016 PDF [email Phil for update version: December 2016 edition]

Results: Good roll up for the O2 endorsement. For those not able to attend, we'll run another next March 2017

For aviation oxygen equipment for Gliding, Hang Gliding and Paragliding, and expert advice contact Go Soaring .com.au

HGFA Ops Manual - update

Hang Gliding Federation of Australia   go to: Forms and Docs for current HGFA Operations Manual Complete PDF

N.B. Cross Country operational requirements.

 

HGFA airflow topography - video

Beechmont - How to fly- free talk

A talk for newbies on how to soar and thermal Beechmont. This talk is intended for pilots very new to the sport and want to progress from sleddies and start clocking up some hours in the air. Dave Gibbs should also be available for free tandem instructional paragliding flights during the day. Time and place will be 8,30 am Sunday 27th. at Beechmont launch, weather pending, which is looking ok at the moment.

Safety & Free Safety Workshop

Radio UHF

The CHGC committee wishes to remind pilots of their responsibilities, as well as outlining new requirements for Supervising and Supervised pilots.   


1/.  All pilots flying CHGC sites must have a working UHF radio, which should be checked for functionality on the appropriate club operating frequency before launch.  Those standard frequencies are: 
Paragliding     UHF Ch 18    CTCSS 97.4

Hang Gliding  UHF Ch 19    CTCSS 97.4

2/. On arrival at the site, and prior to setting up their aircraft, all PG-2 and HG Supervised pilots must make contact with their “supervising” pilot for a site/conditions briefing.   

3/. All supervised pilots must be able to communicate via radio at any time with their supervising pilot.

4/. Supervising pilots must make regular contact with their supervised pilots via radio.  If radio contact is lost (no response from the supervised pilot) the supervising pilot must attempt verbal comms with the supervised pilot (air to air vocal commands) and direct the pilot to land. 

5/. If any supervised pilot is involved in an incident/ accident, their supervising pilot is required to make a brief written report (email or text) to the a CHGC SSO within 12hrs of the incident/accident. 

6/. if any supervising pilot becomes unsure of the location of their supervised pilot they must immediately notify a CHGC SSO.  


http://chgc.asn.au/Safety-Compliance/Report-an-Incident

Please note that the requirement for the Supervising pilot to send a brief email or txt message to a CHGC SSO following any incident/ accident involving their Supervised pilot,  does not negate the HGFA requirement for the pilot involved in the incident to complete a AIRS accident report within 72hrs 


Contacts for CHGC SSO’s are:
HG.   Ken Hill
PG.   Phil Hystek
PG.  Brandon O’Donnell

CHGC  Contact details

 

 

Safe flying workshop

What:  Safe flying workshop

Where: Beechmont Launch/BBQ area

When:  Sunday 20th November  (This Sunday)

Time: 08:30 sharp.

Cost: FREE

 

Details:

Brandon, Senior Safety Officer - PG, will be running a workshop aimed providing Novice and Intermediate Pilots with information on how to safely fly Beechmont and some indicators/ ramifications which can change the dynamics of this site with changing conditions.

 

Safe Flying.

 

 

Beach flying, Flying Tours and events at other locations

Seasonal weather and winds favour a big day out, trip to the beach and a flying holiday at other flying sites as well as flying locally. Go on, you need a holiday. Because your worth it. What's it all about? Enjoy a Video  Sunshine Coast flying sites tour . 

Contact Local Instructors to fly safe. And for further information on upcoming Instructor's organised tours locally and internationally.

Flying sites within a few hours drive or few hundred kilometres, there are other Hang Gliding and Paragilding Clubs and flying sites many like to visit for a day or weekend. The safest way to experience flying new sites is when instructors organise tours. There are upcoming tours and flying events. Contact local instructors for further details. And be mindful it's weather dependant to be safe to fly.

On the coast line, beach flying to the north include: Rainbow Beach and Sunshine Coast - local weather

And beach flying to the south include: Byron Bay and Lennox - local weather

 

Inland flying sites within a few hundred kilometres to the west include: Killarney Use weather services to research weather conditions.

 

Hang Gliding competitions and events coming up include: Forbes Flatlands and Dalby Big Air

And many Paragliding and Hang Gliding events at: Fly Manilla

Contact local instructors for coaching to advance your skills and local flying training. And Tandem flights, the perfect gift.

Wingsurfers, Fort Funston

Mid Air Accidents

Thought this could be relevant!

Walt. June 2017

CHGC President

Mid air incidents: a recent trend

Welcome to the second edition of the USHPA Accident Review Committee Outreach for 2017. Our first outreach was very well-received, with a lot of great feedback. We have a new round of information for you and we hope that you find it to be useful.

Several mid air incidents have occurred with some unusual and remarkable commonalities. There have been incidents of mid airs when only a few people were flying. There have been some incidents where both parties were actually quite familiar with one another (friends, family, or familiar outside of flying).

We’d like to remind all pilots that it is easy to become complacent when the site is not crowded (or less crowded than usual). It is also worth noting that there is a certain strange attraction between pilots who are friends, or who are learning together. Various situations present an increased risk of mid air contact: husband and wife are flying together, parent and child are both aloft, a student shares the air with their instructor (especially for the first time), or any situation involving cameras. 

Avoiding mid air incidents

In an effort to avoid any of these pitfalls, when you are flying with friends, family, or your instructor/student you might want to make extra effort to stay in separate airspace. We remind pilots to take care when it is not crowded, as well as when it is crowded. There is also an added risk for pilots who are flying with cameras, trying to get that extra special shot. Keeping an eye out for a photo opportunity could be distracting, and looking through a viewfinder can reduce one's overall situational awareness.

Formation flying should be avoided in general. If it is contemplated, then it should theoretically be done by advanced pilots in very favorable conditions with prior communication, planning, and explicit consent by both parties. Pilots should always make sure that all parties can fly away from the formation easily and safely if they become uncomfortable at any point. No other pilots in the air should be in harm’s way as a result of a few pilots wanting to fly close to each other. 

Assessing and mitigating the risk

Finally, we remind pilots to ask themselves: is the risk of flying with a lot of traffic really worth it? How would you feel if you had a mid air accident at a crowded ridge just trying to win the daily sink-out contest or eke out a few extra minutes of flight time?

Please remember to use common, recommended practices for clear communication, like yelling “clear” or “launching” before taking off. Follow the ridge rules knowing that most ridge flying environments are three-dimensional, and that all pilots need to be flexible with the ridge rules: see and avoid! Be aware of all of the people in the air with you, and always indicate your intention to turn by looking, tilting your head, leaning, etc. to give everyone sufficient warning before executing on your actual turn.

Don’t be afraid to yell. Have some words on the tip of your tongue - something like “look out” , “heads up”, “on your right.” It’s worth knowing that as soon as one person yells in traffic, all the people flying at that time will start paying more attention. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s yelling so don’t be afraid to kick your feet or somehow identify yourself as the one who is uncomfortable.

If you need to make a course correction to avoid a traffic conflict, please do it early. Most near miss accounts include at least one party having recognized the situation quite early, but then waiting to take corrective action until it was quite late.

Help us help you

As always, we welcome your feedback on these subjects and we encourage you to report all incidents and accidents. This information is gathered for statistical analysis, and so that we can identify trends that are worth pointing out to the pilot population.

The only acceptable goal for this season is zero mid airs.

Sincerely,

Chris Santacroce & Mitch Shipley
USHPA Accident Review Committee Co-Chairs

How long since your last flight?

We are taking a moment to reach out to you today on the subject of Spring flying and our ultimate goal of helping you to enjoy free flying over the decades. Each year, we all dust off our flying equipment and spread our wings. It’s a joyous time and nothing quite compares to getting back in the air after a hiatus. 

Thankfully, we have our instructors and our community to help us to get re-current. Reserve repacks, cautionary posts on social media, and friends helping friends to exercise restraint get juxtaposed against our starry-eyed and sometimes misguided ambition for personal bests. 

Of course, free flying is a ruthless judge. The pursuit challenges us to avoid common pitfalls, to exercise restraint and to make sure that our shortcomings don’t define us. Yet there lies the heart of our current challenge. It’s springtime and the usual scenarios are unfolding across the country. Pilots are showing up at their sites, and in many cases flying in conditions that are too strong. Thankfully, other pilots chime in with their opinions about the flyability of the day and caution others to stand down. In most cases, admonished pilots will indeed stand down and thank whoever had seen fit to help them stay out of harm’s way. It’s a beautiful gesture, and it is a cornerstone of our free flying community. 

Here’s the crux. In several recent cases, pilots have chosen to fly despite the good advice of their fellow pilots. In several recent and specific cases, the results have been bad, even tragic. 

We urge you to please be selective about the air you fly in, revisit the operating limitations for your rating, confer with your local mentors when assessing conditions, and when someone goes out of their way to try and help you avoid making a bad decision, please listen, take heed and stand down. Asking a fellow pilot to stand down is probably the kindest thing that a person can do for another. If you see someone about to make a bad decision, say something. 

Thank you in advance for factoring this into your decision-making. We encourage you to share this message and we welcome your feedback on the subject. Realizing that accidents do happen, we still feel that the only acceptable goal is an accident free season. We would like to challenge every member to assess their decisions on a moment to moment basis. 

Sincerely,

Chris Santacroce & Mitch Shipley
USHPA Accident Review Committee Co-Chairs