View Full Version : Wycombe Air Park..Sun 20 Jun...Glider Tug, Glider and Light Single piston near-miss?


Hueymeister
22nd Jun 2010, 08:00
Driving down the M40 toward London on Sunday, looked toward a glider tug and glider, just launching on the easterly runway, saw a light single (PA28?) converging on similar headings on take -off, they nearly hit, glider broke up and left, PA28 dove and turned underneath.:eek:..nearly crashed gawping at it...any news?:sad:



MIKECR
22nd Jun 2010, 08:49
glider "broke up" or glider released??

oversteer
22nd Jun 2010, 09:09
BAFC operate PA28s, so presumably an instructional flight. Powered and Gliding takeoffs are done concurrently on parallel runways.

Did the glider actually come off tow? Or just reposition itself? IIRC on an easterly takeoff the glider and tug turn E/SE immediately crossing the motorway, so for an aircraft to go UNDER the tug/glider combo (which will hardly be climbing fast) something strange must be going on

A glider coming off tow there would not be fun for the glider pilot either!

LowNSlow
22nd Jun 2010, 11:53
MIKECR I think oversteer means "broke up and left" as in "broke away from current flight direction upwards and to the left".

I was bimbling around that area later on in the afternoon and there were quite a few of our unpowered brethren about.

asyncio
22nd Jun 2010, 12:04
What time did you see it? As they were using runway 35 when I was there on Sunday afternoon. (The wind didn't change much so I guess they were using that one all day?)

So powered traffic would be turning right, and gliders left anyway. Perhaps it was just a cable break and it looked worse than it was from the angle you saw it?

gpn01
22nd Jun 2010, 12:23
Driving down the M40 toward London on Sunday, looked toward a glider tug and glider, just launching on the easterly runway, saw a light single (PA28?) converging on similar headings on take -off, they nearly hit, glider broke up and left, PA28 dove and turned underneath.:eek:..nearly crashed gawping at it...any news?:sad:

I was at the airfield on Sunday and didn't see or hear about anything unusual happening. The Northerly wind meant that Runway 35 (grass) was in operation for the power traffic with gliders launching and landing parallel, as is the normal modus operandi. Occasional power traffic that required the use of the hard runway (24/06) was accomodated by Air Traffic who liaised with the gliding operation on each occasion. Again, something that's not uncommon and is very well handled by both sides.

In simple terms, the normal procedure when gliding and power traffic are both operating is for the airfield to effectively split into two, with gliders staying on one side and power on the other. So, in the case when 35 is in use, glider and tug combination take off and once at a safe height, turn left, whilst power traffic takes off and continues either straight ahead or turn right (both tug and power traffic being subject to noise abatement procedures). If the glider/tug combi was on the initial climbout then there's likely to be some low level turbulence which might make the tug or glider appear to the uninitiated to 'dive'. I suppose it's possible that the PA28 was doing some sort of EFATO exercise that would cause it to appear to 'dive' too. It's exceedingly unlikely however that either traffic would cross above or below each others path unless there was a comfortable vertical margin.

In summary, for those who aren't used to seeing parallel takeoffs and landings it may well appear that the traffic is converging - an effect probably excacerbated when you should be looking the road ahead instead of staring skywards! Next time pop into the airfield and come and watch (even better, pop into the gliding clubhouse, say hello and book yourself a flight to experience it at first hand) :-)

cats_five
22nd Jun 2010, 12:33
<snip>
Perhaps it was just a cable break and it looked worse than it was from the angle you saw it?

A aerotow cable break is very unusual. There are no practise breaks unlike with winch launch, and it is very rare that the aerotow rope or weak link breaks. But I agree the angle of view might have made it look like something was happening that didn't really happen.

I wonder what height the OP thought the aircraft in question were at?

gpn01
22nd Jun 2010, 12:50
A aerotow cable break is very unusual. There are no practise breaks unlike with winch launch, and it is very rare that the aerotow rope or weak link breaks. But I agree the angle of view might have made it look like something was happening that didn't really happen.

I wonder what height the OP thought the aircraft in question were at?

Actually Cats_five, we do practice aerotow launch failures as rope and and weak links can and do break, tugs can have engine failures, etc and so we like to make sure our students are prepared for such eventualities!.

Mark1234
22nd Jun 2010, 14:36
And if your instructor is particularly evil, they time the 'break' with a moment when the rope isn't exactly tight, so you don't hear it go, and don't feel it go... I seem to recall a certain feeling of 'er, something's not quite right..' then a little denial, followed by the brain kicking in and a swift attitude adjustment!

oversteer
22nd Jun 2010, 14:57
..that's when you say to your instructor "I'm not turning back, I'm landing in that field STRAIGHT AHEAD", put the speed on and see how long you have control for ;)


(.. if you are recent solo, don't plan on any solo flights for a while if you do that!)

cats_five
22nd Jun 2010, 16:39
OK, we don't do them even though we have plenty of excellent alternative field choices. But I do like the idea if the instructor does that to one rather low of choosing the field ahead...

PS we had a glider in an adjacent field when P2 dithered slightly with a very awkward height simulated break from a winch launch.

gpn01
22nd Jun 2010, 21:31
OK, we don't do them even though we have plenty of excellent alternative field choices. But I do like the idea if the instructor does that to one rather low of choosing the field ahead...

PS we had a glider in an adjacent field when P2 dithered slightly with a very awkward height simulated break from a winch launch.

Don't have a problem with the student choosing a field ahead as long as it's a good choice compared to the option of turning back to the airfield. Always a difficult trade between "get home-itis" and landing in a field which you may not necessarily know what state it's in.

From an instructor's perspective, when doing a simulated launch failure (winch or aerotow), is checking that: (a) the student has recognised what's happened (as posted elsewhere, sometimes pilots go into denial mode!); (b) that they make a decision; (c) that they take the time to review if the decision is a good one; (d) that they get on with it. Main challenge is engineering a simulated failure that provides the student with the opportunity to go through the (a) - (d) cycle whilst still giving the instructor time to take control if needed in order to ensure that the flight is conducted safely (ideally including sufficient time to turn it into a learning exercise if possible, but the critical thing is to keep it within the instructor's capability/comfort zone).

Hueymeister
23rd Jun 2010, 14:06
Sorry for any confusion...been involved with aviation for almost 30 yrs now, so am not just an interested onlooker. Poor choice of words to say 'broke up and left', just a bit of military parlance creeping in. Was simply interested to see what had happened...