PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Fatal glider crash caught on surveillance camera
Old 25th May 2017, 12:31
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: LHBS
Posts: 220
I am sorry if this was offending to some of you, but I am sure this will be shown in safety refreshment trainings quite a few times, despite how painful this is to watch.
For clarity, there are no gruesome details of any sort, and it immediately reminded me of the SR22 plane crash near Hobby Airport in Houston.

According to the more detailed media coverage, the pilot was 48 year old male, who flew for 3 years by now. He did all the spring-time check rides, including spin training. He was signed off for solo flight and he flew a couple hours this year solo. On that day, his task was an attempt on the 5-hour mark, but the thermals were broken by some 12 kts wind. He was trying to catch a thermal to lift away from the traffic pattern, without success. The wind also swept him a bit too far from the circuit, but nothing dramatic. At this point witnesses saw him stall and recover. And then stalled again at a lower height, with no height remaining for full recovery.

So how this can happen? No one really knows, everything looks fine according to the procedues and rules.

There was only one noticeable issue outstanding for the pilot. He was very very happy with flying, he told his relatives that his dream came true. He was also very active in club life, spent a lot of volunteering hour on everything.

How does this relate? Is this a bad thing? No, this is not a bad thing at all, but it reminds us that we are all conditioned to take great care of our airplanes, make landings smooth, avoid even the slightest overstress or damages etc. Always, all the time, under all circumstances.

However there is one moment, when you have to re-prioritize. Maybe a technical malfunction, or your own stupid and bad decisions put you into a situation, when you have to put saving your own life above everything else. Which means accepting the you crash and destroy the airplane for sure (which you took very good care up to that point), tons of paperwork, very angry club members, possibly an end of your big dreams and even financial burden to cover the damages.

If you took the strenght to view the crash, you can see that the collision with the tree and the ground was survivable. Hitting of the wall (outside the camera view) was not survivable. And that begs the question, that if the first (recovered) stall put him to a very low altitude, why didn't he recognize the danger and why didn't he prioritize maintaining control and making a controlled crash landing - most likely crashing wings and irreversibly destroying the aircraft, but trying to avoid hitting anything hard with the cockpit.

It's easier said than done, I know. I know, because I would perform poorly in this area too. There is always focus on protecting the airplane. But one must recognize moment, when this is no longer possible, and re-focus on saving lives. If this is not done, you can see what happens: not only the airplane is lost, but life as well. The worst possible outcome, which should NEVER happen, because it was AVOIDABLE.

Last edited by rnzoli; 28th May 2017 at 14:26. Reason: It was towed up, not winched.
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