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Glider from Devon ditches, pilot swims to safety

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Glider from Devon ditches, pilot swims to safety

Old 30th Apr 2013, 21:18
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Glider from Devon ditches, pilot swims to safety

According to the grapevine, this happened over the weekend? The pilot couldn't call for help because his mobile phone is undersea with the glider. Does anybody have more information?
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Old 1st May 2013, 21:36
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In Finland at times a lake is the land out area of choice rather than the pine forest and gliders tend to float, something does not sound quite right about that story
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Old 2nd May 2013, 00:02
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Not the same thing but....!

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Old 2nd May 2013, 05:29
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http://hmcoastguard.********.com/

Edited to add a Tiny URL http://tinyurl.com/c9kytk4 because PPRuNe hates 'I have a low IQ and haven't figured this out yet' efato (and F a c e b o o k and L a n d r o v e r s). Why is that?

And they also break their own rules by insulting me. Childish behaviour.

For 'I have a low IQ and haven't figured this out yet' please read 'B*l*o*g*s*p*o*t'


26 April

At 5pm Swansea Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre were called by a glider pilot reporting that he had ditched his 15 meter glider 1 nautical mile west of Porlock, Somerset.

The glider pilot was uninjured and managed to swim 15 meters to shore. His fibreglass glider has sunk and vessels in the area are being advised to be aware of any possible drifting debris.

Minehead Coastguard Rescue Team went to the scene to offer assistance to the pilot.

The pilot reported that his tail hit the water first and he flipped over and went in to the water upside down. He allowed the cabin to fill with water before he hit the release button. This allowed him to float to the surface. The pilot had a lifejacket.
Interesting that he was wearing a lifejacket. A safety precaution when ridge-soaring the cliffs perhaps?

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Old 2nd May 2013, 07:21
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Grapevine works again! I think it unlikely he was wearing a lifejacket....this sounds like the answer you give the form fillers....his lifejacket was probably a parachute. That would be normal in a glider.

The big difference between the floatability of the wooden glider in the video and the performance of a fibreglass glider is interesting. This chap's glider may have flipped because of rough water. I sure as heck wouldn't be able to get out of a glider upside down in the water, this is one very very cool pilot, that's for sure.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 08:13
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I am pleased that this glider pilot survived to tell the tale.

Any ditching is not nice, and when you suddenly become a 2900 lb glider
with a 900 FPM descent, the picture becomes even more distressing.


What are the drills in a glider for ditching ? I should imagine that the canopy should be released before touchdown ? I may be wrong.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 11:49
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It is easy to see how they can get it wrong if you watch this video.....well worth watching, a great flight this trip to the sea side.

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Old 2nd May 2013, 13:42
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What are the drills in a glider for ditching?
One type I fly, a LS4-b, says that on a test-ditching (!) that was made with the gear retracted the sailplane was completely submerged on landing. The procedure therefore is lined out as:
  • Extend gear
  • Open parachute straps
  • Land at minimum speed Protect face against the possibility of the canopy breaking using left arm
  • After landing undo belts
  • If canopy still intact leave airplane under water. This may only be possible after the front fuselage has fully filled up.
This is a straight translation from the german POH.

I find this quite sketchy about how to actually leave the thing but very detailled on which arm to use to cover your face. Other types I fly are very similar, though not using even so many words as this one. They all stress the extended gear, however.

An older LS-4 does not mention ditching in the POH at all. Maybe that was written preceding the test mentioned in the other book. I am not certain from the wording that that was a deliberate test at all, maybe just an accident to learn from.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 14:25
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They all stress the extended gear, however.
Strange as that is exactly what causes problems with amphibians. There are numerous videos on U tube of them landing in water with the gear down and they all turn turtle.

•Open parachute straps
What do you think this means?
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Old 2nd May 2013, 15:29
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What do you think this means?
Normally you strap the parachute to your body, then you strap yourself in the aircraft. Egress after a normal landing is the reverse - you undo the seat belts, step out of the aircraft and only then undo the parachute. This procedure is obviously trained this way so that if you're ever in a hurry to leave the aircraft (after a midair collision causing structural damage, say), you *only* undo the seat belts, so you leave the aircraft together with the parachute. Ingrained habit, that sort of thing.

In a ditching scenario however, the parachute becomes a liability instead of an asset. After all, it's a bag filled with a load of fabric, and will retain a significant amount of water once it's been immersed. So it's better to leave it in the airplane. So you have to undo the parachute straps before exiting. And since you will be in a hurry to exit once you're in the water, it's best to undo the straps before you ditch, not after.

That's the theory behind it, I think. Whether practically speaking this is going to work remains to be seen. My gut feeling tells me the seat belts will get in the way of undoing the parachute straps.

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Old 2nd May 2013, 19:05
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when you suddenly become a 2900 lb glider
with a 900 FPM descent, the picture becomes even more distressing.
jetblu,

Are you speaking from personal experience? We need to know the details.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 19:45
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You usually have no immediate hurry to leave the glider. It floats quite well and something very visible that can keep you half dry is not something you should leave if you have not a much better plan.

Of course very much depends on the water temperature, availability of rescue, distance from the shore... etc....

One of my best friends ditched in the lake of Como, he chose to ditch in front of a camping and he was towed to the shore by a boat without even leaving the aircraft

(and with a girl hugged to the glider's tail who swam for the rescue... but that's another story)
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Old 2nd May 2013, 20:50
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It really is good to see that user name back on PPRuNe, all the best Jetblu.

Eventful life you have.

BB
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Old 2nd May 2013, 22:03
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Events that I could have done without BB.

Thanks.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 07:05
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Good to see you back Jetblu
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Old 3rd May 2013, 10:20
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UV, the reason for U/C extension when ditching a glider is to prevent it submarining. A clean fuselage generates downward lift, pulling the glider under. The U/C acts as a spoiler, killing the downward lift.

Apparently drawn from experience, particularly in Finland etc. where ditching in lakes is more common than in the UK.

Chris N

Last edited by chrisN; 3rd May 2013 at 10:21.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 12:06
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JetBlu

Great to see you back after your terrible ordeal! Are you back or going to be back flying??

Pace
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Old 8th May 2013, 17:13
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MINEHEAD TODAY | NEWS | Glider pilot swims to safety after crash | 2013
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Old 8th May 2013, 19:20
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In the news photo cited above, the remarkably prescient decor is visible, namely, the glider is painted to look like a shark....

Could have given a scuba diver quite a turn, coming up against a shark with a 15 meter wingspan....

Last edited by mary meagher; 8th May 2013 at 19:24.
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