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Pilot forgets to strap passenger into hanglider

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Pilot forgets to strap passenger into hanglider

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Old 30th Nov 2018, 02:34
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sprogget View Post
Carabiner failure is so rare no one designs for it. Those guys were unlucky, The Hang glider pilot was negligent .
As a climber, I would always use 2 screw-gate carabiners positioned so that their gates are on opposite sides for critical attachments. Also, if you have a backup attachment, you always arrange them so that if one fails the load is smoothly and 'fairly' transferred to the backup - ie avoid slack which creates massive snatch loads and ensure that the load will come down the length of the crab and not sideways.

Last edited by double_barrel; 30th Nov 2018 at 03:21.
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Old 30th Nov 2018, 07:45
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In the case of the paraglider pilot, the glider is suspended from the spreader bars - the coat-hanger style webbing that separates the pilot & passenger. If you look at those, they're not designed to take two carabiners because failure of the connection is just not a factor even though we saw it there with our own eyes.

The accident stats for PG nerds show that it's almost unheard of consequently, it isn't factored in to designs. On the point of the HG landing earlier, I think I was wrong about that. The passenger hanging off the left hand side of the base bar effectively prevents the pilot from weightshifting & therefore turning the glider toward the hill in the early stages of the flight. You can see that he pulls the bar in to descend the thing at a fair clip towards a landing so on reflection is doing his utmost to get back on the deck but as a retired PG & not an HG pilot, I bow to Neville's view of events.
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Old 30th Nov 2018, 17:10
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Typical junk journalism - the person not connected is the instructor - the student is correctly attached. A minor but significant difference from the title of the article and this thread.
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Old 30th Nov 2018, 18:00
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford View Post
Typical junk journalism - the person not connected is the instructor - the student is correctly attached. A minor but significant difference from the title of the article and this thread.
No. In the hangliding video it is the passenger whom is not clipped in. In the U.K. the flight would be a 'trial lesson' with an instructor as pilot to, be able to operate as a commercial flight with insurance.
In the P/G video they are both only semi clipped in, once the carabiner breaks.
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Old 30th Nov 2018, 18:21
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My apologies, I had misread the first time I saw this a few days ago!
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Old 1st Dec 2018, 03:59
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Originally Posted by ShotOne View Post
Thatís an understatement! Surprised by the forgiving comments here. Itís only by extreme good luck (and strong grip) heís not facing a manslaughter charge. Not a hang glider expert but couldnít he have landed more quickly ?

It's certainly true that he might have faced a manslaughter charge, and I'm not suggesting mistakes of that magnitude should be consequence free. At the same time, it's a mistake that is common enough that I remember discussing what to do about it when I was learning to hang glide. Sometimes solo pilots have saved themselves by climbing into the A-frame. I remember a cautionary tale of someone in the Alps (where you typically launch off ramps) who was jeered at by some passers by yelling 'you're going to dieeeee' who forgot to clip in, and of course died. My plan B was that my parachute was attached in such a way that I could have deployed it and I would have still been attached. My plan A was, of course, not to forget to clip in and thankfully I was always successful.

As to what the pilot did next... It's very hard to interpret the video which I think is quite wide angle but I think his actions - other than forgetting to ensure his passenger was clipped in - were reasonable. It's generally not possible to abort a take-off in a hang glider. Personally I would not have tried to land downhill; neither would I have tried to land uphill. It's something that can be done with high performance gliders, but involves a violent flare to avoid serious injury which would have thrown the passenger off, and which generally results in breaking something even at the best of times. I think I would have landed where he landed. My dilemma would have been whether it would have been better to race to the bottom to minimise the hang'-on-for-dear-life time, or whether this might have dislodged the passenger due to increased wind and turbulence. My impression was that he kept it smooth and I liked the way he put his hand over the passenger's to help him stay on.

I repeat the question of 1 or 2 carabiners is academic in this case. It didn't fail; he forgot to attach it. That said, the rule used to be 2 aluminium or 1 steel. I don't think climbing carabiners are stressed as heavily as hang gliding ones, which are subject to cyclic loads which can fatigue aluminium but should not fatigue a correctly sized steel one. The other carabiner dilemma is whether to go for screw-in ones or quick release. One of the vulnerable points in hang gliding is if you're on the ground on a windy day - you really want to unclip as quickly as possible as gliders can be flipped over and blown about in the wind.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...ticle16749684/

Checklists are fine, but I can also see that they may be hard to follow when you're also looking after an anxious passenger. In a hang-glider, the passenger is more 'involved' than in other types of flying so it's harder to maintain a 'sterile cockpit' for your pre-flight checks. I had one dual flight with my instructor and I confess I didn't enjoy it as much as I ought. It's quite an awkward way to fly.

So on reflection, perhaps I'm not suggesting 'forgiveness' - after all, which of us apart from the passenger has anything to forgive? However, a little humility might be in order. This is the sort of mistake that can be made distressingly easily - particularly by the sort of people who think it's so stupid they couldn't imagine making it themselves.

Last edited by abgd; 1st Dec 2018 at 04:14.
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Old 1st Dec 2018, 08:05
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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a prominent feature of my training was pre flight checks. It was drilled into me to start at the glider to check the cells for tears, follow the lines to the webbing & go over the harness, reserve & so on. It's certainly an observable thing to become blasť after hundreds of hours of flying when you take into account that an average pilot in the UK for example contending with crappy weather & a full time job might rack up in the order of thirty or so hours a year. Similarly not looking to excuse the HG pilot - if you're taking punters for rides, then the responsibility is elevated but in the end we are all fallible.
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Old 1st Dec 2018, 12:22
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I'll stick with rigid fuselages and a seat for a passenger thank you.
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Old 1st Dec 2018, 22:53
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"Similarly not looking to excuse the HG pilot - if you're taking punters for rides, then the responsibility is elevated but in the end we are all fallible."
When taking people who are not intending to become hang-glider pilots flying in one, this is inexcusable. People are invited to take all kinds of "experiences' on holidays. They are ignorant of the risks, and those offering the "experience" should take care of them.
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Old 2nd Dec 2018, 10:12
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Sure, but in practise what are you going to do about it? Have you really never made a mistake in your own flying? Where are you going to find all these infallible instructors?

Now it may be that this instructor was part of a slapdash outfit and was an accident waiting to happen. It may equally be that he was conscientious and for some reason got caught out this one time. I have no idea.

Hang gliding is about as dangerous as general aviation which is about as dangerous as motorcycling so whilst I see your point about taking responsibility for passengers, realistically it is never going to be as safe as riding a rollercoaster or Easyjet and in practice people hang-gliding on holiday are taking on a degree of risk that is likely to be extraordinary for them, as are your passengers if you ever take non-pilots up flying.

Most aviation accidents are due to pilot error of one sort or another. The problem with this error is that it is particularly stark and even a layman can understand it. That's not the same as saying that it is so stupid that no generally competent pilot could make it. Part of the problem with clipping in is that you often have to clip out and in again - often at the last minute e.g. to adjust glider position or wait out a squall; the sort of thing that breaks checklists.

What's the solution? I would wonder about having a mandatory launch assistant to help with the pre take-off checks. Or perhaps even giving the passengers a laminate card with some pre take-off checks for them to take part in. Or put a big red ribbon on the carabiners and give the passenger an instruction to hold it in their right hand whenever it is not attached to the glider. Nothing will be foolproof, but perhaps there is some measure that might reduce this fairly common problem which has been improved but not eliminated by checklists.

This article about clever people making stupid mistakes is one I often think back to.
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Old 2nd Dec 2018, 10:45
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I've never, ever made a mistake that could have killed either myself or my passengers.

Ever.

Erm, probably...
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Old 2nd Dec 2018, 19:24
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Spooky you should mention red ribbons. They're used in gliding to denote new pilots. Happy to be corrected but I understood a hang check is part of the pre flight routine for HG pilots, to ensure the carabiners are connected correctly & moreover to ensure the thing is actually strapped to your arse before you run out of hill to stand on.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 01:10
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Hang check hang check!!!!!

I always did a hang check before each flight. With or without a nose man.
Having said that I did take off without my nose cone attached once. The glider was very light in pitch, top landed asap. Scary.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 02:22
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It's not spooky I mention red ribbons - I have a hang glider in the attic. I never got a lot of experience but I have done winch/hill/cliff launches.

Deadstick126: you're missing out. I gave up hang gliding not because it was more dangerous than powered flight, or because it was a poor relation to it (quite the opposite in many ways) but because powered flying is more practical and less weather dependent. The thrill of a hang-glider winch launch is something I've never surpassed in my powered flying, including a session of aerobatics.

The enclosed cabin of a fixed wing aircraft is more comfortable than that of a hang glider and feels as if it gives some protection, but in fact the A-frame of a hang glider does a reasonably good job of protecting you in a minor ding, and the energy in a landing hang glider is so much lower than that of a powered aircraft that the risks aren't as different as you might suppose. You're probably more likely to get broken limbs in a hang glider, but neither will you stall and spin into a smoking crater.

It would be interesting to go back to hang gliding and compare the cultures now that I've been immersed in the fixed-wing community for a while. The barrier to entry is much lower for gliding, but I don't remember my local community being particularly any more slapdash in its approach to safety.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 20:43
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Originally Posted by Sprogget View Post
Happy to be corrected but I understood a hang check is part of the pre flight routine for HG pilots, to ensure the carabiners are connected correctly & moreover to ensure the thing is actually strapped to your arse before you run out of hill to stand on.
Yes, it is part of the routine but we have one club pilot who has attempted to take off without being clipped-in on two separate occasions, the first time resulting in hospitalisation. In the 80s, hang-check Paul attempted to take off without being clipped-in on, I think, four separate occasions. Fortunately, at least these pilots were all making solo efforts!
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 21:44
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If you fly around the Dyke, then I was in your club for fifteen years or so & probably know most of these people.
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