billcummings wrote:If learning from my mistakes will be a good learning tool, I have good news Bob.
There won’t be any shortage of material.
bobk wrote:billcummings wrote:If learning from my mistakes will be a good learning tool, I have good news Bob.
There won’t be any shortage of material.
Just be sure they're all recoverable mistakes!
Fly safe my friend and thanks for all the great humor. I can build a web site, but posts like yours bring it to life!!
brianscharp wrote:msoaring wrote:Apparently the USHPA has posted an accident report for "members only" on their website. As I am no longer a USHPA member I do not have access to the report. Can someone with special permission post it here?
No one has that special permission.USHPA wrote:The PDF file you are about to download is intended for members only. You may download it for personal
use, but you may not upload or re-post the file on another website. By clicking on the button below you
agree to these restrictions.
You can see it here.
2015/03/27 Jean Lake crash
PostPosted by Tad Eareckson » 2015/05/31 09:18:47 UTC
I haven’t confirmed the rumor with Brad L. yet but this does in fact come to you direct from “RUMOR CENTRAL.” Brad, while step-towing, years back, rolled two trucks. (Not at the same time.)
I have only step-towed with cars, snow machines and boats. To find out how to roll a truck step-towing or better yet how not to roll a truck I will leave that up to Brad’s vast towing experience. Hopefully he will jump in here and give us the scoop.
I just remembered! I’m not totally innocent. I did roll a snow machine over several times. (On different days.) It’s hard to say which takes more talent. Rolling a snow machine or a truck. First hand I know that rolling a snow machine over while step-towing isn’t difficult at all. It usually happens when the snow machine breaks traction due to the sideways pulling of the towline and then the rubber track digs in and stops the side skidding abruptly. This sudden stop of a sideways skid will most often separate the driver from the machine.
An experienced driver like myself will simply yield to this overpowering science of inertia and allow the divergence to occur unimpeded. The machine will remain upright.
A steadfastly stupid driver will try to resist being thrown and in total ignorance will hang on to the snow machine’s steering handle grips. The hopeless attempt at self preservation is actually what rolls the snow machine over. The sideways pull on the handle grips is on the second highest part of the machine. The only higher part on the recently upright machine would have been the extremely cold and brittle plastic windshield. Sadly, using Super Glue on an exploded plastic windshield is not a viable option.
The dealership’s exorbitantly high price on a clear piece of plastic becomes reasonable with only one 25-30 mph run across a frozen lake at 20 degrees F. (Wind chill factor of about zero degrees F.)
Only rarely did we have a small lake to tow on. Minnesota has many lakes of many sizes.
Burn Lake here in Las Cruces, NM (USA) wouldn’t rate a name in Minnesota. It would just be referred to as a gravel pit with a little water in it. (Which actually is what it really is.) (I mean was. The drought has it completely dried up.)
Most of the time, in Minnesota, there was no need to step-tow since we usually had enough lake to top out on the static tow with one run straight into the wind. Only on small lakes would we have to circle the lake to top out on the towline.
However once we put a winch in the boat that had 3600 feet of towline and depending on the wind direction we would sometimes have to step-tow to get most of the line up.
I’ll back up for the new pilots for a moment. Step-towing with a winch in the boat has the glider up to about 1000 feet using up ¾ of a mile of lake into a 5 mph wind.
With still more than 2000 feet of line on the winch the boat will turn one hundred and eighty degrees and make a faster downwind run. At the same time the boat is turning left (for example) the glider turns slightly to the right trying to keep a slack line off of the surface during the turn. The pilot is still flying mostly into the wind waiting for the towline to draw tight again as the boat is racing downwind. As the pilot sees the drooping towline close to drawing tight the pilot must turn to follow the boat before the line goes tight. The pilot needs to be following the boat before the line goes tight otherwise the glider will lock out and dive off to its right.
If a pilot realizes that the towline will go tight before the turn to follow the boat is complete the pilot must release before the lock out starts.
The boat driver can also slow (maybe even stop) the boat to help when the driver notices that the pilot will not complete the turn in time.
During this phase of the turn for the downwind run pre-planning had to have occurred on the ground. At times the pilot step-towing will have the towline trailing below and behind. The release cord needs to be configured so that the release cord will not go tight and release on its own.
The math will not come out right most of the time for a downwind run. The boat driver can not depend on just increasing the downwind run by five miles per hour to compensate for the 5 mph of wind that they took off into. Most always the wind aloft will be greater than on the surface. Many times a boat does not have the speed for the downwind run to keep the towline off of the surface. Now it is up to the pilot to do what is possible to keep the towline off of the surface. This can be done by flying a zigzag (Serpentine.) pattern behind the boat.’
Some may think step-towing is flirting with a lock-out that could lead to an accident but so too would be driving off the edge of the road while dialing in the car radio. “You should tend to avoid that!” -- (Quote : Richard Johnson - out of context of course.)
The biggest safety concern I will get to in just a bit. First this. When the boat turns upwind the pilot, for a little while longer, will be pulling the towline to the downwind end of the lake. The boat, let us say, turned left so the pilot is slightly headed right still trying to keep the line from drooping and touching the surface. The boat and glider are heading away from each other. It is important to keep in mind that the line is going to draw straight and tight way faster than it did for the downwind turn. More care must be taken to be following the boat when the towline does draw tight because it happens faster when turning back into the wind.
Now the biggest safety concern:
Depending on the type of towline you are using it may be heavy and descending abruptly from the pilot or it can be light and trail more straight behind you during mid turn. Pilot and passenger have died during this turning phase and all because they were surprised during a turn.
When step-towing I use a heaver length of rope at my end (maybe 20 feet) so that the towline will hang abruptly below me. This causes more drag but it is worth it.
What killed the pilot and passenger was the line was trailing behind and a sharp dip of a wing to turn back before the towline went tight again put the lowered wingtip down and under the trailing towline. The towline snagged the wing and was now on top of the previously dipped wing. When the rope went tight that was the beginning of the end.
The chance of this all happening faster would have been when turning back into the prevailing wind.
Many big lessons have been learned throughout our relatively short history of hang gliding.
The cost of this lesson was very high and I didn’t want the lesson to fade away with time only to be learned the hard way again.
Youtube has an abundance of hang gliding flying going on. Some of the things I see going on are frightening. I stare in disbelief at the screen and have caught myself yelling, “Holy Shirt! Didn’t anybody tell you!?” (Paraphrased.)
So if you see something on Youtube and you know better what they should be doing leave a comment. That’s what I’ve started doing.
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