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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby Frank Colver » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:57 am

When my business partner and I started HC Power, in 1984, we started with my electronic designs for our products. When it came time to hire our first employee we needed a draftsman/designer that could do the mechanical design to house my electronics within a very tight space. Raul fit that need perfectly.

Raul was our first employee. He had then risen to production manager when our company grew to 300 employees and by the time we sold the company in 2000 he was vice president. I credit Raul with a lot of the success of our company. His management of our production line was superb.

But beyond that, I considered Raul a very good friend. When he took up RC model glider flying (something I was already doing) we flew our models together many times and he even bought one of my original design gliders.

When he and Joy were married, my wife and I attended their wedding reception.

After the company sold we drifted in different directions and I lost contact with him. I had no idea he had taken up paragliding. If I had known I would have tried to direct him into hang gliding but of course I don't know if that would have changed this tragedy. Hang gliders are quicker to maneuver, so possibly he could have avoided the PG turning into him but I have no knowledge of that. There are instances where hang gliders have collided and continued flying but paragliders tend to just wrap up in each other.

Raul Valerio was a great guy and I'm blessed with having been in his presence and working closely with him every day, for 16 years.

Sadly, Frank Colver :cry:
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:19 pm

I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Frank.

As I read through the accident reports, there's been a careful skirting of the pilot's ratings, so I called USHPA to find out directly. I spoke to Erika Klein and introduced myself as Bob Kuczewski. I asked for the rating of Glenn Bengtsson. Erika looked it up and confirmed that he was a member with a number over either 100,000 or 101,000 (very recent numbers). Erika said it was very "weird" that no other information was showing. Then she began asking why I wanted to know. I told her that he was one of the pilots involved in the Torrey Pines collision. Then I asked for Raul Valerio's rating. That's when Erika said she would transfer me to their Executive Director Martin Palmaz. Martin didn't answer so I left a message.

At this point I am suspecting that your friend was a victim of the same kinds of gross negligence that injured Shannon Hamby a few years back.

This is Bryan's speech from September of 2018. Note his comments about crowding and the students just being put out there. Bryan expressed concern for safety. Watch it carefully.

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Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 2019)

Postby wingspan33 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:30 pm

That's tough to hear Frank. :( I mentioned fairly quickly, earlier in this thread, that I feel sorry for involved family members. In an informal sense, Raul was part of your family. And while we can all have regrets and "what ifs" there's nothing we can change that's happened in the past. We can only let the lessons learned advise us on what we do today and tomorrow.

What's happening today and tomorrow is that Air California Adventure Inc. is selling collapsible canopies to people who don't fully understand the dangers - and they aren't telling them either. Air California Adventure Inc. is also profiting on a BIG scale from peddling wings that can easily inter-tangle and take two human beings to their death. This type of accident is unique to paragliding (as are many other ways that they fall out of the sky).

Pilots flying hang gliders simply can not experience any of the fatal flaws involved with paragliders (not that hang gliders don't have problems). I can only imagine a hybrid HG-PG incident where a PG's lines tangle on a passing hang glider. That could also bring them both down. But a mid air between two hang gliders is a VERY rare event.

Frank, from your perspective, think about somebody else who might lose a friend or loved one because of the (questionable?) operation and/or instruction of Air California Adventure Inc. Think about what you might do today and tomorrow. We should all think about that.
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:11 pm

This is about the most important issue on this forum.

I sincerely thank Frank for overcoming any personal disagreements and posting here.

Thanks Frank. :salute:
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:42 am

From the Sylmar Forum:

Bob Kuczewski on Mar 09, 2019 at 7:49 pm wrote:Two PG pilots died at Torrey today in a mid-air collision:

  http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3434

Always maintain a safe distance between terrain and other pilots.

Steve90266 on Mar 10, 2019 at 9:43 am wrote:Very sad news. Both pilots were "experienced". P4 and P3. Lesson emphasized. Keep your head on a swivel, ESPECIALLY when ridge soaring with multiple pilots, but always, always, always assume somebody is looking in the wrong direction and coming to take you out.

Bob Kuczewski on Mar 10, 2019 at 11:40 am wrote:
Steve90266 wrote:Both pilots were "experienced". P4 and P3.

Where did you find that they were P4 and P3?

Bob Kuczewski on Mar 10, 2019 at 11:25 pm wrote:The names have been released ...

LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) — The San Diego County Medical Examiner released the identities of the two men who died in yesterday's paragliding accident.

Glenn Johnny Peter Bengtsson, Carlsbad (43)
Raul Gonzalez Valerio, Laguna Hills (61)


... but not their USHPA ratings or training status.

Can anyone confirm the "P4 and P3" ratings?

JD on Mar 11, 2019 at 9:52 am wrote:They were P3 and P0. I have the information from pilots who knew them.

Eyewitness account: http://www.crestlinesoaring.org/node/2694

Bob,
I regret that you were unable to effect positive change at Torrey. I know that you put everything you had into making it a safer flying site.
Sadly, our national organization has its priorities up some dark hole in all its opacity.
Keep doing your best!
JD


As mentioned earlier, USHPA won't disclose the ratings of either pilot. If it turns out that either of them were rated at less than required for the site (P3 with additional hours), then this is a much more serious version of the Shannon Hamby case.
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby wingspan33 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:47 pm

Are there any updates on this topic? It would be interesting to have a link posted to any local TV news story.
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby Bill Cummings » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:22 pm

Having first hand knowledge about the military and paragliding connection it wouldn't surprise me one bit to find that San Diego, the Torrey concessionaire, and the military have a sweetheart training arrangement. It would explain away Robin M, council woman Bry, and the entire City council's aloofness and contempt for the public's legitimate call for oversight.
But in the interest of public safety the concessionaire should be stripped of any training of the recreational public.
Fairness for access has been lost for the foreseeable future at the Torrey flight park so the best way to stop the death cycle
is to protect the public from this concessionaire by any means possible.
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby JoeF » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:34 pm

Raw posts may have errors of fact in them:
2019twoPG00A.JPG
2019twoPG00A.JPG (50.92 KiB) Viewed 177 times

2019twoPG00B.JPG
2019twoPG00B.JPG (37 KiB) Viewed 177 times

From topic thread in paraglidingforum ....
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:45 am

From the Sylmar Forum:

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Steve90266 wrote:Both pilots were "experienced". P4 and P3.

JD wrote:They were P3 and P0. I have the information from pilots who knew them.

From PG Forum - P3 and P1??
pgf_report.png
pgf_report.png (163.98 KiB) Viewed 154 times

I called USHPA Monday morning to ask for the pilot ratings directly. I spoke to Erika. USHPA had already scrubbed their database of that information, but Erika didn't know it. Erika said it was "weird" that the pilot showed up as a member, but there was no other information. Maybe she hasn't been briefed yet on the USHPA "cover up" policy.

Two dead pilots and so far there have been 3 different guesses as to their ratings.
It's shameful what these sports have tolerated from USHPA.

Read more at: https://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3434
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Re: Two Dead at Torrey - Paragliding Collision (March 9, 201

Postby majiemae » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:27 am

Bob K. and Ernie C. speaking at the San Diego City Council. Outstanding! :!: :!: :!: :!: :!:

First, Ernie says his piece... :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:




Then Bob spoke... :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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