Personal Journals about Hang Gliding

Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby wingspan33 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:53 am

Regarding the improperly reported PG Fatality # 1714 out near Spokane, WA . . .

On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, 2:22:59 PM EDT, Chad Sokol <ChadSo@SPOKESMAN.com> wrote:
Hi - I understand the difference between a hang glider and paraglider. Several others have contacted me about this. I've asked the sheriff, who provided the information for the story, to look into it. I don't have the name of the friend who talked to the sheriff's deputies. We'll issue a correction if need be. Chad


Well, Chad Sokol has made changes to The Spokesman-Review on line newspaper article [ here - http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/j ... dent-on-s/ ] to indicate that the unlucky fellow was trying to fly a paraglider and not a hang glider.

In trying to clarify this error I actually called the local (to the accident site) sheriff's office and was actually able to speak directly with the sheriff. Seems that someone named Rick Masters had also contacted them. Does that make Rick and I the Woodward and Bernstein of hang gliding? :?: :thumbup:

So, only a few days of people thinking it was a hang gliding fatality (as far as any of the paper's readers who actually check back for corrections). From all I gathered it was an innocent mistake not an intentional deception. Still, many readers will never find out that it wasn't our sport that killed the unfortunate fellow.
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:45 pm

I never contacted any authorities about Dan Croft's crash.
Also, the reporter behaved ethically and responsibly in waiting for clarification.

The disturbing aspect is that no soaring parachutists may have come forward to correct the story.

A journalist works only with the information that is available to him.
He doesn't make things up or report an unsubstantiated claim as a fact.
It isn't an "error" for him to state what he was told by the authorities.
Any actual error would stem from not acting on new information and reporting it.
If you look at the recently posted article, it says "UPDATED" and describes the accident as a paraglider crash.
A significant aspect of this is that search engines will now recognize a paraglider crash, rather than a hang glider crash, on the Spokane Review website.
They will, however, find "hang glider crash" here, on the locked posts of the US Hawks forum.

Image
This is the actual error.
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby wingspan33 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:43 pm

Rick Masters wrote:I never contacted any authorities about Dan Croft's crash.
Also, the reporter behaved ethically and responsibly in waiting for clarification.

The disturbing aspect is that no soaring parachutists may have come forward to correct the story.


The wording that the sheriff used was that a message had been forwarded to him from someone by the name of Rick Masters (absolutely no kidding!). So I jumped to the conclusion that you had called and left voice mail or maybe sent an email. In fact, when I called I was told the sheriff was on the phone and that I would have to leave a message for him. But instead, after a second or two, he picked up live and in person.

I'm wondering how the sheriff got your name? Maybe someone else sent an email quoting text from your first post here? :?: :?: :?: Or someone is impersonating you? :?: :?: :?:

I do think the reporter acted ethically. In one message he sent me he said that he didn't want to have to correct a correction (let's say, if somehow Mr Croft was really attempting his first couple hang gliding flights).

I would also agree with your comment about someone in the local PG community not attempting to quickly correct the error. But for all we know perhaps that's how the truth was finally discovered. The "friend" he was at the site with may have finally been contacted.

I also wonder, in connection with older guys flying, that Dan Croft's symptoms could have been due to an exertion related/triggered stroke and had nothing to do with any kind of "crash".

With pilots of all kinds sometimes one of them suffers a massive coronary or stroke and their small plane, sailplane, HG or PG comes down - slow or fast. The bad landing/crash are then blamed for their demise. I personally know of a hang glider pilot who had his second heat attack while flying. Luckily he was able to get to the ground safely and then the hospital.
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:06 pm

I did send a message to a journalist on July 24 regarding the hang gliding claim:

It's really unusual to "crash" a hang glider twice in a take-off attempt. Usually the downtubes get bent and the hang glider needs new parts. This was probably a paraglider. These can crash all day long without damage to the fabric or lines. Because they have no structure to hold the wing's airfoil shape in gusty take off attempts, they are more likely to crash than hang gliders and several take off attempts are common in these conditions.

The operator owned a powered paraglider trike and had received his USHPA P3 intermediate free-flying paragliding rating in January. By my incomplete records, this would make Dan Croft the 1,715th paragliding fatality worldwide since the sport began in 1986, and the 48th to die so far in this year's average ongoing paragliding slaughter.


This may have been forwarded to the sheriff.
Apparently, the process worked well.

I noticed this in the updated article:
"Editor’s note: This story was changed on July 25, 2018. A previous version misidentified the type of glider Croft had been using, due to a source’s error."
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/jul/23/athol-man-69-dies-after-hang-gliding-accident-on-s/

I believe the cause of death will be released by the Spokane Office of the Medical Examiner in a couple weeks. Maybe it will be found here:
https://www.spokanecounty.org/3954/Media-Release-Information
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby Rick Masters » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:43 am

Paragliding        July 30, 2018
Paragliding debate after tragedy
Sophie Hui and Stella Wong        Hong Kong Standard
http://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=198414

An experienced hang glider pilot who analyzes global statistics of paragliding accidents has warned of the hidden dangers of the sport.
    In an interview with The Standard, Rick Masters, a former hang glider pilot and independent researcher on free flight aircraft in America, described Patrick Chung Yuk-wa's death as unfortunate.
    Forty-year-old Chung went missing on July 22 and was found dead on Friday after hundreds of searchers combed Lantau, by helicopter, on foot and in boats.
    He was found near Sunset Peak, also known as Tai Tung Shan, about a kilometer northeast of where he had taken off.
    The cause and the time of his death are still not known pending a postmortem.
    Masters said of Chung: "He was flying a paraglider in storm turbulence, as evidenced by the others who crashed in the gust front. It was an unfortunate situation as he probably did not choose to launch into these turbulent conditions but was caught by turbulence.
    "And unfortunately he was flying a paraglider - the least capable of all aircraft in turbulence."
    He said Chung was the 1,714th person to die in a paraglider incident since 1986.
    Masters said he would not go paragliding due to the dangers, explaining: "A soaring parachutist is suspended 10 or 15 feet below his wing. All his efforts to move forward can only produce a tiny bit of pitch control. This leaves him at the mercy of strong lifts, such as lift in the vicinity of underdeveloped clouds. Caught in a strong lift he cannot get down."
    He added that there is a big difference for a hang glider and a paraglider when it comes to landings.
    "Above 25 mph, landing a hang glider safely is a matter of skill, whereas surviving a landing in a paraglider in high winds becomes a matter of luck," he said. "Paragliders sometimes collapse in turbulence because they are parachutes without a rigid support structure."
    Masters also said paragliding inland is more dangerous than flying off a coast due to the thermal turbulence.
    "The appropriate aircraft for flying in inland thermal turbulence is a hang glider, which cannot collapse," he said.
    But some paragliding pilots disagree with Masters' remarks.
    One argued that hang gliding is more dangerous as the speed is greater than paragliding.
    Still, paraglider and hang glider pilots are equally at risk of hitting turbulence, and both have their own difficulties.
    At the end of the day, both follow the same theoretical principles about flying and ways to ascend and descend, but there are different ways of control.
    "If you play paragliding correctly, it is not dangerous," he said. "Of course, if you play it wrong, it can be dangerous."
    As for flying at a seaside or inland, he said both sorts of areas can pose dangers. So it comes back to pilots knowing how to stay in control.
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby wingspan33 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:08 pm

So it comes back to pilots knowing how to stay in control.
:shock:

This is utter nonsense! The PG PR machine has once again managed to equalize the "danger" of flying hang gliders with that of flying collapsible canopies. It's not that you simply can't control an air frame-less wing in serious turbulence, it's that you have to "know how to stay in control". That's a bunch of BS. I checked out another report* of this PG fatality and one reliable source indicated that wind gusts of about 60 mph were recorded near the accident's location.

Since even a hang glider can have serious problems when winds pick up that much, the key here is to not be in the air on a day when this potential exists. Any "experienced" pilot of either paragliders or hang gliders knows that. While Patrick Chung Yuk-wa is described as an "experienced" collapsible canopy occupant he fails that qualifier horribly by flying, then dying, in weather that predictably could (and did) become so severe. Staying in control, on this day, meant staying on the freaking ground!


* < https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/07/27/h ... au-island/ >
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby Rick Masters » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:52 pm

Yeah. I got a laugh out of that.
No wonder the PG death rate never changes.
They believe their own BS.
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby Rick Masters » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:02 pm

A lot of the best stuff got left out, of course. Here's a taste:

I have stated that I would not fly a paraglider. However, I am a cross-country hang glider pilot who has flown a total of over 3000 miles without an engine in turbulent desert air. Paragliders sometimes collapse in turbulence because they are parachutes without a rigid support structure. I have always flown with a parachute nestled in a little bag on my chest but I have never had to use it. Parachutes are for emergencies. That's the way I feel.

But I don't deny that paragliders have their place in the panalopy of aircraft. Near the coast, in laminar air, they are no doubt delightful - and I'm sure you agree.

My gripe with paragliding is the dishonest marketing that eventually places paraglider pilots, the vast majority eager and fearless young men, at unnecessary risk as they progress in their training and eventually take their paragliders inland. The appropriate aircraft for flying in inland thermal turbulence is a hang glider which cannot collapse. But paragliding has devolved to the point where it is now hyped as an inland sport and these young men, rather than switch to a safer aircraft, are trying to prove their manhood or bravery by daring inland turbulence with their peers on their paragliders. In recent years, this has resulted in a new form of parachuting attrition, replacing skydiving as the most dangerous and replacing hang gliding as the most popular.

There is a lot of ignorance at work here. Hang gliding and paragliding are both taught to novices in gentle air. Paragliding is easy and quick to learn. Hang gliding takes more skill, more effort and takes much longer to master. Hang gliders move relatively safely into inland thermal turbulence. Paragliders have followed, but at great risk - such a great risk, based on my research, that I personally recognize it as a form of gambling rather than pure sport.

There is a lot of argument and disagreement about safety in free-flight. For me it is simple: the average time spent in turbulent air without an accident. Although all these sports have an element of danger, the hang glider seems to be king because it does not deform or collapse. Do I think people should stop flying paragliders on the coast? No. Should they stop flying them in thermal turbulence? Absolutely. They should switch to hang gliders. Will they? Not a chance.

As long as the national organizations, largely composed of paraglider enthusiasts who say the sports are equivalent, and the local press, who often say paragliding accidents are rare, continue this propaganda, the death rate in paragliding will continue unabated. Five paraglider pilots have died in the five days since Mr. Chung disappeared. All died in inland turbulence. I think this is going to get much worse, not better.
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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby Frank Colver » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:59 am

I agree with all that Rick has said here. But I add that just choosing coastal sites, to fly paragliders, is not enough. It has to be coastal sites known for smooth air flow.

Gaugalope Dunes is a beautiful coastal dune site and I had a lot of good hang glider flights there (it may be closed now to vehicle transportation to the flying dunes). However, it also has a history of violent rotors forming at low elevations near the beach. I won't go into the theory behind these rotors here, but they do exist when conditions are right for their formation. They have caused serious hang glider accidents back in the "standard Rogallo" days.

I have recounted my rotor flight, at Devil's Slide, in other places on this forum so i won't repeat those. To summarize: If I had been flying a paraglider I would have died many years ago and missed out on this great life I've had and am still having. My Wills SST experienced numerous sail inversions starting at about 300' AGL and ending about 30' AGL. The SST did not have full chord length battens which allowed the sail to invert in that kind of severe turbulence. The sail would invert with a loud "bang" and pop back up with another loud "bang". Although I had little control over the glider, it did keep flying and held its overall shape as I bounced around in the control bar receiving bruises from my arms hitting the uprights. I was flying seated as always. One cannot even argue that I might have survived in a paraglider. There is absolutely no way I could have survived a free fall to the beach, with a ball of laundry, from 300 feet or even 30 feet.

Bottom line: A hang glider flight - alive to this day. If a paraglider flight - dead 40+ years ago.

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Re: Other dangerous sports news

Postby Rick Masters » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:52 am

Paragliding        September 4, 2017
Helicopter rescue of Russian soaring parachutist with broken hip, broken shoulder and internal injuries.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BYn7FQxBHfV/?taken-by=rossouzspas_kbr
https://paraplan.ru/forum/files/7149/VJg2ZviA.mp4
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