Personal Journals about Hang Gliding

Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:15 am


    On July 16, 2015, following three paragliding collapse fatalities, all hang gliding was banned from the Italian side of Mt. Blanc, one of the world's most historic and premier hang gliding venues. This is the NOTAM issued by the Milan Com Center.

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    The temporary ban of Italian airspace prohibited to hang gliding (yellow) is added to the permanent French airspace ban placed into effect October 13, 2008. Here is a higher resolution map of the Italian airspace:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zCCkzrgz81vw.kb1PppTcbPNQ
    Here is the explanation of the ban issued by the Italian Federation of Freeflight.
http://www.fivl.it/sicurezza/lista-avvisi/1483-monte-bianco-vietato-al-volo-libero
    The FIVL adds: "First we take the opportunity to remind all pilots of free flight that the flight conditions downwind are particularly risky for a wing as limp as a paraglider." (Note the use of Joe Faust's terminology.)
    I find this insulting to the intelligence of hang glider pilots who have chosen an airframe specifically to survive normal air turbulence.
    Here is the advisory issued to soaring parachutists by the French Federation of Free Flight detailing the ban.
http://federation.ffvl.fr/sites/ffvl.fr/files/Fly%20Secu%20Mont-Blanc%20WEB.pdf
Hang gliding is not mentioned.
    The French minister for foreign affairs warned that "Anybody who overflies this area, voluntarily or involuntarily, risks criminal prosecution, fines and the confiscation of their flying equipment."
    Here is the article about the ban, published in Cross Country Magazine on July 20.
http://www.xcmag.com/2015/07/free-flying-banned-on-italian-side-of-mont-blanc/
Hang gliding is not mentioned.
    The fact that hang gliding was banned because of paragliding is not mentioned in what might be considered by some as the world's premier freeflight magazine.
    Hang gliding had nothing to do with the ban. The authorities banned "freeflight" because they hold the paragliding organizations responsible for causing the problems that led up to the ban.
    Neither the Italian or French freeflight organizations speak up for hang gliding. They are so dominated by paragliding that concerns about hang gliding must be an afterthought. Certainly, to them, it seems reasonable to ban hang gliding because paragliders collapse. No argument in defense of hang gliding was presented to the authorities.
    I have been warning for years that hang gliding will suffer by its foolish association with parachuting. This European airspace ban is the world's most prominent example - but it is far from the only one.
    This blog is for reporting incidents of losing airspace to hang gliding anywhere in the world because of paragliding.

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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:35 am

Good article and analysis Rick.

Your discussion really highlights the problem with combined organizations that are dominated by paragliding pilots. In this kind of situation, their leadership isn't thinking about how to protect hang gliding (since that's a small fraction of their membership). However, the leadership of a hang gliding only organization would be very actively pointing out that it's the PG pilots causing the problem. How can a predominantly PG organization argue that point without shooting themselves in the foot.

The sport of hang gliding needs its own representation for just this reason. Thanks to you for helping make that happen!!!

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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby Rick Masters » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:57 am

October 9, 2003
Legal proceedings have been initiated against an Austrian woman of 34, who had the bad idea of ​​inventing from scratch a paragliding accident to avoid a business meeting, which resulted in sending rescuers, police said this Friday. The young woman sparked the intervention of 18 rescuers after texting to a colleague, with whom she had an appointment at work, that she was hung in a tree on Mt. Gaisberg near Salzburg. Distraught, the colleague had immediately alerted search and rescue. They have filed a complaint against the woman for "falsifying a mountain emergency."
http://www.lalsace.fr/actualite/2015/10/09/elle-invente-un-accident-de-parapente-pour-secher-un-rendez-vous
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No wonder attitudes of the authorities are changing about "freeflight."
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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:22 am

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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby Rick Masters » Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

October 25, 2015
Ed Levin Park in Milpitas, California, was closed "indefinitely" to hang gliding because of a paraglider collapse and crash in normal, hang glider-friendly atmospheric turbulence.
http://abc7news.com/news/paraglider-injured-after-slamming-into-milpitas-hillside/1050788/

(Eyewitnesses describe an asymmetric collapse in a thermal, followed by re-inflation and an arc into the hill.)
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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby brianscharp » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:29 am

RickMasters wrote:October 25, 2015
Ed Levin Park in Milpitas, California, was closed "indefinitely" to hang gliding because of a paraglider collapse and crash in normal, hang glider-friendly atmospheric turbulence.

The closing of the park may in fact be due to gliders flying during the rescue attempt. It's not stated whether they were hang or para.
http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?t=33557
Ed Levin paragliding accident
mlbco wrote:As usual, with many witnesses present, few people have come forth to speak intelligently and clearly about the incident. Unfortunately, this is the usual mode of operation for the HG community, mention an incident and then provide no details.

I received an e-mail from the WOR club president and a notice on Facebook stating that the flying site is closed until further notice. There was some mention of pilots continuing to fly while an medivac helicopter was trying to land and that this may be the reason for the site closure, not the accident itself. I am still awaiting confirmation on this. If it's true, this is an important lessons for all us us to learn from ASAP.

Can someone please post the real details on this incident? It's very important to share this information in a timely fashion. We so rarely do this anymore and not doing so hurts the flying community.

Steve

atag wrote:I was on the 1750' launch at the time. I was helping pilots launch that day. In any case, the X wasn't visible without binoculars. The only way we found out about the approaching helicopter was when someone with a radio and binoculars came up.After which, the pilot on launch immediately backed off and tore down.

The X was not in the spot, it was orange on dead grass, and only appeared to be 10-15 ft across.

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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby Rick Masters » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:14 am

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Paraglider Mathew McHugh sues for $2 million after losing a leg at Mona Vale rock face

A NOVICE paraglider who lost his leg when he slammed into cliffs at a popular launch site is suing a northern beaches council and the sport’s governing body for more than $2 million, saying they failed to warn him the site was dangerous. Former Nova 96.9 weekend breakfast presenter Mathew McHugh, 33, had his left leg amputated below the knee after he hit a rock face at “free-fall” speed while paragliding at Cook Terrace, Mona Vale Headland last year. Mr McHugh had only third party insurance, just 30 hours’ flying experience and had never flown at Cook Terrace when he crashed into the rock face. He fractured his spine in four places, shattered his pelvis, broke his right ankle and foot, and waited two hours for a rescue team to untangle him from a tree branch. He lost so much blood doctors thought he would die.

“I still remember feeling my bones crunch,” he said.

Mr McHugh claims the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia website should have classed the headland as a site for intermediate and advanced paragliders and warned that novices should not try to fly there. He also claimed Pittwater Council should have placed a sign at the site warning of past paragliding ­accidents. Insurers for the council and the federation both plan to strongly defend the claim.

VIDEO http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/paraglider-mathew-mchugh-sues-for-2-million-after-losing-a-leg-at-mona-vale-rock-face/story-fni0cx12-1227441897152

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Hi, I'm Mathew McHugh. Sydney's happiest amputee.
Survival Against All Odds.

"It was at this moment I realised that this would be more than a rescue, but a race against time. I was running out of blood".

On April 2nd I suffered a huge paragliding accident that left me hanging for dear life and making it out alive was a close call. Some say that someone less strong would not have made it. Medical teams were saying the loss of blood should not have let anyone make it. And here I am, happy to be alive.

Happy because I won't let a stump stump me! I'm happy to be alive with no other serious long-term damage and will be able bodied to walk again in months with prosthesis.

If you are sensitive to reading about blood, I'm very understanding of this piece of advice I heard from a personal trainer once. Toughen the hell up!!!

On April 2nd 2014 I was paragliding at the headland between Monavale beach and Warriewood in Sydney Australia when I had a sudden glider failure that through me at speeds edging close to free fall into the cliff. What made a much higher velocity accident was that just before impact, the glider tried to correct itself and I sling shotted into the cliff at speeds estimated to be well over 100 kilometres per hour. I had shoes on at the time of flight. They were instantly disintegrated and fell on impact.

Upon the realisation I wasn't going to fall from the cliff into the ground with shrubs holding the canopy, I quickly realised it was going to be a long haul with injuries to what I thought at the time were broken feet and I'd be all good after. Then I looked down to find first responders and/or anyone that could help and I saw my feet. The left foot was the worst with blood pouring out like a beheading from Game of Thrones, in between heart pumps an artery dangling with the sandstone cliff and trees below as a backdrop with a new artwork being created from my situation on the rocks below. It was at this moment I realised that this would be more than a rescue, but a race against time. I was running out of blood.

It was a very emotional moment knowing that what I was seeing would more than likely be the last things I would ever see, but I wouldn't let it get the better of me. So I tilted my head back and looked out to the sea and tried to relax. As a person that loved the water it helped somewhat, but the constant pain reminded me of my plight while I started passing in and out of consciousness.

I soon heard the drone of a distant helicopter marching its way across from somewhere south and I thought that would be my rescue and it shan't be long. The helicopter got closer and closer and then hovered nearby my rescue sight. And it did just that, hovered, and hovered, and hovered. I was crying out to the first responders on the ground asking what was happening. They told me that they had to rescue me a different way, don't worry it'll be ok. I found out later there were technical reasons for this. I shouted out that I was going to die. They tried to convince me that I wasn't and I thought to myself that they are trained to say that even if you are for the chance you'll hang in there longer. I knew it was inevitable without their fast assistance getting me into medical hands that my families last look at me would be in a coffin.

It took more than 2 hours to be lowered from that cliff face and what I went through in that time was both excruciating and unreal. I couldn't believe this was me, on the edge of death doing something I loved. And during these moments there was only one thing I could think about. Love - My family and friends. How much I'd miss them, how much life we would miss out on. Then I quickly pushed those thoughts aside as I didn't want to think of missing anyone. But to see them again. This gave me strength on all levels of my being and I refused to die. I even turned down an offer to enter heaven!

Once I was finally carefully lowered down from the cliff from the rescue and paramedic abseilers, I was met with the rest of the paramedic team and specialist field Doctors from the chopper waiting on the sand. At this moment I shouted out "give me something, give me something real good and real fast (gasp) - I need to be out of pain. He told me "don't worry, I've got something special for you shortly". After much talking about what to give me (which took what felt like hours) and the many questions I was asked that I could miraculously answer, they finally sedated me with an injection and the next memory was waking up in hospital two weeks later.

The ordeal didn't end ton the cliff that day as my family was told there was an almost certainty that I wouldn't make it when I arrived to emergency surgery. I lost close to 90 percent of my blood and the fact I'm alive to talk about it is an absolute medical marvel and miracle.

The transfusions were numerous, litres upon litres of donated blood pumped into me in a vein attempt to save me. Well vein in a true sense of the word as my veins were running on empty.

Then my family was prepped that if I survived, the blood loss would make it impossible for my brain function to return to full order and I would most likely suffer moderate to severe brain damage. Then they were hit with the bad news that as a result of my broken back and pelvis, there was a good chance I would be paraplegic for the rest of my life just to add to the list of possibilities including not waking up again. All of these didn't end up being a reality thankfully. as the doctors fought rigorously going above and beyond to save my life. My poor family have been through lots, but it's just wonderful they didn't have to say goodbye. A two-week wait isn't so bad on forced hindsight.

I'm so happy and thankful to the amazing staff at RNSH and Narrabeen fire and Rescue and all other persons involved in my rescue for saving my life. When I walk again, I'll be meeting everyone on foot and look forward to shaking their hands all the while shaking a little inside and I can't wait.

The hospital stories onwards will be shared on here and more details on my ordeal will be in my memoir that I'm slowly writing. What I shared here was only the tip of the iceberg of what I went through on that casual turned casualty day. My injuries are what led me to become Sydney's most happiest amputee. The story begins now.

A positive outlook for the future and you can help!

I am currently still in rehabilitation and trying to find ways to fund my prosthesis. As you could imagine the process over time is rather expensive as there's the original leg purchase which can cost up to $20,000 or more (depending on what option is recommended by the prosthetic team), medical bills and regular replacements of working parts throughout the life of the prosthesis. Ongoing maintenence and eventual replacement of my prosthesis will happen every two years on average with smaller components being replaced every 6-12 months. This will be a process throughout my whole life and I will need to find ways to fund my future. As someone who isn't rich, this is an expensive hurdle and I'm reaching out for assistance to anyone that may be able to assist. Every dollar counts. Whether it's $1 or $10,000 you donate, I would appreciate the act of kindness towards my future. I'm looking forward to a fully functional, active lifestyle for many years to come.
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0n1L0
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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby brianscharp » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:28 am

Was there airspace lost to hang gliders due to this incident?
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Re: Losing airspace to hang gliding because of paragliding

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:44 am

Was there airspace lost to hang gliders due to this incident?

Will there be? The lawsuit is ongoing against the site landholding authority and the (incestuous) national hang gliding organization.
The argument is that the national org should have stopped this clown from flying through more rigorous enforcement.
I know how that works, having been the first concessionaire for the USFS at Horseshoe Meadows/Walt's Point.
If the club can't find someone to be present to regulate flying, the site is required by the authorities to remain closed.

When they were invited into the tent, all the hang glider pilots expected them to piss outside.
That's not what happened.
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