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 Post subject: Re: Paragliding Fatality at Torrey - May 12, 2012
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:30 am 
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I flew Torrey once, before the paragliders showed up. Steve Hawxhurst was kind enough to loan me a training glider and harness to fly. He seemed a bit put off when I began running my hands over both leading edges, feeling for dents, which had become my habit in the Owens Valley, a place of frequent hard landings, but also and always whenever flying a glider new to me. He had no choice but to red flag the glider when I found a deep 7-inch fatality-tempting dent in the leading edge at the critical point halfway between the crosstube junction and the nose. I'll never forget the look on his face when I found that dent. A paranoid thought ran fleetingly through my mind that the president of the USHGA was trying to kill me, the cross-country heretic who had made a bid for the editorship of Hang Gliding Magazine with Bettina Gray to replace Gil Dodgen's sand dune mentality with promotion of some real edge-of-the-envelope adventure. But after a bottle of tequila later that night, it became clear that Steve had been unacceptably careless in checking his equipment.

Steve offered me another glider, a Raven that launched like a feather. I wallowed north to the end, then south as far as I was allowed. I landed in the parking lot after one pass, testing for a rotor that was not there. It is memorable to me as one of my most boring flights. I asked one of the Torrey regulars why they didn't fly the Owens. "I might miss a good day, here," he said. I laughed quietly to myself, thinking of seven-thousand-foot gains in wild thermals and 100-mile flights and the ever-present icy quart of milk strapped to the keel in the baking desert as I stripped off my soaking down jacket...

Reading this thread, I find there is nothing discussed but the inevitability of mechanical turbulence. There is a common line of thinking that regards thermal activity on the beach as unlikely. This is true when the wind approaches a cliff or ridge from a perpendicular direction, sweeping away the still air before it has a chance to warm. But I have found thermals breaking off from lee shelters created by crosswinds on many occasions. Thermals trigger paraglider accidents. Of this, there can be no doubt. The vertical shearing action of a thermal that has suddenly broken free of the ground, which may cause the near tip of a hang glider to lift, can also cause a paraglider's canopy to lose its aerodynamic shape, initiating a sudden drop followed by a snap opening. As has been mentioned, the snap opening can produce a boom. This was heard. And of course, the hapless fool falling out of the sky has no control over his (or her) fate at this moment. Not only is the flight direction random at the moment of opening, but the kinetic energy gained in the fall often results in extreme uncontrollability such as pendeluming or a spiral dive. Such an occurrence within the Paraglider Dead Mans Curve has so often proven deadly that the majority of deaths and serious injuries, more than 908 worldwide since 2002 as I write, are directly attributable to uncontrollability issues immediately following a partial or full collapse within the PDMC.

Thermal activity is a function of the difference in temperature of adjacent parcels of air. Other factors are involved but they have smaller influence. Using Bob's latest chart for illustration, consider the formation of a lee-sheltered bubble of still air near the site of the accident. The day was in the mid-70s. The sand and dirt of the sheltered cliff zone could have reached temperatures in the 90s or even higher. The cool and mild ocean breeze on this relatively dry day with a dew point of 54 would have provided a cap on the warming bubble, holding it down until it warmed enough to suddenly break free or form a rapidly rising snaking vertical channel of warm air. Either case would present a vertical shear to an approaching glider. For a pilot on a hang glider, an opportunity. For a fool on a paraglider, death.

Some of you may have stories of thermals at Torrey. I would like to hear them. Some have suggested smoke studies to identify areas of mechanical turbulence. But useful information could also be gained by simply measuring the temperature of sheltered zones in crosswind conditions and comparing it to the temperature at takeoff.


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 Post subject: Re: Paragliding Fatality at Torrey - May 12, 2012
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:38 pm 
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There is no question that there can be thermals at Torrey, I've managed to pull off several 360s and climb up in the bowl to the south and north in the canyon mid way up the golf course. There is known to be a thermal that can develop on the water near the pier, but I've never caught that. The real question is how turbulent have the thermals been at Torrey in the past? Well my experience there is limited, but I have never felt a thermal that I would describe as even mildly turbulent. I've never experienced any sort of hard edges at Torrey. There are many paraglider pilots flying there that have never flown a mountain site (or not in a very long time) and don't even know what thermal turbulence feels like (which probably means little experience in collapse recovery). Regardless whether it was thermal or mechanical turbulence, the accident should be a lesson to all pilots to keep a respectful distance from terrain, especially if you are low and slow. If the PG pilot had been 50 feet further out she might not have hit any turbulence and if she did have a collapse there would have been a little more room to recover.


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 Post subject: Re: Paragliding Fatality at Torrey - May 12, 2012
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2024 11:42 pm 
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It will be 12 years next month since Pam died.

On page 1, Sam posted a link to hanggliding.org. The post at that link is now gone:

       http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?p=281623
Attachment:
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On page 2, Sam posted a link to a 10 News story. The news story at that link is now gone:

       http://www.10news.com/news/31054994/detail.html
Attachment:
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But the topics on paraglidingforum.com that Joe posted are still there:

       https://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=47773
       https://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=48216

And after all these years, there is still no meaningful oversight at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

How many deaths will it take till we know
that too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

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Every human at every point in history has an opportunity to choose courage over cowardice. Look around and you will find that opportunity in your own time.


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 Post subject: Re: Paragliding Fatality at Torrey - May 12, 2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2024 12:20 am 
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Here are the posts from https://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=47773:

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Mon May 14, 2012 13:50 UTC
Post subject: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Sadly a North Carolina pilot who often visited and flew at Torrey Pines with her boyfriend crashed there on Saturday with a dire result.

http://www.10news.com/news/31054994/detail.html

The conditions were nearly ideal 9 - 10 MPH winds out of the west with, I believe, perhaps a small southerly component. No definative word on what occurred. A surfer reported witnessing a partial collapse before she hit the cliff.

I am told that this is the first pilot fatality at Torrey in many years.

My heartfelt condolences to her boyfriend (I heard recent husband?), family and friends.

surferbyday wrote:
Posted: Mon May 14, 2012 14:28 UTC
Post subject: RIP


So sad, Pam was so sweet and cheery. Her cute accent, big smile and infectious enthusiasm will be greatly missed.
My deepest feelings to the family.
:cry:

lvcat2004 wrote:
Posted: Tue May 15, 2012 1:22 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


So sorry to hear about the accident. I am curious to know what happened.

BTW, I have always been bothered by "tandem always have the right of way" rule at Torrey, and I believe that rule was still there when I flew a couple of months ago, but I cannot find that rule on their website anymore. Did that rule go away now? (as it should have long time ago).

http://sandiegofreeflight.com/jm170/ind ... site-rules

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Tue May 15, 2012 3:03 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


At this point what I have heard about what led to the incident is hearsay so it doesn't make sense to me to repeat it. We all want to learn from incidents but we will have to wait to see if there is anything to learn from this tragic accident. It was early in the day and I don't recall there being a lot of gliders in the air at the time of the accident.

I have only been flying at Torrey for about a year and I have never heard a rule that says tandems have right-of-way at all times. That said, most of us try to give way to tandems when possible.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 18:21 UTC
Post subject: A little bit of preliminary analysis ...


Plaikind wrote:
The conditions were nearly ideal 9 - 10 MPH winds out of the west with, I believe, perhaps a small southerly component.


I captured the wind history from the local site and published a brief analysis at the US Hawks Hang Gliding forum:

http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1031 (scroll down to the wind plot and image of the site)

From the wind history and the cliff configuration (shown in that topic), I believe it was a northwest wind that may have contributed to the death. Those conclusions are certainly not definitive, but they might help shed a little more light on what happened. Any feedback on that analysis is welcome, but please remember that I'm currently limited to one post per day on this forum ... so please be patient.

lvcat2004 wrote:
BTW, I have always been bothered by "tandem always have the right of way" rule at Torrey, and I believe that rule was still there when I flew a couple of months ago, but I cannot find that rule on their website anymore. Did that rule go away now? (as it should have long time ago).

http://sandiegofreeflight.com/jm170/ind ... site-rules

I was bothered by that rule as well. I believe it was put into place by David Jebb who operated that site for nearly 10 years. I defeated him as USHPA Regional Director in December of 2008 and he left Torrey Pines within a few weeks of that defeat. I believe the tandem right of way rule was repealed after a collision between two paragliders which was believed to be related to that rule a few months after Jebb had left. That's one of several improvements that I believe has resulted from my efforts at reforming that site. There's still a lot more work to be done.

P.S. I posted this just a few minutes ago, and I can already see the "haters" dropping my Karma. This does not contribute to helpful dialog, and it does not reflect well on the hospitality of this forum.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 18:48 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Bob,

Thanks for the further information on the wind direction. I was on the ground at the time of the crash and I must of taken note of the direction during one of the times when it shifted south. I have been told that the spot she went down is subject to rotors when the wind is cross. So sad.

Paul

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Fri May 18, 2012 20:32 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Here's a picture that combines some of the US Hawks topic analysis into a single image.

Attachment:
torrey_cliff_crash_area_lines_4.png
torrey_cliff_crash_area_lines_4.png [ 755.68 KiB | Viewed 336 times ]


The background image shows the general location around the incident. The red arrow shows a 315 degree wind direction (45 degrees to the normal westerly wind) drawn tangent to the point of land jutting westward north of the incident location. The wind history chart from that day (lower left insert) shows a mostly westerly (270 degree) wind with two spikes of about 315 degrees just after noon (around the reported time of the incident). Those two spikes would tend to produce a 45 degree crosswind as shown by the large red line.

The blue shaded areas (blue lines) show a portion of the normally flyable ridge that might be experiencing mechanical turbulence from the point of land and palm trees to the northwest of those shaded areas. From the reports I've seen, this is where the downed pilot was found.

None of this is conclusive evidence of what might have happened, but it is important for all pilots to remember how fast wind directions can change and to be aware of how those changes may interact with the local terrain.

It's always sad to lose a pilot. It's even sadder to not learn anything from that loss.

Fly safe.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Sat May 19, 2012 21:37 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


I know many are struggling with how this could happen and my sympathies go out to Pam’s many friends, family, and love ones. It is never easy to lose someone from our community.

I hope this helps.

Bob presented a good graphical representation of the extreme north component of the wind switch observed at the Torrey weather station. However I believe that there were more factors than just the north component and terrain rotor that would be caused by a normal sea air day. It was also a dynamic day that was early and just building more like you would see inland; plus there were additional factors that may have contributed.

I talked with Jeremy yesterday who is writing up the official report, and has been dealing with all the public and press. Not an easy thing to do when you are close to all the factors, to be objective and be sensitive to all parties at the same time. No pilot actually witnessed the incident happen, so there can only be speculation based on what was seen up to and after the accident. One thing to note is that they were not flying Tandem flights at the time due to conditions.

It has been implied in some other forums that the TP staff has feed the press some misinformation for one reason or another. I do not believe that to be the case. If anyone has dealt with the press, they would understand that most articles are written by people that do not speak or understand our sports technical language or terms. The reporters write based on their interpretations from what they heard or read elsewhere from various sources.

I have no doubt that Jeremy’s report will be very complete and objective while assessing all the factors that might have played a role in this incident. At the same time, I believe that there will be some additional proactive safety measures and policies put into place at Torrey based on current weather conditions and pilot awareness education.

I was not at Torrey on that day but I was on the coast 15 miles north outside doing yard work at that time. I also did weather checks for some newer pilots that were interested in flying inland sites later in the day.

Note that this time of year on the coast, we will cycle between Peak Heating and Peak Cooling/ fogged in days until the Pacific heats up to be closer to our summer air temperature. Until that time, on peak heating days, there is a large temperature delta between the ocean and air temperatures. This also has an influence on our more inland Mountain and Convergence XC sites.

Here is my take on some of the factors and Jeremy indicated the conditions at Torrey were similar to what I was observing up in Carlsbad right on the coast:
- Classic Sothern California late spring peak heating day:
- High Laps Rate from sea level to 3K ft AGL
- Strong/ Hard Inversion at 3K-4K until 80 F
- Above 4K good laps rate
- Morning started out katabatic out of the east.
- The day was just turning on at about 11 and the west started to lightly kick in.
- Around 12 it was getting gusty and very switchy (almost up to 180) as local thermals were releasing and air was rushing in to fill those voids. The generally light west base wind was being over powered by stronger punchy thermic winds.

Other Factors that might have had an influence:
- Day was just turning on to sustain flight
- Conditions had not stabilized for the day and were south and switchy
- Light sea base wind mixed with strong small punchy thermals.
- Reported pilot altitudes at the time were basically at ridge level.
- Tandem flight operations were on a flight conditions hold.
- Pilot was a P3 rated pilot with primarily costal site experience and limited inland or thermic flight experience.
- Those that fly costal sites a lot or exclusively can be lulled into complacency by the relatively easy and relatively non thermic flight conditions that do not require active piloting skills. This can catch those pilots off guard when encountering thermic conditions.
- Strong punchy thermals can cause wing surges and lead to deflations if not actively flown.
- Ridge level flight dose not leave altitude for encountering and correcting wing surges or deflations when encountering thermals.
- Wing Selection: Pilot was flying an EN “D” wing and reportedly was thinking of down grading to a lesser level wing.
- Wing Loading, pilot may have been light on wing
- EN “D” wings require precise active piloting when encountering mechanical terrain induced and or thermic turbulence.

Some side bar comments:
I fly the same wing and fly it in some pretty radical conditions. As far as EN D wings go, I think it is one of the most stable and all together EN D wings out there. However, I fly it at near close to the top of the weight range and have years of active piloting experience.
I do not think this was the single factor, as any PG or HG could have difficulties with a quick 75 deg wind shift, but even if one only flies costal sites, I am not sure why a P3 would be flying an EN “D” wing.

I am not sure if this was a factor, but I have seen many pilots flying close to the contours of the ridge line and especially when it gets light. This is really not necessary on large cliff faces like at Torrey or in the Mountains and should be avoided as it only exposes you to more potential of rotor turbulence. One should think of a raged ridge line as one smooth surface and fly an imaginary line smoothing out the cliff face connecting the outer most prominent points. This would keep you completely out of the blue shaded area in Bob’s diagram.

Again, my sympathies go out to Pam’s many friends, family, and love ones and I hope this helps.

Steve

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:24 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Steve,

Thank you for the thoughtful analysis. As a relatively new pilot I believe it is critically important to learn what I can from this tragic incident. I was told on the day of the accident that she was flying a high performance wing and I certainly wondered how much of a factor that played. I hope that we learn more once Jeremy completes his report.

Zoro wrote:
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 15:48 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Hi ,
would be really good to know what wing she was flying and what experience she had .

Robert

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Fri May 25, 2012 20:41 UTC
Post subject: Follow Through?


Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
... I talked with Jeremy yesterday who is writing up the official report, ...
... I have no doubt that Jeremy’s report will be very complete and objective ...


Steve,

Since you're in pretty good contact with Jeremy, and since you've taken an interest in this incident, I would like to ask you to post Jeremy's report to this topic when it comes out or to ask Jeremy to post it if you cannot do so. Can you do that?

When these incidents happen, many people (including both of us so far) may speculate as to the contributing causes. But it seems far less seldom that we ever see an actual report. So if you could ensure that this will be followed up, it would be a great service to the paragliding community everywhere.

Thanks.
Bob Kuczewski

JayKim wrote:
Posted: Fri May 25, 2012 23:44 UTC
Post subject: TP accident


I would like to see a copy/link to the report. I really miss seeing the accident/incidents reporting in the USHPA magazine. I don't think anyone "likes" reading these things, but I would like to think I learn or take away something that may help me if I am ever in a similar situation...

Kim

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Sat May 26, 2012 7:30 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Hi Bob,
No request is or was needed, as I have been talking with Jeremy about posting it for him as he really does not post on the forums. I saw the preliminary report on Thursday and I should have it from him to post in the next few days.

Zoro,
You could mouse over my pilot profile to see what wing I fly. It was reported that She was flying the same wing and size I fly but her hook in wt was atleast ~35-50 lb lighter than my own. This was a relatively new wing for her. She had ~ 500 flights and 400hrs mostly at Torrey. No SIV and limited to no non costal thermic flying exp. She lived in SC but visited Torrey frequently.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 5:49 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Might I respectfully request that the discussion regarding pros and cons of Torrey staff and the personal attacks on and/or between posters be taken to another topic. This one is about the tragic death of a fellow pilot and what we can learn from it. Out of respect for her lets keep it focused on that.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 19:03 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


I would like to see this thread remain on a single topic, that of Pam’s unfortunate incident and what we can learn from it. The non flight incident portion of this thread should be moved to its own topic.

As a respected independent XC Pilot that only flies Torrey on the rare occasion and one that has been working to promote safe flying and site preservation for all of our gliding sports for the past 10 years at each of our sites in Sothern California. I do not see some of this thread being productive but rather agitative and disrespectful to a sensitive and tragic subject.

Please be respectful to Pam and her surviving husband. The primary Incident Report, and the basis of the Jeremy’s Torrey Report was written by Dave Ledford, Pam’s husband.

Her husband Dave is a long time respected HG XC comp pilot that got his H5 rating in 1986. He continues to fly his HG and recently also started to fly PG to fly with Pam. If one was to call foul or take any action, it should be him.

I do not see negligence on the part of the Torrey Staff in this incidence. If anything, they have been doing all the right things with regard to this incident.

I will be posting the reports from Jeremy in the next day or so.

Steve

Forum Moderators wrote:
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 16:02 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Discussion of Torrey Pines has been moved here. Please keep discussion here focused on this particular accident. Posts that are even partially about general site history, site politics or personal invective will be moved to the other thread.

Heartfelt condolences from all of us to Pam's family and friends.
_________________
The Moderation Team

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 18:25 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Here are the two Incident/ Accident Reports provided by Jeremy Bishop as written and submitted to USHPA and other agencies by David Ledford and Jeremy Bishop. (Note that I Xed out personal information. Dave’s report was hand written and I took care to retype exactly as written on the form)

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Incident Report: (as written by David Ledford)

Date: 5/12/2012
Name: Pam Hargett
PG
Address: XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX SC 29349
USHGA # 86431
Weather Conditions: Clear: Wind W – WNW 10 mph

In your own words, describe what occurred:
Glider flying from north to south at cliff level or 10% below. As per eye witness on the beach "Left side wing (cliff side) partial collapse, glider rotated into the cliff”. Pilot had no room for recovery. l2:00 early in the flying day. Flying started at 10:30. Pam started flying at 11:30. The air was a little unstable due to the early thermal condition. Pilot was not flying out of bounds, and was flying in an area we all fly.
Evaluation: Partial collapse with no room to recover. Pilot has over 500 flights and 400 hrs at this site. Pilot was conservative, safe, and proficient. Note: County of San Diego Medical Examiner Michael Ellano ID#5 Cause of Death: Accidental-Multiple Blunt Force.

Witnesses:
David Ledford
USHGA# 16498

_________________________________________________________________________________________


Torrey Report:
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Paragliding Accident Factual Information
Prepared by: Jeremy Bishop

Intent: To provide as many facts with as little speculation as possible. This document will serve as a basis for further interpretation and speculation as to possible cause.

Pilots Name: Pam Hargett
Pilots Age:52
Pilots Weight: 150 aprox
Pilots Sex: Female

Pilots History: P-3 , SIV: no USHPA# 86431

Glider: Omega 8 -27m
Harness: Advance Lightness
Reserve: Annular 24
Helmet: Icaro
Vario: Yes
GPS: No
Radio: No
Accident Date: May 12, 2012
Accident Location: Torrey Pines Gliderport
Launch Time: 12:00 -12:15

Time of incident: 25-30 mins after takeoff
Time of 911 call: 1-2 min after incident
Altitude information: Launch 320'
At final location 130'-150' MSL
Condition of Equipment: Nothing unusual, all new with only few hours

Launch Conditions as Reported by other Pilots:
(David Ledford - Husband)
Phone: xxx- xxx-xxxx
USHPA # 16498
Clear: wind - w- wnw – 10 mph

Pilot flying from north to south at cliff level or 10% below. As per eye witness on the beach/surfer "Left side wing (cliff side) partial collapse, glider rotated into the cliff'. Pilot had no room for recovery. l2:00 early in the flying day. Flying started at 10:30. Pam started flying at 11:30. The air was a little unstable due to the early thermal condition. Pilot was not flying out of bounds, and was flying in a area we all fly.
Evaluation: Pilot has over 500 flights and 400 hrs at this site. Pilot was conservative, safe, and proficient. Note: County of San Diego Medical Examiner Michael Ellano ID#5 Cause of Death: Accidental-Multiple Blunt Force.

(Jeremy Bishop, TPG Manager)
Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx
USHPA #83741

The day started as a typical day at TPG. At the time of the incident the wind was a bit unstable and still very early before the dominate westerly wind really started to flow. The tide was low creating turbulent thermal activity. I did not see the incident nor was I flying, I was on the ground at the gliderport setting up for the day events. People had started to fly and did not have much concern of the lighter conditions at the time.

Around 12:30 David Ledford landed next to me at the LZ and informed me that Pam had crashed below the Mansions. He also informed me he had all ready called 911 and they were on the way. The rescue operations began immediately after the incident as the life guards had been close to the crash site. Communications began with the life guards vie telephone to determine if a helicopter would be needed and it was confirmed to clear the air space for air rescue. The rescue and air lift took a total of 90 min, and shortly after the pilot was pulled from the cliff and flown to the hospital it was confirmed that she was dead at first response.

I can only speculate but I feel the conditions were light and a bit switchy, before the dominate westerly's had begun. She was low on the cliff on a downwind and lea side of a point on the ridge. I believe the inside wing had a partial deflation causing a forward spin into the cliff. I believe the extra centrifugal force and speed was a huge contribution to the fatality.

Note: the glider was leading edge against the cliff and the pilot was hanging below unconscious.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 0:35 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


It appears that USHPA has already removed her from their Member Directory. Is there any information about her training or instructors? Did she learn through the Torrey Pines Concession?

I've heard complaints that pilots trained at Torrrey do not get sufficient mountain / rough air training. Is there any way to find out if this was a contributing cause?

Also, I object to the removal of posts which were made here in response to Steve's posts ... while his posts remain. The practice of removing posts does not contribute to an open exchange of information.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 1:55 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Looks like all on topic posts remain in this thread.
I think we should focus more on the what, than the who.

But since you asked, I looked up her USHGPA rating before it was brought down and I do not remember who signed her P3 off as I did not recognize the name. She had her P3 for ~ 4 years with FL & RS sign offs only. I understand that her early P1/P2 training was from Torrey.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
- Pilot was a P3 rated pilot with primarily costal site experience and limited inland or thermic flight experience.
- Those that fly costal sites a lot or exclusively can be lulled into complacency by the relatively easy and relatively non thermic flight conditions that do not require active piloting skills. This can catch those pilots off guard when encountering thermic conditions.
- Strong punchy thermals can cause wing surges and lead to deflations if not actively flown.
- Ridge level flight dose not leave altitude for encountering and correcting wing surges or deflations when encountering thermals.
- Wing Selection: Pilot was flying an EN “D” wing and reportedly was thinking of down grading to a lesser level wing.
- Wing Loading, pilot may have been light on wing
- EN “D” wings require precise active piloting when encountering mechanical terrain induced and or thermic turbulence.
Steve

As in my 1st post, I think the real issues are:
- she chose to do the majority if not all of her flying at Torrey for the past 4 years and did not stay current with any kind of demanding conditions that required active flying.
- The wing was relatively new to her this season
- She was light on her wing. Probably in the specification range? But right at the bottom.
- Ridge level flight does not leave altitude for encountering and correcting wing surges or deflations when encountering thermals.
- if the day is thermic, early, nervous and or twitchy, do not fly in close to the terrain.

I know if I do not fly frequently, I start to feel rusty. I do not normaly consider flying Torrey as flight hours to keep the rust off for active flying skills.

Note that she did not get her new “D” wing from whom you think she did.

dorant wrote:
Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 3:06 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Well said Steve !

I had the following vague impression before (might be wrong, do not fly there much):

At Torrey some pilots like to fly wings way above their skill level, at bottom or below the certified weight range.
This means they can stay highest and stay up even in weak conditions.
However they assume that they will NEVER get a collapse at Torrey, so they can get away with it.

This kind of thinking might be more general, not just for coastal sites
(not to mention Torrey which one of the many).
Compare smooth flatland flying and strong mountain conditions.
Once a Hungarian pilot told me, that "I could fly this and that wing over here, but not in the Alps".

WRONG.

Even at generally mild places flukes can happen.
One should always be ready for the worst and choose the wing accordingly.
If not prepared for everything, safety is up to chance.
Tens of thousands of flights go well this way, but there is always a small chance that the next flight will be the sad exception.

Why don't people consider the worst case ?
Usually the probability of the event is more important than the extent of the consequence.
(Maybe that's why more severe /capital crime punishment does not seem to reduce crime)
It the bad thing happens rarely, people will take the risk, even if their life is at stake.

On an other note, collapses should be accepted as a normal event, which needs skills to handle (appropriate for the wing).
The report indicates that the pilot did not / could not counter-steer the collapsed glider,
and the resulted turn drove her into the cliffs at high speed.

In some countries P3 equivalent pilots must demonstrate several SIV exercises,
including counter-steering and turning against a sustained 50% collapse.
I find this one particularly important, saved me a few times.

Unfortunately SIV skills are not mandatory even for P5 in the US.
And even if the pilot goes on her own, some of them do not teach this exercise.
It is tough problem, because not all areas have the possibility,
and it takes costly travel, travel time, and expensive powerboat towing.
So unfortunately the prices can be very high, and such a rule may be hard to introduce.

Deep condolences to friends and family

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 4:11 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


This largely a response to Paul's post in the other thread, but I think this belongs here in that I am building on Szilard’s post here.

I am glad Paul had received Mt experience in his training. However, all must understand that it does not stop there and one never stops learning after their direct instruction days.

I agree with Szilard in that SIV training is good, but it must not be confused with or considered as a substitute to building and maintaining active piloting skills. SIV training helps you to understand what happens and experience how your wing will react when the Sh_t hits the fan. It will also will help you learn what to do when the Sh_t hits the fan, how to stabilize your wing, and how to recover your wing from those situations. SIV also helps you understand how to use the energy in your wing to recover your wing better and or use that energy for better handling in rough conditions.

However, there is no substitute for building and maintaining “active” piloting skills. These take years to perfect and is best approached in small doses working your way into bigger and bigger conditions. Then onto more progressive wings. But realize, each time you step up in wing class, or even to a new wing in the same class, one must take a step back to lesser conditions for a while until you regain experience for what that particular wing likes and needs for active piloting inputs.

Building solid active piloting skills will help you keep your glider sunny side up and/or going where you want it to go while largely preventing the Sh_t from hitting the fan in the first place. Not to say that Sh_t won’t happen, It will. But if you have built solid active piloting skills, your need for big event recovery will be reduced in frequency and largely be reduced to small and limited event recoveries.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 6:18 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Quote:
I agree with Szilard in that SIV training is good, but it must not be confused with or considered as a substitute to building and maintaining active piloting skills.

Perhaps it is more appropriate for another thread but I would welcome hearing how best to hone active piloting skills. I have read all I can find about active piloting and stay aware of it while flying. However, I don't know if I am doing it well or not. Certainly, I would not move up to a higher performance wing until I knew the answer to that question.

In some respects and SIV is the opposite of active piloting in that you are purposly causing collapses, stalls and other issues. On the other hand a SIV does allow you to develop a feel for how your wing responds to exagerated inputs and that is helpful. Perhaps the best way to practice active piloting is through kiting? Are their others ways to hone this skill other than experience.

lvcat2004 wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:58 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Paul, I don't believe that kiting has much to do with active piloting. In kiting you are looking at the wing and making visual adjustments, although you DO get some feeling of pressure in your risers.

In active flying you are "feeling" the wing and not looking at it. I believe that the best way to learn active flying is just that....doing a lot of "active flying" in bumpy air

I have flown at Torrey before and I did see a quite a bit of people with EN D, and comp wings. One of them I can't remember his name was a very pleasant older gentleman was flying a comp wing, and he said that he flies almost 100% at Torrey. Not to be critical at all, but I got the impression that it was somewhat of a strange thing to fly a comp wing at Torrey as you really are not trying to go anywhere from there. From a mostly mountain and rough air pilot like me, having a marginally better glide ratio at the cost of much more dynamic wing isn't worth it for me personally, but in laminar air flying like Torrey, perhaps it isn't a big deal and maybe people who fly there primarily have a different mindset about flying.

As for SIV, I have done it before with my old wing, but as I fly in rough air all the time, I feel like I'm doing a mini SIV all the time with a few collapses here and there. But I just got a new high-end EN C wing so I'm heading to SIV again to test the limits of my wing Very Happy. I do think that it's nice to know what happens when SHTF and to fix it when it does happen, but I do believe that active piloting is a necessity so that you don't get into SHTF situation in the first place.

Amir wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:52 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


lvcat2004 wrote:
Paul, I don't believe that kiting has much to do with active piloting. In kiting you are looking at the wing and making visual adjustments, although you DO get some feeling of pressure in your risers.

Actually, kiting can help improve your active flying quite a bit. Don't look at your wing and play around trying to balance on various objects. It all helps build body memory which is exactly what active flying is. It's not something you do consciously.

Amir

Grecian wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:01 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


lvcat2004 wrote:
In kiting you are looking at the wing and making visual adjustments


Not if you're any good at it 8)

Seriously, kiting is very good practice for active flying, especially if you've got a bit of turbulence to handle.

armadillo wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:14 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


I still remember my first proper collapse as a low airtime pilot. My wing broken into a horseshow and right in front of me in a flash while flying uncomfortably low over rocks. I had no SIV but many hours of hard core GH. I didn't have to time to think what to do, all I did was watch as my hands immediately sorted the mess out before my brain had time to crap its pants. It was pure GH that trained my hands. An SIV will give you the confidence to not freeze when things happen to you in flight, the muscle memory to recognise and act on the wing's demands takes much longer than the few minutes of each SIV flight and is sculpted very well by GH.
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Vidimart wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 14:52 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


well, we can discuss for hours about the best technical but I would like to understand why an experienced pilot in a well known soaring place lost her life.
I mean was it overconfidence? Was a tricky result of a new advanced wing coupled with an exceptional rotor? How many pilots got a wake there and
was able to tell the story later? Is it excluded any turbulence induced by another wing, namely a tandem wing? For the respect of the victim we have to see
clear and try to give an explanation. For example eye witness that exclude the presence of other wing nearby, the already supposed change of wind direction,
the fact the pilot was light on the wing, other factors? If she buried the opposite brake sending the wing in stall could she avoid the fatal swing against the rocks?
Could she have saved her life? Like Armadillo I was in one of this situation in a dhv1 wing, in my case a catabatic wind later in the afternoon on a steep rock cliff, I managed to stall the opposite side, the wing horseshoed but I luckily changed my course direction so that when the wing reopened I was heading away from the cliff, luckily it was quite tall since I last more than 20 meters in the process. I still remember that as all the time I hit a thermal bubble in thermodinamic flight I headed for the hill side, but that time I hit a strong downstream air flux and lost about 40-50% of the wing on the hill side....
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Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:16 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Thanks for getting us back on topic. As I wrote when I asked the active piloting question, it belongs on another thread but I don't know how to ask the moderator to split it off.

There were no tandems in the air at the time of the crash and no other gliders around her - which is why no pilot saw the actual crash. My understanding is that she was scratching quite close to the terrain and may have gotten into a rotor as the wind clocked around significantly.

Pike wrote:
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:10 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


This incident reminds me of another not so long ago here in the UK. Almost exactly the same scenario; cliffs, wind a little north of west (west facing cliff), rock buttresses sticking out from the main cliffline - pilot encountered turbulence near one of these buttresses, was low, partial collapse, hit the cliff and died. It was the pilots first flight after CP but he had been told not to go near the buttresses as there was north in the wind. He would not have been on a performance wing, 1-2 at best.

I know I have learnt a big lesson with both of these incidents, which is important because I tend to fly low. If I find myself flying cliffs I am now extremely aware of where the wind is coming from and where buttress turbulence may occur. Seemingly at Torre, thermic turbulence is far higher than on the beaches we encounter here.

wingover wrote:
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:32 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Cliff / coastal flying can be very technical and if you dont get it then you have made your first mistake. We fly the West Wales coast and certain sites when the tide goes out will cause thermals from the rocks and sand. We are always very cautious of this and it can get choppy. The day of the UK incident we were flying Aberystwyth up the coast and the conditions were perfect that day for us.

Any loss is sad to see.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 15:00 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Quote:
If I find myself flying cliffs I am now extremely aware of where the wind is coming from and where buttress turbulence may occur.


This incident has certainly made me more aware of these issues. I had not previously thought that much about the other factor cited, the fact that it was pretty early in the day when the wind was building in. As was shown from the wind chart it was quite switchy, changing ~45 degrees from west in both directions.

Thus while she might have a ideal west wind as she approached the terrain it may have turned cross quickly. In other words, in such conditions, knowing where the wind is coming from as you enter a dangerous zone may not be enough.

James Bradley wrote:
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 23:14 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Very sorry to read about Pam. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

Weak sea breeze at a coastal site tends to inspire us to fly very close to terrain to stay up. At Torrey this approach is fine on so many days that it's a challenge to notice when a day is different. It sounds like this day was quite thermic, with a cold ocean, low tide and bright sun all conspiring with the light wind.

Josh Cohn wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 16:44 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


James Bradley wrote:
...It sounds like this day was quite thermic, with a cold ocean, low tide and bright sun all conspiring with the light wind.


A small correction: The ocean in San Diego is not that cold. People surf without wetsuits at times. And if it were very cold, like here in San Francisco, thermals would not be much of a factor except when the air is even colder.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 17:51 UTC
Post subject: RE: Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines


Plaikind wrote:
This incident has certainly made me more aware of these issues.
...
In other words, in such conditions, knowing where the wind is coming from as you enter a dangerous zone may not be enough.


Flying (like driving or swimming or any other life-endangering activity) requires an assessment of a risk containing random components. When evaluating any random variable, you must look not only at the mean, but at the standard deviation as well. I was taught to assume that the conditions are always worse than the worst observation you've made. You must fly as if you are in THOSE conditions at all times because those are the conditions that can be present at any moment.

I know that many people don't like to hear the names "Rick Masters" or "PDMC", but Rick makes a good point. Paragliding can put your life at the mercy of chance when you're near the ground in any conditions which might cause a collapse. It's important to understand and have good estimates for the probability that you might fly into a non-recoverable situation. Then you're armed to make the choice as to whether you want to take that risk or not.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 19:09 UTC
Post subject: Call for an independent investigation


I would like the record of this topic to reflect my call for an independent investigation of this incident.

In a previous post, I had called for an independent investigation but I had extended that call to include a policy that all incidents be investigated by an independent body. That post was removed with this note from the moderator:

Quote:
Mods note: this post was moved from the thread about the fatality because a "call for the establishment of a more independent means of investigation" is not specific to that incident and thus belongs in this thread.


So while I'm not allowed to request an independent investigation policy in this topic, I would like the record to reflect that I am calling for an independent investigation of this particular incident.

Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Paragliding Fatality at Torrey - May 12, 2012
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2024 1:15 am 
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The moderators at Paragliding Forum decided to split off some posts from that topic to create a new topic titled "Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics". Here are those posts from the new topic on ParaglidingForum.com:

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:17 UTC
Post subject: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Mods note: The first few posts here have been split from the Fatal Crash at Torrey Pines thread. Please post to the appropriate thread.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
I have no doubt that Jeremy’s report will be very complete and objective while assessing all the factors that might have played a role in this incident.

I was a USHPA Regional Director when I witnessed a young student pilot flying out of control on a landing at Torrey near the hang glider setup area. The student clipped a top wire on one hang glider and bent a washout strut on another before finally coming to rest between a few other hang gliders. He was very lucky that he wasn't impaled on a king post.

I waited a little while for everything to settle down (and the pilot to regain his composure) before I walked up, introduced myself, and asked the student who his instructor was. The words were barely out of my mouth when one of the Torrey instructors (Brad Geary) ran up telling the pilot not to say anything to me - a USHPA Regional Director. The young student pilot was obviously caught in the middle and I could see that he was really stressed, so I backed down from asking any more questions.

Of course, it later turned out that the student pilot was Brad Geary's brother and was flying without any rating or even a USHPA membership under Brad Geary's "supervision". I reported the incident to USHPA, not because of the accident, but because USHPA instructors shouldn't be telling USHPA students not to divulge who's training them when asked by USHPA Directors. No action was ever taken, and I never saw any report of the incident.

I don't think there's much to "cover up" in this case, and so I suspect that the report may be as accurate as they can produce. But the Torrey concession has a long history of covering up all sorts of events, and I think that's part of the ongoing problems at that site.

surferbyday wrote:
Posted: Sat May 26, 2012 14:46 UTC
Post subject: Sad


So pathetic that Bob is using this as an opportunity to push his hate for Torrey. This was an unfortunate event and not the fault of anybody at Torrey.

FYI- Bob was the first director in USHPA history to be recalled and stripped of his position.

Rest in peace Pam.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:20 UTC
Post subject: Re: Sad


surferbyday (jonie millhouse) wrote:
So pathetic that Bob is using this as an opportunity to push his hate for Torrey.

Jonie, you are intentionally confusing a flying site (Torrey) with the current concessionaire that runs it (Robin/Jeremy/Jebb?). This is the kind of intellectual dishonesty that characterizes so many of the "insiders" at that site.

It's ridiculous to say that I have "hate for Torrey". You say that because you want to confuse people into thinking that I'm somehow against the flying site known as "Torrey" - which is totally false. I fly either my PG or HG there several times a week (take a look at my avatar right in front of you). So you're lying to people to say that I "hate" Torrey. If you want to see how much I "hate" Torrey, please check out the photos from my flight there just yesterday ( http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1045 ). Does that look like someone who "hates" Torrey?

surferbyday (jonie millhouse) wrote:
This was an unfortunate event and not the fault of anybody at Torrey.

Well, I guess you can save Jeremy the trouble of an investigation since you already know the outcome. Do you know who trained her? Could it be the folks operating the Torrey concession?

surferbyday (jonie millhouse) wrote:
FYI- Bob was the first director in USHPA history to be recalled and stripped of his position.

More intellectual dishonesty. I defeated David Jebb with more votes than any other Director in the entire country. That's a fact. And I actually got MORE votes during the recall election than when I originally defeated Jebb. So while you want to portray this as an embarrassment for me, the truth is that there are a very large number of pilots (maybe 40% of our Region?) who voted to keep me as their Director and who supported my reforms at Torrey. I guess those pilots (probably mostly HG pilots) don't count to you. Furthermore, I'll bet that I'd have done even better if you and the other Jebb lovers weren't spreading lies through your password-protected private site where I couldn't post any replies to your smears. For you to say I was "stripped of my position" rather than I "lost an election" is another example of your dishonesty. Is every Director who loses an election "stripped of their position"? Shameful Jonie.

surferbyday (jonie millhouse) wrote:
Rest in peace Pam.

On this, we agree. But I'll bet Pam will rest a lot better if we investigate what really happened and not cover it up for the sake of what you call "Torrey".

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 16:13 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Plaikind wrote:
Might I respectfully request that the discussion regarding pros and cons of Torrey staff and the personal attacks on and/or between posters be taken to another topic. This one is about the tragic death of a fellow pilot and what we can learn from it.

Unfortunately, the two are intertwined because the Torrey staff will be writing the report. They have an obvious conflict of interest in any incidents at that site, and their reports must always be viewed in that context.

I would personally like to see an investigation by the Torrey Pines City Park Advisory Board which includes representatives from all of the flight disciplines that fly at the site. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen. As a second choice, I'd like to see an investigation by the Torrey Pines Soaring Council. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen either. But even if it did, many of the Soaring Council representatives have been 'bought off" by favors from the concessionaire, and any critical clubs (like the Torrey Hawks Hang Gliding Club) have been kept off of the Soaring Council by the existing members. So the Council's report would be less objective than the Advisory Board's.

I'm sorry to say that the reporting and investigating of incidents at Torrey is one of the ongoing problems at that site. And unfortunately, it is exactly this "political situation" which makes it hard to learn objective lessons from such tragic deaths. That's a tragedy on top of a tragedy because it cripples our ability to learn the objective truth from these incidents and prevent their recurrence.

Brimacfly wrote:
Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 21:42 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Plaikind wrote:
Might I respectfully request that the discussion regarding pros and cons of Torrey staff and the personal attacks on and/or between posters be taken to another topic. This one is about the tragic death of a fellow pilot and what we can learn from it.

Unfortunately, the two are intertwined because the Torrey staff will be writing the report. They have an obvious conflict of interest in any incidents at that site, and their reports must always be viewed in that context.

I would personally like to see an investigation by the Torrey Pines City Park Advisory Board which includes representatives from all of the flight disciplines that fly at the site. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen. As a second choice, I'd like to see an investigation by the Torrey Pines Soaring Council. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen either. But even if it did, many of the Soaring Council representatives have been 'bought off" by favors from the concessionaire, and any critical clubs (like the Torrey Hawks Hang Gliding Club) have been kept off of the Soaring Council by the existing members. So the Council's report would be less objective than the Advisory Board's.

I'm sorry to say that the reporting and investigating of incidents at Torrey is one of the ongoing problems at that site. And unfortunately, it is exactly this "political situation" which makes it hard to learn objective lessons from such tragic deaths. That's a tragedy on top of a tragedy because it cripples our ability to learn the objective truth from these incidents and prevent their recurrence.

Ease up Bob,
You're making it sound as if Torrey Pines Soaring Council cover up stuff. Such as glider port is sitting a fault line and the tremors are causing shock waves through the atmosphere which could cause a catastrophic collapse while you're flying or UFO's are vectored over Torrey on their way to Area 51 causing wake.
They don't.....do they :shock:

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 16:42 UTC
Post subject: Thanks


Mods note: this post was moved from the thread about the fatality because a "call for the establishment of a more independent means of investigation" is not specific to that incident and thus belongs in this thread.

Thanks for splitting the topic. People need a place to express their sorrow and they also need a place to find out how we can learn from this ... and keep it from happening again (the new topic).

However, since this topic still contains Steve's post stating ...

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
I have no doubt that Jeremy’s report will be very complete and objective while assessing all the factors that might have played a role in this incident.

... then I would like this topic to also reflect my previously stated (and now removed) concern that the Torrey concessionaire has a conflict of interest in investigating all incidents at that site. I would like the topic to also reflect my call for the establishment of a more independent means of investigation - either through the Torrey Pines Soaring Council or the Torrey Pines City Park Advisory Board.

Thanks.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 17:16 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Bob,

Now that the topic is split I will make a comment.

You have indicated that Torrey has a conflict of interest regarding the reporting of an accident at the site they manage and I certainly don't dispute that. However, many organizations have conflicts of interests but that does not automatically mean that they act unethically. It just means that they have an interest in the outcome of whatever the conflict relates to.

An organization with a conflict of interest can provide a balanced report on a situation. What is important is that the conflict of interest be disclosed and recognized by those that will be reviewing the report so that they can employ their own judgment.

I suggest that we wait to review the report before pointing accusing fingers.

As an aside, I don't know what your history with Torrey is so I am unable to judge if your very obvious animosity is warranted.

Paul

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 18:04 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Hi Paul,

For the record, I'm glad the topic was split. Both discussions are important and they deserve their own space.

With regard to this incident, I currently believe that the two spikes in the diagrams were the major contributing factor. There may be other issues related to the Torrey concession (like what kind of training she got, whether that wing was sold to her above her abilities, etc), but I don't anticipate that there will be any "smoking gun" implicating the concession in any serious wrongdoing.

However, that's just in THIS case. There have been other cases where it's very very clear that we need to have an independent body to review those incidents. For example, there was a relatively recent incident where two students collided - both presumably on the radio with the concession's instructors. I've never seen an investigation of that incident, and I am not aware of any action taken. The incident that I mentioned above (where Brad Geary was flying an unrated PG student - his brother - who crashed into the hang glider setup area) was another example where an independent review was desperately needed.

Now if the concessionaire were the only entity available for doing this, then we might have to accept the conflict of interest and try to mitigate it. But this role should fall to either the Torrey Pines Soaring Council or the Torrey Pines City Park Advisory Board. Both of those entities contain multi-disciplinary members and both are supposed to be representative of the flying communities at that site.

Plaikind wrote:
However, many organizations have conflicts of interests but that does not automatically mean that they act unethically.

You are correct in this. You cannot deduce ethics from a conflict of interest. If my posts anticipate an ethics problem (which they do), that comes from 8 years of experience with that concession and not from the conflict of interest itself. But the conflict of interest alone is enough to ask for an independent investigation of all incidents. Indeed, if I were running the concession, I'd be requesting an independent investigation from the Soaring Council or Advisory Board to eliminate even the appearance of impropriety in my operation.

So while I don't know if an independent investigation by someone without a conflict of interest would reveal any additional information in this particular case, I do believe that is the standard to which we should aspire and work toward ... in all cases.

Plaikind wrote:
As an aside, I don't know what your history with Torrey is so I am unable to judge if your very obvious animosity is warranted.

First, please don't confuse the name "Torrey" (a beautiful flying site) with "Air California Adventure" (David Jebb's concession). The concession likes to call themselves "Torrey" because it associates them with something positive. They are a business and not a flying site. That's why I'm generally careful to use terms like "concession" or "concessionaire" when referring to the business.

With regard to the animosity, I could give you a long history of abuses, but I think you might get a better sense of what's going on by reading posts by people like Jonie Millhouse. There's a gang-like clique there at Torrey, and they are the attack dogs for the concessionaire. Some are more subtle (like Steve Rohrbaugh), and others are more obvious (like Jonie). But they're all the pawns of the concessionaire. I suspect most of them (like Steve?) think they're defending "Torrey" (the flying site) because they've been told crazy thinks like "Bob Kuczewski is trying to close Torrey". That's why it's important to understand the difference between a beautiful flying site and a corrupt concessionaire.

Patrick H wrote:
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 18:10 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Let's just end this divisive debate over the aspect of Torrey Pines Politics and conclude that you are all pussies for flying Torrey Pines. Go find a thermal :-)

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 23:38 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Torrey Pawn? Now that is almost comic and funny.
Robin and ½ of the staff do not know my name to face. Those on the staff only know me if they if they get out into to mountains or if they remember me as a past SDHGPA club president. It is either all or nothing with Bob. I have told Bob on more than one occasion, that some of his ideas are and have been good, and I agree with some of them, but his methods are what I do not agree with.

Patrick, I could not agree with you more.
Patrick H wrote:
Let's just end this divisive debate over the aspect of Torrey Pines Politics and conclude that you are all pussies for flying Torrey Pines. Go find a thermal :)

Try this one on for size: http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/595781 Or this one: http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/595781
Or any other of my typical flights on any given weekend.

The thing is, the more you fly XC and/or the more you work for site preservation, the more you realize that all of our sites are interconnected.

I have made intersecting Paragliding XC flight paths from almost each of our Sothern California sites when laid on top of each other: Little Black, Blossom, Horse, Laguna, Big Black, Palomar, the “E” / Elsinore, Winchester Bowl, Saboba, Mt Thomas, Vista Point, Marshal/ Crestline, Ord, and Black Hawk. On top of that, two HG pilots (Glen Volk and Mike Tryon) have flown from Horse to Laguna and on to Torrey. So yes, they are all connected from an XC point of view.

They are also connected from a site preservation point of view in dealing with the land owners and agencies that have the last say in whether we can use a launch and or landing site.

One of the hardest things to do is active relations building and working positively with the Land Owners and Agencies to build trust and have them allow us to use their land and to assure them that they are covered from a liability perspective if doing so. This is especially tough in the US and even more so in CA.

So why does an XC pilot that that has no connection to the Torrey site business what so ever, one that has been critical of operations there in the past, one that rarely flies there and calls it Boring Pines, one that can fly from almost any were to anywhere and just set the SoCal XC PG record of 89.8 miles care about what happens at Torrey?

Well, what happens at Torrey can and will directly affect our other flying sites that we fly XC out of.

The City of San Diego has a direct influence not only over Torrey, but also Little Black, Big Black and Blossom. The City Parks for Torrey and Little Black Open space. The City Water authority for Little Black and Big Black. City and County Parks for Blossom (old park LZ and future open space park).

I have a vested interest in that I want to keep all of our flying sites open and many in our community have put in many hours of their time in proactive positive ways.

It took us 14 years of actively pursuing and working within the political system and groups to get Little Black established as a legal Flight Park. That site was almost lost 10 years ago.

Big Black was lost and shut down due to the City Water authority and environmental activist fighting a water dam in the valley. It took us 15 years to regain the ability to fly there in working with the National Forest.

It took us 15 years for the ability to fly Palomar again, but most recently the Palomar LZ has been lost due to land owner apprehension.

Laguna landing options on our typical XC routes have always been and continue to be on the sensitive side requiring continued and active relations building.



I have told Bob on more than one occasion that some of his ideas are and have been good and I agree with some of them, but his methods are what I do not agree with.

I do not have a problem with having the Soaring Council review incidences and to help review and set site rules and policies. In fact it is a good idea, as that is what it was set up to do, and they will probably do that as normal part of business. If Bob took ½ of his energies and just tried to create a positive working relationship vs creating and inciting an adversarial one and did not take differing points of view as personal attacks, he and all of us would be better off.

What I do have a problem with is having an individual in our community being aggravative, ranting and trying to incite reactions and create issues through guerrilla monkey wrenching tactics in the public eye, taking things out of context and word entrapment, and or pushing cameras in people’s faces can easily tear down the trust and relations in a single afternoon that may have taken years to build and establish. One individual from this standpoint has done more damage than good to all of our flying sites when taking things up with the City and crating public disturbances in the past. It now looks like this individual has started at it again.

I have helped deal with sensitive and hard to deal with tragic accidents like this in the past when encountered at two of our other sites when I was club President. It is not an easy process. I saw where this was going and felt a need to step in and help keep things remain respectful and on topic. The last thing we need is a false which hunt in the public eye. Call it what you like, but I really do not think that is being a pawn.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 0:54 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Bob,

I am responding here to the post you made on the other thread.

Quote:
I've heard complaints that pilots trained at Torrrey do not get sufficient mountain / rough air training. Is there any way to find out if this was a contributing cause?

I am being trained by Torrey and am close to finishing my P3. Not surprisingly, most of my instruction has been at the Torrey site. However, the instructors have often taken students to Mountain sites to continue training there. I haven't made them all but I have been on radio with the instructors several times at Blossum and also at Laguna. In addition, we were encouraged to take an SIV course which I have done. Of note, I saw that although Pam was flying an advanced wing she had not done an SIV course. That certainly is not the fault of the instructor, taking an SIV is a personal decision and I have met longtime pilots who have not done one. Finally, we have discussed weather, thermals and other topics with our instructors.

I don't have another school to compare the Torrey school to so I can't say for sure how high or low the quality is. However, I can attest to the fact that I have received mountain/rough air training. Of course, if I was training in Utah I suspect I would have received much more mountain training but less cliff soaring experience.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 17:55 UTC
Post subject: Responding to Paul and Steve


Plaikind wrote:
I am being trained by Torrey and am close to finishing my P3.
...
I don't have another school to compare the Torrey school to so I can't say for sure how high or low the quality is.

I got all of my training (up through my P3) in the mountains. My pre-P3 sites include Little Black, Horse, Marshall, and Otay. In fact, I didn't fly Torrey until after I got my P3. I got my P3 through Rob in Crestline, and he required 50% collapses at altitude (2 on each side) as part of his P3 requirement. He required that we be able to hold the canopy on a heading throughout the 50% collapses. I can only hope that the Torrey P3 pilots are getting that kind of training.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Torrey Pawn? Now that is almost comic and funny.

If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck ...

Steve, you've been kissing the posteriors at Torrey from Jebb through Robin. All of your posts here have been defending them. I don't know if you're defending them on some general principle of standing behind the "flying establishment" or if you've been misled by your peers, or if you have some other personal/financial motive. But whatever your motivation, the only observable coming from you for 6 years now has been "quack quack".

Steve, let's cut to the chase. I've stood for these principles at Torrey:

1. Review of incidents by an unbiased committee.
2. Participation by pilot community in making rules.
3. Fair review of pilots banned from the site.
4. Resolution of disputes by a jury of our peers.

You've given "lip service" to those principles, but you haven't done a damn thing to actually uphold them. Now if you want to make a public commitment to work toward implementing any of those - and follow through right here on this forum, then you'll get my respect. Until then, you're just another butt-kisser saying "quack quack".

Steve, most of your post is either telling us how great you are (how much XC time you have, how many routes you've flown, how hard you've worked, blah blah blah) or making unsubstantiated innuendos directed at me. Neither are helpful to solving the problems at Torrey and I won't address them other than to say that your innuendos are false and misleading. But you did make one comment worthy of a response:

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
I have told Bob on more than one occasion that some of his ideas are and have been good and I agree with some of them, but his methods are what I do not agree with.

If some of my ideas are good, then why haven't you lifted a finger to implement any of them? You were the SDHGPA president during many of the Torrey problems, and you did nothing. If you don't like my "methods", then what has stopped you from using your own "methods" to implement those good ideas?

Steve, your words are not aligned with your actions. If you're serious about fixing problems at Torrey, then just say that right here on this forum and I'll be more than happy to work with you. Otherwise, you're just another arm of the Torrey concession running interference for them. "Quack, quack."

Chazkayak wrote:
Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 19:08 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


You know what.........Its now understandable why there is such a blame culture in the USA, if this is the attitude of supposed Adults.......to bitch and whine and say how they defeated such and such and blah blah blah.....
SHUT UP!!!!!

Yes we know safety is paramount in our sport and we know knowledge is power......especially when it comes to flying, more knowledge should make safer flying but as we know human error can always stop safe flying.
and we cannot always predict what the wind is doing or going to do......

but to keep on whinging is just crap and boring........get out and fly.......be safe.....enjoy, stop whinging!!

Randombloke wrote:
Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 19:22 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Hi all,

This is mostly directed to Bob K but I would also ask other US PG'ers the same question:

Is this amount of in-fighting in a public forum going to make it more or less likely that sites will be opened up as opposed to closed down?

Is this sort of public vitriol good or bad for the sport in general?

Does it worry you that a landowner will see free flying as a lot of hassle on their land to be avoided?

Is the National Association prepared to adjudicate or provide some sort of conciliation service?*

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
I got all of my training (up through my P3) in the mountains. My pre-P3 sites include Little Black, Horse, Marshall, and Otay. In fact, I didn't fly Torrey until after I got my P3. I got my P3 through Rob in Crestline, and he required 50% collapses at altitude (2 on each side) as part of his P3 requirement. He required that we be able to hold the canopy on a heading throughout the 50% collapses. I can only hope that the Torrey P3 pilots are getting that kind of training.

Training should be to the National rating system, it should not be down to the individuals to decide what the standard is. The minimum standard should be set by the USHPA rating scheme, and all instructors should be getting to that level. Are you saying that the ratings are being set locally by individual instructors?

IMV in-fighting in public is bad for keeping sites open in the long term. The last thing you need is for public bodies to see you as a PITA.

Footnotes:

*I realise this might not be an option.....
_________________
SteveU "Never more to sing again, the Forty Shades Of Green."

Flanker wrote:
Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 20:37 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


I also think that Bob's anger at "lack of training" should be directed at USHPA standards, not Torrey. Please review P3 USHPA requirements here http://www.circlinghawk.com/p3ushga.html

I have earned my P1-P3 there during 2009-2010 and can only say that Brad and Max have went above and beyond of what can be asked from an instructor for their students. Torrey is a coastal site so naturally most graduates fill their required hours with ridge soaring. Never the less they organized trips to local mountain sites for anyone able and willing to get thermal experience. Mind you they did this on their own dime and time, and often did not even get a chance fly themselves, coaching on the radio, lecturing, and monitoring launches and landings. SIV courses that they offer are frequent and flexible. There were no "bro" rating handouts, I only received my papers when they were satisfied with my actual flying, not the official minimum requirements. The adherence to the site rules and safety was strict, I was chewed out and grounded more than once for unsafe gear or my wannabe acro pilot behavior. Even after my official training period they remained helpful and contributed to my progression.
Torrey is hands-in-your pockets, go-around carousel, pretty ridge site. If the pilot does not make an effort to progress and learn beyond the bare minimum despite all the available resources that is their own fault.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 21:46 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Quote:
IMV in-fighting in public is bad for keeping sites open in the long term. The last thing you need is for public bodies to see you as a PITA.

I share Steve's concern, while this should be a forum where all views are expressed and debated, we would all be better off if we did without the name calling and vitriol.

Bob, I can't comment on the legitimacy regarding your obvious anger and disgust with the TPG crew. However, do you really believe that you will convince someone to cooperate with you by calling them an a** kisser? That approach to debate is not constructive and while I recognize you are frustrated, I really believe you will persuade more of us to consider your ideas if you tone it down a bunch.

As others have said, you provided helpful analysis of the recent tragic accident and made good points regarding actions that might be considered. However, your contribution runs the risk of being overshadowed by the way you deliver it.

This is just my humble opinion.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 17:01 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Plaikind wrote:
Bob, I can't comment on the legitimacy regarding your obvious anger and disgust with the TPG crew.
...
However, your contribution runs the risk of being overshadowed by the way you deliver it.

There's obviously a lot of history at Torrey that's not easily expressed in this topic. People have been bullied, and banned, and generally mistreated at Torrey for a long long time. Maybe you didn't know Lyne Perry, but she took her own life in 2011 (after I had been recalled as Regional Director by the "in crowd" at Torrey). Here's a letter that she had written to me prior to that (when I was Director and while I was trying to right the wrongs at Torrey). In this letter, she's responding to my request to feature her site preservation work in a newsletter I was preparing at that time:

Lyne Perry wrote:
Bob,

Thanks for thinking of me, but I need to decline at this time. I have been the victim of much bullying by some of the "in" pilots. I am very selective as to who I fly with and I will leave a site if other certain pilots are there. Two years ago I rarely left my home and did not fly for a period of 5 months due to fear from a vicious verbal assault by Josh Gelb during a club event. This was not an isolated event, just the final proverbial straw. The fact that the other pilots just stood by and let it happen led me to believe that they supported such behavior.

I am still not emotionally healed and need to stay incognito as much as possible. You may have noticed that I do not post on the SDHGPA forum, even though I am the owner. These days I typically fly with the HG pilots and only a select few PG pilots.

Blossom is my passion and I am not going to let my fear get in the way of losing this site because I didn't do anything. I wish that I were as thick skinned as you and able to keep going in spite of verbal abuse. When David or Gabe Jebb bullied me, I let it go because I knew that they bullied most everyone, but when it came from pilots whom I thought were my friends, it devastated me.

Thanks again for thinking of me, but maybe at a later date.

Lyne Perry, PG,
Consulting Geologist
Alpine, CA 91901

Imagine coming to a beautiful sport like paragliding and finding the kinds of bullying and abuse that would cause her to disengage from the sport. Imagine turning to flight as something to uplift your soul and finding the kinds of "vicious verbal assaults" and bullying that she reflected in this letter. Read where she wrote that the bullying by David and Gabe Jebb was so common that she accepted it because "they bullied most everyone". Tragic. And what hurt her the most was other pilots (like many of you reading this post) who "just stood by and let it happen".

Steve Rohrbaugh was president of the SDHGPA (and/or part of the "in crowd") during this period and he did nothing ... nothing. Just like so many others, he "just stood by and let it happen". Now Lyne is dead.

Unfortunately, Lyne is just one example of many people who've been abused at that site. So if I seem a little angry after seeing 7 years of hell at Torrey, then maybe you should walk in my shoes for a bit before casting stones.

More importantly (and to the point) you might consider asking Steve why he won't publicly support the 4 simple items I've put forth above:

1. Review of incidents by an unbiased committee.
2. Participation by pilot community in making rules.
3. Fair review of pilots banned from the site.
4. Resolution of disputes by a jury of our peers.


Where are you Steve? Why won't you stand behind these 4 simple steps to make Torrey a better and safer site?

Quote:
LYNE PERRY 1962-2011

She was a dear friend of many geologists and paragliders in southern California. Lyne was an honorary member of the South Coast Geological Society and past President of the San Diego Association of Geologists. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in geological sciences from San Diego State University in 1985. She then worked for Catlin Engineering, Leighton and Associates, Kleinfelder and others before becoming an independent consulting geologist and environmental professional. Lyne loved to travel the world and enjoyed adventures in places like Belize, Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Turkey, Nepal, Australia and Tanzania. She enjoyed skiing, scuba diving, paragliding, marathon running, hiking, geology field trips, wine tasting and margaritas! Unfortunately, she recently died of her own hand. Lyne is survived by her mother, Bereline, and brother, Joseph, both of Hemet. A celebration of her life is planned for Saturday, April 23. She will be missed.


Flanker wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 17:54 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


As a newbie pilot in San Diego I never understood what all the commotion was about between hangies and paras. I was puzzled by snarky remarks from HGs when I would offer to carry some of their gear up from the beach when we all would get flushed.
I found it strange that Lyne would shy away from us and refuse rides at Blossom.
Now it makes sense:
"...Gliderport generates a huge number of new pilots (mostly paraglider pilots) in the San Diego area, and that means new members for USHPA. Many of these new pilots are infused with the same gang-like attitude that permeates the concession, and they end up being bullies..." - Bob K., US Hawks
I have not met a single new pilot that fits this description during my 2 years of almost daily training and flying there. For the lack of a better word, you sir, are full of sh!t. You instill mistrust, hatred, and division based on misinformation and lies among a group of people that would otherwise happily coexist, cooperate, and have fun together.
Do you discuss strategies with Rick Masters?

Chazkayak wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 18:54 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


I have never flown in the States, therfore never been to Torrey.

However what I read seems to be something which goes against the ethos of Air Sports PG or HG.

Bullying of anykind is deplorable, the fact that it sounds like there is a "Mafia" style movement at Torrey sounds absolutly infuriating.

Flying sites should have rules........it helps us all enjoy doing what we love doing.....FLYING!!!

People may need educating.....if they are low airtime pilots (help and guidance)......if they are doing acro in the middle of the stack (educating stongly! ).......if they persevere to break the rules knowingly, grounding/banning may be the last option.

People......DO NOT NEED BULLYING!!!!! Mafia style ruling of a site and bullying should be stamped out.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 20:32 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Wow, this is really sad and makes me sick. To stoop to such a level of even implying Lyne’s troubles, stability, and tragic demise were only directly related to and driven by some individuals in our flying community.

At the same time I am really continued to be surprised that Bob is painting the picture of such vindictive divisiveness in our community, when the community is anything but, largely positive and supportive of one another. With the exception of his propaganda.

I do not think Bob really knew Lyne personally and knew her conditions and life complications. I would have to say that our flying community was an overall positive and supportive impact on her life. Unfortunately her conditions lead to her isolating herself from the world at large in all of her interactions professionally socially and family life. It was members of our community and her passion for flying that would bring her out.

Shock factor and inciting reactions is not the way to build relations, only the opposite.

Sure, who has not been yelled at from the ground for flying through the window or doing over the top wingovers at Torrey. Those guys even reprimand themselves . . . I used to not enjoy flying there all that much due to that and the high visibility circus. We all fly for the good time and enjoyment; Right? The good news is that they have toned it way down from years in the past.

I think Bob’s 4 points have been supported and addressed more than once and actually happens.

When individuals repeatedly deliberately and blatantly break rules just to challenge the system even after they have been given “get out of jail” cards on multiple occasions by a jury of their peers; one has to wonder . . . what is up ???

It is very obvious that Bob for some reason feels that he personally needs to be on his own jury of peers, be his own representative on the TP Soaring Council, make not only site rules but concession business policy and will not stop at anything till he achieves that. Even if it means tearing everything down, even things not related to the concession operation.

The problem is, each meeting Bob shows up at any level becomes totally dysfunctional and drawn out to be 4 x + the time commitment and his methods have made no one want to work with him. Please, Bob just tone it down, try to work with people and don’t take this or differing views as a personal attack.

Note that the TP Soaring Council, SDHGPA, USHPA, or other clubs like the Hawks if created have no influence over the business policy of the concession.


On the note of Lyne and flying in general:

To have a good day of flying, one has to me mentally prepared and have a positive outlook on the day. If not, one should not consider flying that day.

Some Pilots will socialize and get excited before a flight, some others need to limit outside stimulus to get into a positive “A game” zone. I see this as entirely normal. Different pilots have different ways of getting into that zone before flight. Many pilots and top competitive athletes will start to limit their interactions in order to get into that zone and try to stay in a positive mind set.

The San Diego Mountain Hang pilots and XC PG pilots tend to be more serious before flights. So I see it as normal behavior for Lyne and especially with her conditions to try and limit interactions or before flight.

I think you are taking things out of context. Lyne and Josh had a heated passionate debate that went both ways regarding some actions she took for the betterment of a site, but that she had not gotten prior approvals for. I can go into more details but not on the forum. Yes, they were friends, but stopped speaking for a period of time.
Let’s leave it at that and not imply otherwise. Talk with Wes or Larry S her best PG friends that supported and looked in after her and that she most trusted if you have any questions.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 21:40 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


For the record -- primarily for those in other parts of the world that may be getting a distorted view of Torrey from these posts -- after flying at Torrey for a year I have not run into any significant interpersonal problems at the site. Quite the contrary, most people I interact with have been friendly and helpful, including the concessionaire staff.

That is not to say that I haven't been chewed out for not following the rules but I don't see that as a problem. This is a sport where not following the rules can be deadly so I view a bit of chewing out to be appropriate. In fact, on an SIV with the Torrey crew, I vividly recall being chewed out by Gabe for getting into my harness too soon a couple of times on a tow. That is a good thing, next time I tow I won't forget.

I can't speak for everyone, Torrey is a very active site and I am sure it has its share of problems. However, I certainly have not observed a culture of abuse as has perhaps been implied.

Chazkayak wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 21:42 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


To what extent do San Diego Mountian HG XC Pilots become more serious befroe flights.

TBH I just get out and fly, I dont have to psych myself up to fly........it comes naturally!! If im not concentrated I dont fly long but have some walking to do to get back to launch.

I do think that word like Defeat are very strong and confrontational and dont need to be utilised unless wanting an adverse reaction, but then the American culture is brought up on competetivness and pushing at every opportunity.......I watch some of those American TV programmes that get exported. Gotta laugh......you got some fat kids over there!!!!!

Any way bored of this topic now. BOB PLEASE DONT EMAIL ME ANYMORE, IM NOT SUPPORTING YOUR OR ANY OTHER TORREY PINES WHINGING!!!!!

IM FED UP OF THE BLAME CULTURE THAT HAS RUBBED OFF ONTO OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD!!!!!

GET A GRIP GO FLY, GO ENJOY!!

James Bradley wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 21:58 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Chazkayak wrote:
I watch some of those American TV programmes that get exported.

I was in French Polynesia a few years ago on a small island where just one home had a TV. People gathered outside in the evenings to look in through the windows and watch.... reruns of Dallas and Falcon Crest. To my horror they believed these programs showed real life in the US.

Please, no one should take exported television shows as representative or characteristic.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 22:07 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Chazkayak wrote:
To what extent do San Diego Mountian HG XC Pilots become more serious befroe flights.

Ok you are German like me and probably part Vulcan Wink . . . . A game comes naturally

Just a different scene and just a mellower group. That generally comes from more experience than the typical site flyers. No psyching up or anything like that, just more focus on the day the weather and prepping for flying. Not that they do not socialize or have fun, just more though prep work in setting up gliders and equipment.

Some of the lesser experienced PG groups, depending on the circles can be slightly excitable and just have some nerves energy going on or like to socialize a lot more before.

Dave Massie wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 22:31 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Sure, who has not been yelled at from the ground for flying through the window or doing over the top wingovers at Torrey.

Like most of us, I've never been to Torrey, but its reputation precedes it. What I've heard is that there more rules than pilots. Well, I exaggerate, but you get the drift. When pilots are shouted at because they've done over the top wingovers (what other kind is there?), there's something wrong with the place. Its a coastal site, FFS, not the Owens Valley in July at 2pm. I understand that beginner PG pilots are allowed there, but experienced HG pilots are not, hence the animosity. Is this true?

Maybe you guys should relax a few rules; it might actually make the place safer.
_________________
Regards Dave

Flanker wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 22:35 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


During my time acro was ok as long as it was done by experienced pilots away from launch and student areas.
Beginner pilots are allowed to fly only under radio supervision and within sight of an instructor, again only in student areas.

pmurdoch wrote:
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 0:32 UTC
Post subject: Relevancy


Guys - re-read James' post just above. It is entirely relevant.

You are all getting an insight into this situation that is as accurate as mushy fictional television.

Don't get too worked up about it.

Ihor wrote:
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:00 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


James Bradley wrote:
look in through the windows and watch.... reruns of Dallas and Falcon Crest. To my horror they believed these programs showed real life in the US.

Real life is most probably more like a marathon of Jerry Springer shows. No?

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 18:10 UTC
Post subject: Response to Steve Rohrbaugh


Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Wow, this is really sad and makes me sick.

What should make you sad ... and sick, Steve, is to hear the anguish in Lyne's letter. Here it is again in her own words:

Lyne Perry wrote:
Bob,

Thanks for thinking of me, but I need to decline at this time. I have been the victim of much bullying by some of the "in" pilots. I am very selective as to who I fly with and I will leave a site if other certain pilots are there. Two years ago I rarely left my home and did not fly for a period of 5 months due to fear from a vicious verbal assault by Josh Gelb during a club event. This was not an isolated event, just the final proverbial straw. The fact that the other pilots just stood by and let it happen led me to believe that they supported such behavior.

I am still not emotionally healed and need to stay incognito as much as possible. You may have noticed that I do not post on the SDHGPA forum, even though I am the owner. These days I typically fly with the HG pilots and only a select few PG pilots.

Blossom is my passion and I am not going to let my fear get in the way of losing this site because I didn't do anything. I wish that I were as thick skinned as you and able to keep going in spite of verbal abuse. When David or Gabe Jebb bullied me, I let it go because I knew that they bullied most everyone, but when it came from pilots whom I thought were my friends, it devastated me.

Thanks again for thinking of me, but maybe at a later date.

Lyne Perry, PG,
Consulting Geologist
Alpine, CA 91901

Steve, you should read that letter about 100 times and with each reading imagine her about to put a gun to her head and end her life. Then ask yourself what you could have - and should have - done as President of the SDHGPA to fix it. That's what should make you sick.

I've said before that I suspect the bullying from the San Diego PG community wasn't necessarily the primary reason for Lyne's suicide. But she had turned to this sport for a joy in her life and she only found bullying and verbal abuse (her own words). If she were the only person to ever report this kind of abuse, then maybe you could put your head in the sand and blame it on her own shortcomings. But there have been many people who have reported the same kinds of mistreatment by the Torrey crowd and yet you've continued to pretend it doesn't happen. That's something you'll have to live with the rest of your life Steve. You could honor Lyne by recognizing the ongoing problems and work to fix them (as I have) or you can go on your happy way defending the Torrey crowd as you've done so far on this forum.

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
Bob is painting the picture of such vindictive divisiveness in our community, when the community is anything but, largely positive and supportive of one another. With the exception of his propaganda.

I am just publishing Lyne's own words to me Steve. Read them another 100 times and maybe you'll realize that this isn't "about Bob". This is about fixing a bullying situation that existed long before I came along. It existed under your watch and it grew under your leadership. Now it's become a festering sore in the flying community and I think you should stand up and join with me in fixing it. That's my challenge to you (although I doubt you'll take it).

Steve Rohrbaugh wrote:
I think Bob’s 4 points have been supported and addressed more than once and actually happens.


You're either ignorant or outright lying in that statement Steve. None of these 4 points are happening at this time:

1. Review of incidents by an unbiased committee.
2. Participation by pilot community in making rules.
3. Fair review of pilots banned from the site.
4. Resolution of disputes by a jury of our peers.


In fact, the topic that spawned this one arose from a death where Jeremy Bishop (an employee of the Torrey Pines concession) has written the incident report!! So there's no "unbiased committee" reviewing anything that happens at Torrey Pines. There's no oversight at all by the pilot community there. They can cover up anything they want ... and you know it.

Similarly, there's no participation by the pilot community in making rules. There's no fair review of pilots banned from the site. There's no resolution of disputes by a jury of peers. There's none of that, and yet you have the nerve to tell everyone on this forum that "Bob’s 4 points have been supported and addressed more than once and actually happens". If that's true, Steve, then please describe for us how each of those 4 points are implemented at Torrey Pines. Go ahead. That's a challenge to you Steve. Do your homework and report for us how each of those 4 points are implemented.

The rest of your post, Steve, isn't even worth addressing. You are a puppet of the concession and you're here posting because no one from the concession itself has the guts to stand up to any scrutiny or questioning. Where is Jeremy or Robin? Why don't they post their own reports to this forum? Why do they send you as their "messenger boy" to the pilot community? The answer is that they don't want to have to answer any hard questions, so they send you here as their puppet.

Look, I may not be very "diplomatic" with my posts, but I've posted Lyne's own words ... not mine. They tell the story of what's happened to the San Diego paragliding community ... and it isn't pretty. The rest of you can turn your heads or dismiss this as just one person's problems, but I'm telling you it's bigger than that. This is a problem that could use help from the national and even the international paragliding community. We should all be demanding fairness at all of our sites. So I am asking everyone on this forum to stand behind (and demand) the 4 reforms that I've listed again below. These are reasonable demands and they would benefit everyone who flies anything at Torrey Pines:

1. Review of incidents by an unbiased committee.
2. Participation by pilot community in making rules.
3. Fair review of pilots banned from the site.
4. Resolution of disputes by a jury of our peers.


Thanks.
Bob Kuczewski

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 21:44 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Quote:
Fair review of pilots banned from the site.

Who exactly is officially (whatever that means) banned from the site and what was the basis for the ban?

Bob you wrote:
Quote:
I've said before that I suspect the bullying from the San Diego PG community wasn't necessarily the primary reason for Lyne's suicide.



Yet you go on to ask Steve and the rest of us (given this is a public forum) to --

Quote:
read that letter about 100 times and with each reading imagine her about to put a gun to her head and end her life

In other words you are indeed implying that the reported "bullying" led to her suicide. That seems unfair and frankly disrespectful to her as I suspect that her tragic decision was based on much more than the fact that she was bullied by a few pilots.

It's a free forum and (subject to the moderator's tolerance) you can make your points any way you wish. It is clear you are very angry but it would be great if this could be a more civilized discussion. For instance, some of us might like to engage you by asking questions such as the one above about the ban. However, your style is not conducive to fostering discussion. I know you have it in you because your discussion of the accident itself has been very rationale and constructive.

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 19:29 UTC
Post subject: Hate Mail


Plaikind wrote:
Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Fair review of pilots banned from the site.

Who exactly is officially (whatever that means) banned from the site and what was the basis for the ban?

I am not sure if anyone is banned right now since they don't advertise it. There may be many pilots who've been told to leave who just left and haven't been back. I do know that Dave Beardslee had been banned for life by David Jebb (with no written reason after multiple requests). I also know that I had been banned for a year (with no written reason after multiple requests). Eventually, I hired a lawyer who examined the lease and the law and basically said to us that if "Jebb won't give you guys a written reason, then go there and fly". We did (after I had defeated Jebb as Regional Director) and we were not challenged. But it was expensive and I'm not sure how many pilots who've been banned would go to that level of effort.

More recently, the current concessionaire (Robin Marien) called the police on May 15th, 2012 (about 2 weeks ago) to remove me just because I was helping a friend kite. He claimed to the police that I had been "harassing" his students which was totally false. When the police came and interviewed everyone, they saw no reason to evict me, and I was allowed to stay. This was a major breakthrough since in the past, the police had always sided with the concessionaire. But after the incident, I asked Robin directly if he was the one who called the police. He said "Yea, and this was just the first step" implying that he would be taking future steps to get me banned from Torrey Pines. This is the same garbage that Jebb used to pull, but Robin isn't a former police officer, so he doesn't have quite as much influence over them. Remember, that was just two weeks ago.

But the big point here is that there should be some form of due process within the pilot community (maybe within the Soaring Council) so that these disputes can be resolved before resorting to the police. Once the police are called and a pilot is evicted, it falls on the pilot's shoulders to go to take the matter to court or to the City Council or some other venue to have their rights restored. How many pilots are willing or able to go through that kind of expensive and time-consuming process? We should have a mechanism within the flying community to keep things from getting to that level.

Plaikind wrote:
Bob you wrote:
Bob Kuczewski wrote:
I've said before that I suspect the bullying from the San Diego PG community wasn't necessarily the primary reason for Lyne's suicide.

Yet you go on to ask Steve and the rest of us (given this is a public forum) to --

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
read that letter about 100 times and with each reading imagine her about to put a gun to her head and end her life

In other words you are indeed implying that the reported "bullying" led to her suicide. That seems unfair and frankly disrespectful to her as I suspect that her tragic decision was based on much more than the fact that she was bullied by a few pilots.

I do believe that the bullying was a contributing cause to her suicide. You're probably familiar with the phrase "the straw that broke the camel's back". I believe that the bullying might have been just that straw. Someone who kills themselves is likely suffering from a variety of problems, and it's hard to know which problem was the one that caused the final decision. But if you read her letter, she is clearly depressed ... to the point of fear ... about her treatment by a number of people in the paragliding community. Most of them are part of the "in crowd" at Torrey, and I've seen that kind of behavior from them myself. Indeed, I've gotten email threats from someone telling me I should kill myself. If that's the kind of tactic they've used with me, it seems likely that they might have done the same with Lyne. As an example of what Lyne might have gotten, here are some email messages to me (with highlighting added) from someone using the email address "Hater bobk" (f-you-bob_k@hotmail.com) after I had posted that I would be leaving San Diego in late 2010 (note that this forum appears to obliterate some of the foul words which were not obliterated in the original messages):

Hater bobk on December 12th, 2010 wrote:
Damm we were all hoping you had cancer. Die like a man and kill yourself asshole!! You don't have the courage!!! The only thing better would be a slow and painful death starting now. We all hate you and will never forget you.
f#@% you!
Forever,
Everyone.

Hater bobk on December 23th, 2010 (after being asked for identity) wrote:
Well even if you don't kill yourself at least I know you will die alone. How was your going away party asshole?
f#@% you.

Hater bobk on December 23th, 2010 (after again being asked for identity) wrote:
f#@% you. Better watch your wires jerk off.
Send me your address and I'll tell you who I am.
Chicken???

Hater bobk on December 23th, 2010 (after again being asked for identity) wrote:
Die alone or kill yourself - either way I'm happy. Thanks.

Hater bobk on December 31st, 2010 (after again being asked for identity) wrote:
Have a miserable new year. I hope you and all your friends fu**ing die. Hopefully you are broke and alone. Remember suicide is an option. We wish you the worst! You asked who I am??? Answer: Everyone.
f#@% you Bob.

Those messages were sent to me a few months before Lyne's death. Is it possible that same person was conveying similar hate messages to Lyne?

Also remember that these are the kinds of people that Lyne found at Torrey Pines when she turned to the sport of paragliding for joy in her life. How do you think comments like those would have affected someone who was struggling with other problems in her life? Now read her words again (maybe 100 times?) in the context of people who would send such vile messages.

But to the point of your original question (sorry for the detour), I don't see any inconsistency between my view that the bullying wasn't necessarily the primary reason for her death and still being highly convinced that the bullying was a contributing cause.

Plaikind wrote:
I know you have it in you [to basically be civil] because your discussion of the accident itself has been very rationale and constructive.

Paul, Steve Rohrbaugh is saying things that are not true. If you take the time to track down all of his statements, then I believe you'll come to that conclusion as well. Unfortunately, you (Paul) may be one of the rare exceptions on a forum like this who is willing to ask the hard questions and really evaluate the answers in light of the facts. If you're willing to do that, then you'll find me to be exactly what you said ... rational and constructive.

For now, I'd like to see how Steve replies to my challenges. Steve Rohrbaugh? Are you out there?

Bob Kuczewski

P.S. Thanks for the reply and the PM's Paul. I'll try to do better next time. :)

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 21:46 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Bob Kuczewski, on May 31st, 2012 wrote:
1. Review of incidents by an unbiased committee.
2. Participation by pilot community in making rules.
3. Fair review of pilots banned from the site.
4. Resolution of disputes by a jury of our peers.

Steve Rohrbaugh, on June 4th, 2012 wrote:
I think Bob’s 4 points have been supported and addressed more than once and actually happens.

Bob Kuczewski, on June 5th, 2012 wrote:
If that's true, Steve, then please describe for us how each of those 4 points are implemented at Torrey Pines. Go ahead. That's a challenge to you Steve. Do your homework and report for us how each of those 4 points are implemented.

Steve Rohrbaugh's response since June 5th, 2012 wrote:
[ . . . s i l e n c e . . . ]


Steve?

Are you there Steve?

Steve Forslund wrote:
Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 21:31 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Bob,

Why don't you give up forums for a while, try a hobby, maybe flying?
Seriously you are a disaster when online go away.

Steve Forslund

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 18:35 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Steve Forslund wrote:
try a hobby, maybe flying?

http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1045
http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1048
http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1049
http://ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1050


Steve Forslund, maybe you should check the facts before making public statements that reflect poorly on your research. Furthermore, your post does not address any of the ongoing problems that we've been having at Torrey Pines (the purpose of this topic). Instead, your post reflects the kind of "shut up and go away" attitude that has kept those problems from being resolved for years. Please take a different approach if you want to participate in a constructive conversation. Thanks.

Steve Rohrbaugh, you've made the statement on this forum that you think "Bob’s 4 points have been supported and addressed more than once and actually happens." In response, I have asked you to report to this topic how each of those 4 points are implemented at Torrey Pines. This should be an easy task if you had any factual basis for your post. Your inability to explain how any of those points "have been addressed" is indicative of your lack of knowledge (or lack of honesty) about the situation. I am again asking you to either explain the implementation of those 4 points or admit that they are not being addressed and that you misspoke on the topic. I look forward to your response.

Everyone Else, I'm not sure what kind of forum you want to have here. I'd like to think this is a place where BS walks and facts prevail. If that's the case, then there should be some expectation that Steve Rohrbaugh actually answer the reasonable question that I've asked. He claims that the 4 points I've raised have been addressed, and I've simply asked him to be more specific. If the members of this forum actually want facts, then I ask for your support of my effort to get to the facts. But if you just want a place to swap "there I was" stories, then keep banging my "Karma" into the ground and that's all you'll have left. Thanks in advance to anyone who helps us get to the facts at Torrey Pines.

Plaikind wrote:
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 18:53 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Bob,

I think you should seriously consider the possibility that the reason that Steve and others have fallen silent is because they see no upside to engaging with you in what they have come to believe, right or wrong, will be an irrational discussion full of personal attacks on them. After all you have liberally employed name calling in past posts and have gone so far as to suggest that Steve and others were responsible, to some degree, for another pilot’s suicide. Wading back into that voluntarily is a bit masochistic.

Paul

Bob Kuczewski wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 20:07 UTC
Post subject: Getting to the Truth


Plaikind wrote:
I think you should seriously consider the possibility that the reason that Steve and others have fallen silent is because ...

Sure Paul, I don't mind considering that possibility ... as long as you seriously consider the possibility (or better yet, probability) that Steve Rohrbaugh has fallen silent because he knows I've caught him in a BIG LIE and he knows that NONE of the things I've listed are being done right now. Isn't that right Steve?

As I've suggested to you before Paul, if you think Steve can back up his statement - but is too timid to do so in public - then maybe you could ask him privately (via PM?) for a description of how those 4 items are implemented at Torrey Pines. I'd love to hear his response.

For everyone else, I know this probably seems tedious, but this is the painful process of getting to the truth when someone like Steve Rohrbaugh comes onto a public forum and tells a lie. If the paragliding community wants honesty, then we can't back away from holding our fellow members accountable for what they say on this forum. To give Steve a pass would discredit the reliability of all the information that's posted on this forum. Let's stand for getting to the truth and not covering it up. Thanks.

Forum Moderators wrote:
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 21:39 UTC
Post subject: RE: Torrey Pines incident reporting and politics


Okay, it seems this topic does not lead anywhere. This topic is now locked.

We seriously doubt that this international forum is a good platform to solve local problems.

Please don't spread this conflict into other topics.
_________________
The Moderation Team


Translation:  Paragliding Forum is not in favor of getting to the truth and would rather cover it up.

_________________
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Every human at every point in history has an opportunity to choose courage over cowardice. Look around and you will find that opportunity in your own time.


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