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Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Kritchlow, Nov 27, 2018.
That's inexcusable. The pilot needs to hang it up now.
Uh, hang check, anyone?
What I don’t understand is that shortly after they became airborne there appeared to be an open place to land. It’s unclear to me why he continued and went past the cliff.
I don't know anything about hang gliding, but it looked like he couldn't control it until it was already headed down the hill.
Beyond the pilots stupidity, it amazes me the guy had the strength to hang on that long, but not to pull himself up and armlock the bar.
That and he would have had to make a very steep banked turn close to the ground to return to the launch point. That is fraught with problems:
Risky ground maneuvering close to the ground one handed.
A steep bank increases G-loading, so the passenger would have had to grip twice as hard.
Mostly, I don't think a steep turn would have been possible. Hang gliders are steered by weight shift, to initiate a steep turn either direction, the pilot would have needed to get a lot of weight out to the corner of the control frame, and with a heavy guy hanging pretty much dead center, I don't think he could have accomplished the turn in the open area.
Am I the only one that wants to go do this? You know, the flying part, not the hanging on for my life part!
If the pilot could reach, I'd think he could have grabbed the strap/carabiner and got it locked onto the bar to prevent the guy from falling if he lost grip. At least then he could focus on flying the glider and not whether or not this guy was going to plummet to his death.
The baseline is not exactly an I-beam. A typical glider weights ~70# total, so the tubes are lightweight aluminum.
A point load on the base tube could bend it, then you have more problems.
Seemed like a strange position to begin with. But that guy had hella grip strength.
I was thinking the same. I've been out to the local hang glider port several times and I don't recall ever seeing a two man launch like that.
You should. So should everyone else who's interested in aviation, it's sooo fun. The only hang gliding school in Texas that I can find is Cowboy Up, which is located at KARM. You'd be doing aerotowing, so no worries about not being hooked in, if you're not, you'd be lying down on the runway.
Leaving out the not being hooked in part, that’s exactly the way a footlaunch is done tandem. Pilot holds the glider and passenger holds the pilot. What’s completely inexcusable and avoidable is not doing a “hang check” prior to launching. Since the carabiner is behind your head, we always do a check before launching to make sure we’re hooked in. The hang gliding equivalent of forgetting to remove a control lock. Easily avoided, but still happens.
I get that, but it can't be too much different than him hanging by one hand on it. I just meant as a fail-safe if he lost his grip. I'd have a tough time living with myself if he fell and were killed simply because I was worried about bending the bar, even if it caused a catastrophic failure.
BTW, I know the folks at Cowboyup well and I’d trust them to take my kids tandem.
Here's one of mine at Lookout:
And here's my mother, just after landing at Wallaby Ranch. I got her this flight for her 80th birthday:
It’s on my bucket list to do a tandem launch. I live half an hour from Lookout but never done it. Something about running off that concrete ledge gives me the bumblebees.
By me they tow them up with ultralights. Cool to watch.
I'll just second what other hang glider pilots have said. The pilot was extremely negligent.
I never made a takeoff without doing a hang check immediately prior.
At Lookout, all the tandems are done as tow launches, from the ground. Note the wheels on the gliders @FormerHangie posted. There is a guy that does foot launched tandems in Dunlap TN. (Hensons Gap). He's been doing that for about 25 or 30 years.
Oh ok. I think I could get on board with that a little easier.
My daughter has been up twice with Malcom at Wallaby.
I need to excrement or get off the pot. The glider has been on the rack in the garage ever since my distal spiral fracture.
How about a southeast POA hang gliding outing?
I jumped once. That's enough bucket list stuff for me.
Is the tether permanently affixed to the harness? Is this something that you can check as a passenger? I've been climbing for a long time and missing this sort of check is inexcusable.
I've done a couple of tandems (ultralight tow) and some beach-bluff lessons; would love to do more; particularly the mountain flying.
Anyone here fly gliders as well? Care to make a comparison?
I don't think I could do it. I have a problem with heights. I can't even look out the window of a building more than 3 stories high. Put an engine on something and for some reason it's no problem.
The harness (tether) is not permanently attached. There is a stainless carabiner that is connected to the glider. The reason that people can launch and not be hooked is when you are in the launching position, the carabiner is behind your head. The prevention for that is two fold. One is to do what's called a hang check where you put the glider on the ground and you "hang" from the harness. Another approach, in addition, not a substitute, is to attach the harness before putting it on. I do that and if I need to step away I take the harness off.
I agree there is no excuse for what happened in the video.
Back in the 70's, hang gliding was really dangerous. The fatality rate was very high. Glider designs were massively improved, integral parachutes were added and helmet use got to be universal. Now it's fairly similar to GA, most of the accidents are people getting into conditions over their head.
As a complete aside, I'm really scared of heights. But I have been at over 10,000 ft AGL in my hang glider and very comfortable. Every now and then I get the "I'm a mile in the air hanging from a dacron sheet" fright, but it goes away fast.
The world record for distance (unpowered) is 475 miles. Two guys did that, good friends, they ended up together after about 425 miles and one of them got a very small end of day thermal and ended up going maybe 3 miles farther for the record.
So, in practice, the carabiner is at the harness end, and it can't be seen by the pilot? I hope I'm misinterpreting.
There are varying practices in climbing, but the trend is towards minimizing steps, particularly those that require disconnection from the system. I can't imagine a step that isn't able to be visually verified by the climber; a lot of accidents are rappel (where you're solely dependent upon the rope, anchor, and your personal connection to the system) at night where some simple step is missed.
Doesn't change the fact that I'd like to do more hang gliding.
It took me 19 years to get back on a motorcycle after I crashed mine, I can see where it would take a while after breaking your arm.
I could be up for that. I've been avoiding the place because I'm afraid I'd miss it too much, but if I got to go flying again I could take it. My wife has already accused me of having a midlife crisis with the stuff I did this year, why not add hang gliding back onto the pile?
Here's a picture of a glider in flight:
It would be difficult to see it in flight, which is why you want to make sure it's in the correct place before you launch. Not that there would be anything you could do about it in flight anyway.
Like @Hang 4 said, you do a hang check before you get on the launch. What we did is to put the base tube (the one the pilot is holding) on the ground, someone holds the keel (the tube in the center of the glider that runs fore and aft) and you first check that your carabiner has both hang loops (webbing loops that are attached to the keel) and all the harness lines engaged, and that the carabiner lock is in place. You then lower yourself to the in flight position, and make sure you are at the correct height above the base tube.
If you look at the video, you can see that the passenger's carabiner is clipped to his harness, which is a common thing to do with new pilots who are receiving instruction, as the instructor will make sure the student gets clipped in. The tandem pilot failed to do this for his passenger and also failed to do a hang check. I don't really like the idea of clipping the carabiner to the harness, it's too easy to forget. When I was doing my early supervised mountain flights, I started a policy of holding onto the carabiner with my right hand if I was wearing the harness while not clipped in. When I started doing unsupervised mountain flights, I started attaching my harness to the glider as part of the glider assembly process, like @Hang 4 mentioned. That way I could check it as part of the preflight, in addition to getting a hang check before heading out.
One of the things that made this accident possible was that the passenger was holding onto the pilot. Typically when you're doing a solo foot launch you start with the glider on your shoulders and your hands on the downtubes (the tubes between the keel and the base tube. You keep your arms firm but your grip soft so that the downtubes can slide up through them as the glider starts to lift.
I don't know that a solo pilot would have a strong enough grip on the downtubes to get aloft, I think he or she would just let the glider keep floating up and about the time that the basetube got to shoulder level would figure out something was wrong. On a nice grassy slope that wouldn't be a tragedy, but it wouldn't work at a place like Henson's Gap:
So, always do a hang check just before you step on the launch.
It's kinda neat to see a Wills Wing in flight. The hang gliding community was devastated when Chris and Bob were killed in separate accidents. It's been over forty years.
Willswing is by far the largest US manufacturer and I'm pretty sure #2 worldwide.(Moyes in Australia is #1) The glider in my avatar and this picture their top of the line competition glider and my fourth WW glider
My first flight from the mountain at Lookout
Should have worn the brown pants.
Was out riding the bike in the valley yesterday, stopped at the LZ on Davis Loop. Stiff wind out of the south, no fly zone :-(
Bill, by First Flight, do you mean first solo??
Well, technically, all flights can be solo. You start on a small gradual hill, in my case, about 65' high. Run down, fly for 5-8 seconds, and land. When you master that, you go to a big hill, with a steep drop off. In my case, it was 125ft. That gives you enough altitude to learn to turn and other techniques. When you get signed off on that, you're ready to go to the mountain, which was 1700-1800ft above the valley IIRC. Yeah, big jump form 125ft to 1800. That first run off the mountain is a bit of a leap of faith, but once you're in the air, you're flying!
I think next spring I'm going to talk with the school and get back and try some flights. It is a very interesting and relaxing way to fly. The only sound you hear is the wind in your ears!
So many things to do in my next life, sigh.
Destroyed my back doing too much chit in this one, otherwise I’d be hang gliding & skydiving!
I’ll say yes just because I know the likelihood of it actually happening is less than 50%.