Any commenst on this launch?


The pilot in this video was not qualified to fly from Sandia Peak and made an unauthorized access to the launch ramp by circumventing both the club's rules and the USFS rules and procedures. He is being assisted by a certain hang 4 rated pilot who not only knew better than to assist with his trespass and near-suicide by hang glider but occasionally flies at Crestline/Marshall. Everything you see in this video is an example of gross irresponsibility, utter contempt and disregard for the rules and for everyone else's rights and flying privileges. If you ever witness conduct like this at any Region 3 flying site, please try to document it and immediately report to you nearest regional director. This is exactly how many flying sites have been permanently shut down and is also how we lost our liability insurance. This is a prime example of why we are now self-insured and how the sport will come to a sudden end if we don't keep one another in check.

Wow, apparently this is a known bad example.  I was thinking it shows a few flight-related factors to note, in addition to all that has been pointed out about following the rules, safety, insurance, judgement, using good sense, etc.. 

One thing is how letting one wing get a little bit low on launch is to be avoided, since the wing that gets low gets into slower air, offering less lift, and drags behind, (especially if it hits the ground) while the other wing is pushed forward and higher, getting more lift, so it quickly becomes a runaway "ground-loop" situation.  This pilot seemed to ignore his left wing being (a little) low (which quickly became "a lot" low), and launched anyway, with that left wing too low.

The second thing is how quickly things can go wrong, and how badly wrong they can go, that quickly.  Wow, think fast... an ounce of prevention...

The third thing is how the pilot kept fighting for control and did not give up, and ended up prevailing and surviving by wriggling himself on the control bar to keep pulling in, and pulling the wings level again. 

The fourth thing is how the main decision affecting safety does seem to be whether to launch at all on a given day in given conditions at a given site.

The fifth thing is, now that we saw this happen, (and luckily it turned out OK), we can use the valuable information to help not let things like this happen again!  So I would say, it's nice to be able to see this rare footage, and use it as a learning opportunity.  Glad there was no crash, and nobody got hurt!  :)