May 5, 2020 at 10:41 AM #8319
Hey guys & girls,
Thought I’d share Stephen’s safety write-up over here for those who haven’t seen it yet in the Marshall/Crestline facebook group. Maybe I’m biased😉, but I think it’s worth a read, especially if you’re fairly new to flying (P1-P3):
We need to do what we can to minimize our risks and stop giving the emergency responders a reason to keep visiting our site (at any time, but especially right now). Most people think we’re crazy for trusting a piece of fabric to take us up thousands of feet into the air and bring us down safely, so let’s do our best not to contribute to that belief by making better choices.
Flying CAN be safe. (Personally I feel safer up in the air than I do on the freeway! That’s a bigger adrenaline rush for me than flying.😂) It doesn’t have to end in tragedy, as long as you make responsible decisions for yourself, and for other pilots around you. 🙏🪂💗 Do it for you so you can keep enjoying flying for many decades to come, and maybe for those who care about you.
I’ve heard this saying repeated a few times around the LZ: “There Are Old Pilots and there are Bold Pilots, but No Old Bold Pilots.” Might be something to it! 😅🤷♀️May 7, 2020 at 10:20 AM #8340Gary AndersonGeneral Member
Wise words from Stephen but I have a different view on one point: What we do is not safe and probably will never be safe. But like Stephen says, we absolutely can impact the level of risk. One timely example is “when to fly”.
Spring is here with all of its glorious power. Spring and summer are the seasons when we all need to think hard about when to fly. Mid day flying increases your risk. It is a fun time to fly but do not fool yourself, mid-day spring and summer increases the risk that you will:
- be blown sideways by a gust while launching,
- experience a collapse from turbulence,
- overshoot or undershoot your LZ because of lift or sink,
- land cross wind or down wind because of switching conditions
When to fly matters. It matters a lot.May 7, 2020 at 4:19 PM #8342George StebbinsGeneral Member
Gary Anderson is right. Flying isn’t safe. But he’s also right that you have a lot of control over how safe. Not just when to fly (that’s true too!), but how to fly, where to fly, how close to things/others to fly, etc.. Decision making matters: More so in aviation than most other things.
I’ve done some serious distance. But I’m also teased about not going some places/altitudes that other pilots routinely go. I just don’t like the odds, so I don’t do it. And I’m ok with that.
The mountain will still be there tomorrow. Make sure you are too.
Fly High – Fly Far – Fly SafeMay 8, 2020 at 10:31 AM #8351
Wise words from Stephen but I have a different view on one point: What we do is not safe and probably will never be safe.
As Stephen points out, you’re playing Russian roulette if bad decisions are made.
Humans seem to find all kinds of ways to die, even during activities which would normally be considered “safe” by most. People die driving, swimming, hiking, walking across the street, even just voicing an opinion (to the wrong person)! Before we do or say anything, we should be thinking ahead and understanding the consequences of whatever actions we plan to take. Gotta know the dangers and heed the warnings.May 8, 2020 at 10:34 AM #8352
But he’s also right that you have a lot of control over how safe. Not just when to fly (that’s true too!), but how to fly, where to fly, how close to things/others to fly, etc.. Decision making matters: More so in aviation than most other things.
Exactly what the article points out and talks about. 🙂👍May 8, 2020 at 4:54 PM #8359John BenarioGeneral Member
I have been flying helicopters, hanggliders, airplanes since 1984. While I am by no means perfect, broken arm caused by bad landing in 2016 as a great example, I am still in one piece and still employed as a professional pilot.
I learned to fly hanggliders in 1985, shortly after I learned to fly helicopters. I am an H4. I am still “timid” on the hangglider. I have made the decision to be so when I consider my experience/proficiency on the glider relative to my concern for my ability to earn a living as pilot as well as to my long term outlook in general.
What I have noticed over the years with hanggliders, and even more so in recent years with the explosion of paragliding, is how pilots make really bad decisions. I was setting up at Crestline last month and watched when the P1/2? suffered the collapse and ended up spraining his ankle hitting the tree next to the radio tower. If the tree had been two feet more west the pilot may have been killed by impacting the tree higher up on his body.
I have read the rules on the CSS website that detail the restrictions for beginning pilots and how to improve to get restrictions removed. This paraglider pilot’s instructor didn’t drive home the risks of ignoring the restrictions.
The pilot the following week who ended up in the trees behind Marshal the same. Lift does die down. Maybe never before in one’s time at Marshal, but that day it did. Again, no concern for the what if that happened. That pilot’s instructor didn’t make the pilot understand that great conditions for months on end does not mean that tomorrow will have great conditions. Mitch’s remark about San Bernardino County and the helicopter rescues as well as Steve’s comments above are on point.
My helicopter instructor beat it into me to never, never, never, allow the rotor RPM to decay, and thankfully in my helicopter career I never got low RPM. The flying at Crestline is so good so often, the instructors should put significant effort into convincing new pilots that there is no guarantee that any particular day will be good and to exercise the proper caution in case the day isn’t so good.May 8, 2020 at 6:18 PM #8363
I have read the rules on the CSS website that detail the restrictions for beginning pilots and how to improve to get restrictions removed. This paraglider pilot’s instructor didn’t drive home the risks of ignoring the restrictions….
That pilot’s instructor didn’t make the pilot understand that great conditions for months on end does not mean that tomorrow will have great conditions.
Just want to point out that the pilot’s instructor did (& always does) drive the point home several times before the incident ever happened (everything in the posted article in fact), the problem is that once pilots are independent and flying without an instructor present, they either somehow misunderstand the restrictions (the pilot’s instructor was not present, but an instructor was present when he launched, so he believed he was still within the rules), or they sneak off and break the rules knowing full well that those rules are in place. They don’t always get caught, but when they do, they absolutely get a talking to.
A lot of the newer pilots who get their ratings and become independent, become overly confident. They see other, maybe better pilots, doing this or that, and they start experimenting with stronger conditions, riskier launches, maneuvers, etc. Maybe they get away with pushing the boundaries in spite of the warnings, until one day it bites them. I wish they really took to heart why the restrictions are in place. I’m not saying every rule is justified, but many of them are meant to keep people safish & alive as long as possible.
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