SAFA Skysailor Magazine

28 SKY SAILOR September | October 2020 Reserves At times our wings can no longer be controlled in flight due to the air we are flying in, equipment damage, or other problems. Although we all fly with reserves, some accident analyses reveal that we are either reticent about, or not proficient in, deploying them. As our experience and flight time grows, we naturally lose the edge and the hyper-vigilance we once had. We tend toward believing this is either ‘not really happening to me’ or ‘I can handle this’. The reality is that sometimes we can’t handle it. Be aware that the window in which the option to save ourselves with a parachute ride is very narrow. The fact that this window gets narrower with decreasing altitude above the ground (AGL) should always be kept in mind. Be proficient and ready to throw the chute at any time and, if you are low, make that decision sooner rather than later. Organise an annual club reserve throw and repack clinic that includes: • • Repacking chutes. • • Hanging pilots in their harnesses to simulate the violence and disorientation that likely occurs in a loss of flight control, then practice deploying their reserve, with a goal of less than three seconds from decision to having it out. • • Discussions on when to throw and how quickly that action needs to be accomplished in various circumstances. Towing Towing can and has been done with very effective risk management, but each system is different and has its own unique characteristics of a host of variables that need to be fully understood and managed properly. One of the significant variables to be considered is pilot experience and skill, as this is a determining factor in the pilot’s ability to correctly respond to the complex factors in towing and, hence, how the tow should best be conducted. Below are some suggestions for training and currency. Refresh yourself on tow force effects on a glider: • • Wing loading, climb rates, airspeeds and attitude to horizon are all continuously affected as a coupled system during each tow based on the force applied by the rope. • • Effects of immediate loss/removal of tow forces (i.e. weaklink break or throttle off) at various points during a typical flight, with emphasis on the required pilot actions to reestablish controllable flight and land safely. Discuss the topic of bridle types and attachment points with other experienced pilots and how they affect a glider in flight (i.e. on-tow trim speed versus off-tow trim speed). Photo: Phil Kirkman Review your skills… Phil Clarkson landing, WA State Comps 2015 – Photo: Sally de Koning