SAFA Skysailor Magazine

29 September | October 2020 SKY SAILOR Tow operator actions and expectations: • • Planning for the ability to see the pilot effectively during the whole flight. • • Appropriate regulation of tow forces during each stage of the flight (i.e. launch, climb, release) as appropriate for pilot skill level. • • Failure of tow system scenarios (i.e. failures of the release, drum/line, weak link, etc.) during each stage of the flight. Consider creating and using checklists for specific equipment and each of the personnel and pilots involved in the tow operation. Use regular procedures to assess and monitor equipment condition and equipment maintenance. Risk management and attitude The analyses of many accidents indicate that pilots often experienced glider control problems they could not effec- tively deal with at a relatively low altitude before impacts. Although issue specifics vary (i.e. tumble/turbulence, equipment failure) there were likely decision-making opportunities earlier in, or even before, the flights that could have mitigated risks or prevented accidents. A refresher seminar might includethe below topics. Weather analysis and predictions: • • Wind velocity, direction, and trends for the day. • • Thermal strength and shear potential (tumble/collapse risk assessment). • • Overdevelopment potential. • • Site-specific scenarios of good and bad places to be, given the weather conditions of the day. Site and common XC route analyses: • • Where and when to go and where and when not to go. • • Where and when not to get low. Have your own ‘Safe Operating Envelope’ for the day (i.e.: I won’t go lower than this before I head out to get more height or land). Camera use and its effect on concentration. Be alert to the danger of distraction and the acceptance of higher risk for ‘The Shot’. Risk management of the next generation of pilots, our students. This important topic should acknowledge the fact that as we learn, we do not have the muscle memory or cognitive skills to react properly in new situations. This requires carefully consideration of all aspects of student flights, with respect to what they have previously demonstrated and what might be required to do in each of their progressive flights. Complacency and denial One factor is most common in accidents/incidents – com- placency. Complacency occurs when a pilot’s hyper-vigilant, reflexive stance is replaced with the misguided confidence that ‘I can handle this’, based on the repetition of flight circumstances where the pilot did handle it in the past – or perhaps just ‘got away with it’. Complacency is a companion to denial, such as ‘this isn’t happening/can’t happen to me’. Both mindsets are understandable in an aging pilot population who have completed decades of flying, and perhaps these attitudes are inadvertently instilled in newer pilots by being around experienced ones. Based on the analyses of previous accidents, complacency and denial affects: 1. The amount of risk pilots are willing to accept in the weather/turbulence/ altitude in which they choose to fly. 2. The accurate assessment of what is required of their launch technique for the conditions. 3. The decision to immediately throw a chute when they lose control of their wing. The longer we fly, the more likely complacency tends to erode the margin required to deal with the almost inevitable circumstance where only decisive, immediate, and efficiently executed action leads to survival. Original article by Mitch Shipley, USHPA Accident Reporting Committee Co-Chair (Hang Gliding) Before each and every flight, remind yourself that flying has inherent risk and ask yourself and your buddies whether you are satisfied with what you have done to minimise the risk so this flight will not be your last. Towing at Dalby, QLD – Photo: Tex Bec