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Tail Strike Avoidance

 

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flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 14, 2009, 9:00 AM
Post #1 of 66 (4250 views)
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Tail Strike Avoidance Can't Post

Hello fellow instructors out there. First of all I am only a coach with 500 jumps so I am not trying to act like I know more than what I do. I am only hoping to bring this situation to a better light so that more emphasis might be placed on it in the future. Tail strikes are becoming quite the common happening in the incidents of our sport, usually related to wingsuits. This weekend three of my friends and I were doing hop and pops from 5,500', after two of us went out the plane began to climb again and the third jumper left the plane to high and struck the tail wing on a PAC. The jumper suffered a major break between the elbow and shoulder with no other major injuries. The jumper was wearing a helmet, but had no ADD in use so we all know how much worse this could have potentionally been. In my opinion this can be prevented simply by a jumper knowing what is suppose to be going on with an aircraft during exit. I remember my training on exit procedures as a student, I know what AFF instructors teach now and whats in a FJC, and I just took my instructoral course recently from a very respected and well know director and I know what we are trained to teach and is current. And I feel like this area in general in lacking. We spend a lot of time and emphasis on getting ready in the door and leaving stable ect. But there is a danger between the two, and it is the tail of the aircraft. I am just hoping to get the wheels rolling with this, I don't like these forums and I most likely won't check this page again so don't bother going through bashing procedures, I just want all of us to take this into consideration with students in the future. Maybe a safety day discussion for liscensed jumpers, something. Thanx guys.


(This post was edited by flyright on Feb 14, 2009, 9:09 AM)


AFFI  (D 25538)

Feb 14, 2009, 9:11 AM
Post #2 of 66 (4204 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I don't like these forums and I most likely won't check this page again so don't bother


labrys  (D 29848)

Feb 14, 2009, 10:52 AM
Post #3 of 66 (4148 views)
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Re: [AFFI] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I don't like these forums and I most likely won't check this page again so don't bother going through bashing procedures, I just want all of us to take this into consideration with students in the future.

Maybe you should have quoted the entire sentence instead of the bit you wanted to cherry pick.


diablopilot  (D License)

Feb 14, 2009, 11:15 AM
Post #4 of 66 (4142 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for binging it up. All jumpers should know not to exit a side door aircraft in anything other than a jumprun configuration. Period.


Oh and "tail wing" = horizontal stabilizer.


sdctlc  (D 16437)

Feb 14, 2009, 11:40 AM
Post #5 of 66 (4134 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Tail strikes are becoming quite the common happening in the incidents of our sport, usually related to wingsuits.

I do have to question your statement on the frequency of Tail Strikes and wingsuits... I seem to recall that 3 strikes happened last year but I don't think that any were Wingsuit related. One was fatal and the other 2 resulted in a broken jumper. They were HnP's with the jumper either hopping up or exiting in a head high position combined with the possibility that the plane was climbing.

It can be agreed to that a wingsuit can POP UP right off the plane but this is something that I and every other wingsuit person knows about and teaches/was taught with a First Flight course... I know it is something that I stress and am aware of. If I am missing a great number of wingsuit tail strike incidents please let me know, I do know it has happened but from what I can find, it is way more frequent the with Hop n pops as I noted above..

Scott C.


(This post was edited by sdctlc on Feb 14, 2009, 1:29 PM)


Andy9o8  (D License)

Feb 14, 2009, 1:00 PM
Post #6 of 66 (4097 views)
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Re: [sdctlc] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
please let me know

How can he? He won't be reading further. Crazy


flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 14, 2009, 1:44 PM
Post #7 of 66 (4079 views)
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Re: [Andy9o8] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

I actually do read them, for educational purposes, and I did go back and research the incidents from last year and you are correct, but the one that I saw happen was a winguit pilot so my comment was a little one sided. I agree are in the fact that wingsuit pilots are probably just more aware, I am a wingsuit pilot so I can relate, I was just thinking maybe a little more emphasis needs to be put on this situation say...200 or 300 jumps before a wingsuit is in the picture. Hell why not from jump #1!Wink I'm just playing, take it lightly. I don't post a lot because I don't like the whole post war thing, but I did want to see what other instructors with more experience thought about the situation.


(This post was edited by flyright on Feb 14, 2009, 1:45 PM)


sdctlc  (D 16437)

Feb 14, 2009, 2:17 PM
Post #8 of 66 (4058 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I actually do read them, for educational purposes, and I did go back and research the incidents from last year and you are correct, but the one that I saw happen was a winguit pilot so my comment was a little one sided. I agree are in the fact that wingsuit pilots are probably just more aware, I am a wingsuit pilot so I can relate, I was just thinking maybe a little more emphasis needs to be put on this situation say...200 or 300 jumps before a wingsuit is in the picture. Hell why not from jump #1!Wink I'm just playing, take it lightly. I don't post a lot because I don't like the whole post war thing, but I did want to see what other instructors with more experience thought about the situation.

I, as an instructor and experienced jumper, responded to your question not with any sort of Post War mentality. I cant imagine what I said was taken that way as I simply questioned the level your statement was true. I felt it was not a good representation of the FACTS and disputed your claim that Wingsuits were an issue, which they are not currently. As an experienced WS pilot I think the tail is one thing that is hammered in from the beginning and it should be. Diligence has to be taken on every jump and most WS pilots are more aware about the tail then the rest from my experience.

That said, Tail strike issues stem from the jumper not being aware and not avoiding the tail. The pilot can put the plane in a lot of different configurations and the jumper should be able to safely exit, plane climbing or not. Optimally the exit will be from a throttled back and level to slightly tail high airplane but that is not always the case and as a result it is the jumpers responsibility to recognize and react correctly for the exit.

Earlier awareness of the tail is not a bad idea and should be more of a concern for jumpers. I don't have an issue with talking bout tail potential for younger jumpers and quite often did when teaching S/L. It was a very common question to be asked if they (student) was going to hit the tail when they let go. You can talk about forward throw, gravity taking over and other factors that affect this to the point of nausea but it is a series of events and just the right situation to create the strike. Most common as I guestimate the factors to be is a higher plane speed and a float or push up on the exit. How about being way back on camera step and thus much closer to the tail while standing up high. Different planes could be looked at as more susceptible to a tail strike and some extra care should be noted there as well.

It would be fantastic to not hear about this type of thing. Will it completely go away, I doubt it as we constantly re-learn past mistakes with about every incident. More jumper awareness goes a long way in almost every incident. And I agree that getting more knowledge out there to younger jumpers and in some cases experienced jumpers helps but don't blame one group from your experience as the numbers don't support it.

Scott C.


flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 14, 2009, 2:35 PM
Post #9 of 66 (4045 views)
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Re: [sdctlc] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand, I guess its just one of those things that get over looked after awhile. I could see where jumpers could make jumps weekend after weekend could get a little lax on the tail being a factor in exit and nothing ever go wrong, and then all of a sudden the plane speeds up, tail drops, no one pays attention, and next thing you know, the local freefly team is using your skull as a speed ball. I was thinking about having a discussion about this on safety day, or next weekend for that matter. I just think it should be presented a little stronger in my experience. Do you guys have any specific methods you have used in the past for exit procedures and the tail? How often and when did you review them? Oh yeah, my bad on the assumption!


(This post was edited by flyright on Feb 14, 2009, 2:38 PM)


JohnRich  (D License)

Feb 14, 2009, 3:23 PM
Post #10 of 66 (4021 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The jumper was wearing a helmet, but had no ADD...

Attention Deficit Disorder?

I think you mean "AAD".


Andy_Copland  (A 105852)

Feb 14, 2009, 3:31 PM
Post #11 of 66 (4017 views)
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Re: [JohnRich] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd have never of guessed he meant that, thanks for clearing that up John *big thumbs up*


flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 14, 2009, 3:37 PM
Post #12 of 66 (4011 views)
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Re: [Andy_Copland] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, I have accidental dumbass disorter and it affects my typingWink


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Feb 14, 2009, 5:06 PM
Post #13 of 66 (3981 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Do you guys have any specific methods you have used in the past for exit procedures and the tail? How often and when did you review them? Oh yeah, my bad on the assumption!

Yes, we do have a very specific method, and it is drilled in all mockup jumps and throughout the first flight course. If the person grew lax, I'd suggest that he was not properly instructed. I was not taught about the horizontal stabilizer in my FFC, but re-did the FFC with Scott Campos, where it was heavily stressed.
"Jump one thousand, Wing one thousand" is a very common method of teaching to keep arm and leg wings closed on exit.

Even though this is heavily stressed during a first flight course, there is only benefit in reinforcing it during Safety Day presentations, IMO. Dropzones that have KA, Beech, Caravans...this cannot be mentioned enough for wingsuiters. However, as SDCTLC suggests, there is no data to support that wingsuiters have a higher tail strike percentage, although we certainly have a higher potential.

So you're saying this tail strike was a wingsuiter on a hop n' pop at 5k?


flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 14, 2009, 5:21 PM
Post #14 of 66 (3976 views)
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Re: [DSE] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

No, just a hop and pop from 5,500' jumper had 75ish jumps.


peek  (D 8884)

Feb 14, 2009, 6:45 PM
Post #15 of 66 (3946 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
We spend a lot of time and emphasis on getting ready in the door and leaving stable ...

I understand, but our students, after becoming experienced skydivers, and if the exit altitude is anything but "low", no longer need to worry about "stable" exits. They can just "fling themselves" from the aircraft (while avoiding the tail) and have fun.

In reply to:
Maybe a safety day discussion for licensed jumpers, something.

Very good idea.

My thoughts, (and the thoughts of my friend who makes nearly all of his larger aircraft jumps from a low altitude), "Leave with your knees on the floor".


diablopilot  (D License)

Feb 14, 2009, 7:03 PM
Post #16 of 66 (3937 views)
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Re: [sdctlc] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Tail strike issues stem from the jumper not being aware and not avoiding the tail. The pilot can put the plane in a lot of different configurations and the jumper should be able to safely exit, plane climbing or not.

NO, it stems from aircraft not being properly configured for exit. Period.


sdctlc  (D 16437)

Feb 14, 2009, 7:16 PM
Post #17 of 66 (3934 views)
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Re: [diablopilot] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Tail strike issues stem from the jumper not being aware and not avoiding the tail. The pilot can put the plane in a lot of different configurations and the jumper should be able to safely exit, plane climbing or not.

NO, it stems from aircraft not being properly configured for exit. Period.

JP,

We can argue about this but it is not 100% the configuration of the airplane. A jumper should be aware of the position of the airplane.. Even a PAC, with the low horizontal, in a "normal" exit configuration can lead to a tail strike of the jumper exits "high"... I know you like to have a black and white attitude on the forums (I would guess in real life as well) and though I even tend to nod my head yes with a lot of what you say, in this case there is no way you can 100% lay it on the airplane...

Scott C.


bodypilot1  (D 16037)

Feb 14, 2009, 7:45 PM
Post #18 of 66 (3921 views)
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Re: [diablopilot] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

 
In reply to:
NO, it stems from aircraft not being properly configured for exit. Period.

So would that also include exiting the aircraft in an emergency situation? I guess when the pilot can not configure the aircraft for proper exit, when he may need the jumpers OUT, they should just stay in? Crazy
The jumper is responsible for exiting the aircraft in any configuration. Period.


flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 14, 2009, 10:24 PM
Post #19 of 66 (3888 views)
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Re: [bodypilot1] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

Well during an emergency the plane would most likely be in a tail high senerio anyway, in other words descending or atleast leveled off.


bodypilot1  (D 16037)

Feb 15, 2009, 11:36 AM
Post #20 of 66 (3810 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well during an emergency the plane would most likely be in a tail high senerio anyway, in other words descending or atleast leveled off.

Really........CrazyCrazyCrazy


flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 15, 2009, 11:43 AM
Post #21 of 66 (3806 views)
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Re: [bodypilot1] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

Tongue


AFFI  (D 25538)

Feb 15, 2009, 11:54 AM
Post #22 of 66 (3800 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well during an emergency the plane would most likely be in a tail high senerio anyway, in other words descending or atleast leveled off.
A March or two ago I seem to remember something about a Beech at 2K with emergency exits necessary and one jumper did a poised exit and struck the horizontal stabilizer (tail) on exit subsequently saved by a Cypress fire.
Everyone else on the plane dove out with no other injuries.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Feb 15, 2009, 12:11 PM
Post #23 of 66 (3794 views)
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Re: [flyright] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well during an emergency the plane would most likely be in a tail high senerio anyway, in other words descending or atleast leveled off.

During an emergency, the aircraft might be in any number of angles, including upside down. The pilot may be straining to maintain or gain altitude to allow skydivers to get out, etc. The only thing "most likely" in an emergency scenario is that you'd likely best be listening for the pilot's instruction.


flyright  (D 31007)

Feb 15, 2009, 2:13 PM
Post #24 of 66 (3777 views)
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Re: [DSE] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, bad assumption, I get it!Pirate, hey I did say most likely, not alwaysWink


(This post was edited by flyright on Feb 15, 2009, 2:17 PM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Feb 15, 2009, 4:19 PM
Post #25 of 66 (3738 views)
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Re: [diablopilot] Tail Strike Avoidance [In reply to] Can't Post

>NO, it stems from aircraft not being properly configured for exit. Period.

I can think of four tailstrike incidents where the aircraft was properly configured for jump run - and the jumper hit the tail anyway.


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