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Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety

 


Andie787  (Student)

Aug 18, 2003, 6:01 AM
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Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety Can't Post

Hi,


This
http://www.canada.com/...6D-9328-5DA3B8CAD7EA
happened near Montreal. Full text posted below.

The article makes it sound like there are no rules in the air for gliders, other than looking around.

Do many glider pilots wear emergency parachutes? How did the other pilot manage to save himself, with debris raining down around him?

How safe is gliding?

Andie




Montreal pilot dies as gliders collide in flight
Second man parachutes safely. Both aircraft crash near facilities of soaring club in Hawkesbury

KIRSTIN ENDEMANN and JOANNE LAUCIUS; With files from KAREN SNIDER
CanWest News Service

Monday, August 18, 2003
CREDIT: SIMON HAYTER, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE

A 37-year-old Montreal man was killed in a mid-air crash yesterday afternoon, when two gliders collided just west of Hawkesbury.

Both gliders were from the Montreal Soaring Council. The pilot of one parachuted to safety, while the second pilot fell to the ground. He died on impact.

The incident happened about 1:50 p.m. as onlookers watched in horror.

Dennis Thomasson and his wife, Terry, were considering taking gliding lessons. They watched as planes towed the gliders into the air. In all, the Thomassons saw about nine or 10 launches.

They heard, rather than saw, the two gliders collide and watched as one broke into three fragments. One of the fragments was "spinning like a maple key" said Thomasson, and they feared the parachutist, who was beneath one of them, would be struck.

The other glider crashed to the ground beside a hangar where the club houses its gliders.

Ontario Provincial Police identifed the dead man last night as Mircea Chesoi. They did not release the name of the other pilot.

The dead man's wife and young daughter arrived at the accident site about 6 p.m., and a police officer escorted them across yellow police tape to the crash site.

Only a chunk of the glider's side and a wing remained. The rest had disintegrated in the crash, police said.

The Transportation Safety Board and Nav Canada, which controls air traffic in Canada, have been notified.

This is the third fatal accident involving the Montreal Soaring Council in about four years.

In June 1999, Daniel Chevrefils, 51, died when his glider plunged from the air as it was making its final approach to the club's grass airfield. Three months later, Robert Gairns, who was in his 80s, died after his glider nosedived and crashed.

The club, which consists of gliding enthusiasts mostly from the Montreal area, set up the airfield in 1957.

Last night, members of the club were tight-lipped about the crash.

However, Greg Bennett, a flying instructor with the club, said it is possible to obtain a glider pilot's licence in about 45 days.

Gliders are light aircraft with long slender wings and no engines, usually flown by one or two people. They are usually towed into the air by a plane and released at a safe altitude, often about 1,000 metres above ground. The gliders then seek out thermals - rising sources of heat - which can keep the plane aloft for as long as eight hours.

The Montreal Soaring Council requires radios to be installed in each of its gliders, though this is not necessarily required by law, said Bennett.

"We can have from one to 25 planes up in the air at a time," he said. "We do have different zones, but pilots will go where there is lift - thermals formed by the sun and the specific geography of the ground."

But radios are used primarily in landing, Bennett said, not to inform other pilots of coordinates because there is a lot of chatter coming from New York state pilots and others in Ottawa.

Unlike with other planes, gliders are not guided by traffic controllers or mechanical equipment. Pilots must rely solely on the 300-degree view from the cockpit and radios.

"A glider is not a very big ship so you have to be much more observant and watch and watch and watch. If they are coming directly at you, the visibility of seeing them is at its smallest - you won't have as much time to react as quickly."

There are procedures for turning left and right and checking the area before making any sudden changes in direction, like landing, he said.

"There only about 100 pilots in the club,"said Mr. Bennett, who insisted that gliding is a very safe sport.

"I, we all, have lost a very good friend," he said.

"I really do not know what happened - it's a really safe sport. I'm so surprised and shocked this happened."

Ottawa Citizen
Copyright 2003 Montreal Gazette





AndyMan  (D 25698)

Aug 18, 2003, 7:35 AM
Post #2 of 10 (1543 views)
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Re: [Andie787] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The article makes it sound like there are no rules in the air for gliders, other than looking around.

From what I understand, gliding is pretty much a perfect example of the "Big Sky Theory". Sad to hear about this, though...

_Am


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 18, 2003, 10:39 AM
Post #3 of 10 (1478 views)
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Re: [AndyMan] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

Glider pilots mainly wear parachutes because of the risk of collisions in thermals. If you get two or more gliders spiraling upwards in the same thermal they can get pretty close.
In competition, gentlemen glider pilots like to "nudge" each other, sort of like during sail boat races. The pilot who flinches first loses.

The other reason glider pilots wear parachutes is because of the risk of getting sucked up into a towering cumulo nimbus cloud, aka, thunderstorm. Thunderstorms can tear apart the strongest of military jets,


jmidgley  (C 103474)

Aug 19, 2003, 1:25 AM
Post #4 of 10 (1394 views)
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Re: [AndyMan] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
The article makes it sound like there are no rules in the air for gliders, other than looking around.

From what I understand, gliding is pretty much a perfect example of the "Big Sky Theory". Sad to hear about this, though...

_Am

As a hang-glider pilot and paraglider pilot, I'd be amazed to hear that this was true. I was trained to observe the internationally accepted rules about right of way[1], with the additional rule that the first person in a thermal sets the direction of rotation.

These rules apply everywhere - except the French alps, of course...

[1] You do all *know* these rules, don't you?

John


kallend  (D 23151)

Aug 19, 2003, 8:23 AM
Post #5 of 10 (1352 views)
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Re: [jmidgley] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Quote:
The article makes it sound like there are no rules in the air for gliders, other than looking around.

From what I understand, gliding is pretty much a perfect example of the "Big Sky Theory". Sad to hear about this, though...

_Am

As a hang-glider pilot and paraglider pilot, I'd be amazed to hear that this was true. I was trained to observe the internationally accepted rules about right of way[1], with the additional rule that the first person in a thermal sets the direction of rotation.

These rules apply everywhere - except the French alps, of course...

[1] You do all *know* these rules, don't you?

John

I am an FAA licensed glider pilot. Gliders are subject to the FARs, just like any other (non ultralite) aircraft. That includes all the regs about right of way, traffic patterns, use of airspace, etc., and parachutes for aerobatics.

BUT - since you can fly solo with just a student license, and that's all many glider pilots ever wish to do, many glider pilots have never bothered to take the tests (written, oral and flight tests required).


pchapman  (D 1014)

Aug 20, 2003, 3:56 PM
Post #6 of 10 (1310 views)
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Re: [Andie787] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The article makes it sound like there are no rules in the air for gliders, other than looking around.

Do many glider pilots wear emergency parachutes? How did the other pilot manage to save himself, with debris raining down around him?

It's not entirely unlike skydiving, for there are rules but you gotta keep your head on a swivel because the aircraft involved aren't ones that typically fly long, straight courses from one predetermined point to another.

In some countries glider pilots are required to wear chutes, in others, like Canada and the US, it is less common. Not sure how much. Chutes are worn during contests, however, because of the increased risk of collision.

The Big Sky Theory also works somewhat when bailing out -- it would be quite unusual (probably even extremely rare) for someone bailing out to be hit by parts of the airplane they departed.

As you gain experience with skydiving and the aviation world, you'll begin to notice how useless newspaper reports are about technical matters in aviation, such as the causes of an accident. Reporters have to try to become instant experts on every topic they cover, and it just doesn't work. You'll hear things like "the parachute failed", whether the parachute failed or the jumper failed to use it properly.

Peter Chapman
Toronto, Ontario


pilotdave  (D License)

Aug 21, 2003, 9:35 AM
Post #7 of 10 (1283 views)
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Re: [Andie787] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

I happened to read the official preliminary accident report yesterday. Said that both pilots were wearing parachutes.

Dave


GeorgiaDon  (A 35958)

Aug 21, 2003, 11:17 AM
Post #8 of 10 (1267 views)
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Re: [Andie787] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

A long time ago I saw something on TV about someone designing an emergency parachute for small aircraft. There was even video of a Cesna landing under this system, with minimal damage. However I haven't heard of such a device being used in the "real world". It would seem to be ideal for gliders; you could have a big round reserve under a pop-top behind the cockpit, with a handle inside the cockpit. No need to climb out and jump, which can be hard or impossible in a spin. I can even imagine an AAD, something like a student Cypres (it's hard to visualize accidental deployments from exceeding the descent limits while swooping the runway in a glider). Silly idea, or more business for the riggers out there?


pilotdave  (D License)

Aug 21, 2003, 1:41 PM
Post #9 of 10 (1246 views)
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Re: [GeorgiaDon] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

Those are called (by the top company anyway) ballistic recovery systems (http://brsparachutes.com/). They're widely used on ultralights and homebuilts now, and are certified for use on a few production aircraft. They come standard on Cirrus aircraft and will be standard on a new German plane. Also available for 152s and 172s.

I think lots of homebuilt pilots have been saved, and at least one cirrus used it after an aileron failure. The aircraft will be substantially damaged by the landing, but the pilot can walk away.

Dave


(This post was edited by pilotdave on Aug 21, 2003, 1:42 PM)


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 22, 2003, 8:05 AM
Post #10 of 10 (1207 views)
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Re: [pilotdave] Glider Collision: One Parachutes to Safety [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone know which model of PEP the surviving pilot wore?
Which rigger collected a bottle for repacking that PEP?



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