SAFA Skysailor Magazine

32 SKY SAILOR November | December 2023 AIRS Safety Wrap-up – October 2023 by Iain Clarke – SAFA Safety Management Officer Greetings fellow pilots. We’ll do a whip around the country this issue, starting here in Tasmania. #1844 – PG incident at Gaffs,Tas PIC was flying their paraglider at Gaffs Hill (Tas) in close proximity to the terrain and when they lost lift, have flown into the side of the hill. A grazed elbow resulted. All pilots are reminded to allow sufficient vertical and horizontal separation with terrain, considering the wind strength and direction, and availability (or lack of) lift. Always leave a margin for error that will enable you to reach a safe landing. #1851 – Curiosity nearly killed this cat, PG, Tas PIC was flying their paraglider alone at Green Hills (Tas). They had heard about flying with brake line wraps and decided to try a double wrap. After about 10 minutes, they decided to push forward of the hill, then try a 360º turn. PIC had forgotten about the double-wrap, and instead of a tight turn, initiated a spiral dive. PIC pulled the inside brake harder to avoid the hill, but instead stalled the wing-tip, causing the entire wing to spin. They landed on their backside with their airbag harness taking the full impact. A bruised heel and fear trauma resulted. Flying with a double wrap is not at all recommended. A wrap effectively shortens the length of the brake line and results in the loss of the graduated application of brake input. Normal brake inputs then result in exaggerated behaviour towards the end of the brake range and much, much sooner. This can lead to the behaviours exhibited in this report – spinning and stalling the wing. A wrap can be used in the very final landing phase to produce a strong flare, but should only be attempted after experimenting with a half-wrap. A half-wrap may also be useful when thermalling, but this is very much a personal, experienced pilot preference decision. The harness involved in this accident suffered critical failure of stitching and seams, in addition to the broken carbon-fibre base board. Harnesses that suffer such damage should be retired or sent immediately to an authorised service agent to determine if the harness is even repairable. They should not be flown until professionally inspected and repaired. #1796 – Laziness can be fatal, PG, Tas PIC (PG2) launched in light thermic conditions at Lemon Hill (Tas), expecting a sleddy. They had an extended sleddy, and during the flight saw an experienced pilot top landing, and decided that it would be easier to try and top land than walk up the hill. While low and in proximity of the hill, PIC felt a thermal and decided to try and get the height to top land. PIC turned into the thermal, turning towards the hill, gained a small amount of height and fell out of the thermal into sink, still flying towards the hill. PIC had an unplanned landing across slope with speed, and skidded along the ground before hitting a rock. PIC managed to get away with only minor grazing and bruising. Making decisions to try something based upon seeing someone else doing it is risky, especially if you don’t understand or know the skill set required. Top-landings should not be attempted until the skills required are