The Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) is the Training and Safety arm of the Soaring Society of America (SSA). Our mission is to provide instructors and pilots with the tools needed to teach/learn both the stick & rudder skills and the Aeronautical Decision Making skills needed to safely fly a glider. We also provide information and analysis of incident and accident trends in order to develop better training tools.


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The Soaring Incident Database is now available to help pilots, safety officers, clubs, and commercial operators develop new programs that can help prevent incidents from becoming major accidents. See more incidents by searching the database or register a new incident.

Region Pilot Certificate Pilot Injuries Passenger Injuries Type of Flight Launch Method Type of Aircraft
East Commercial None None Local Aero Tow L23
Incident Activity Damage to Aircraft Damage to Canopy Incident Date Incident Time Weather SSA Member
Flight None 2018-11-29 1200-1400 Overcast Yes
Incident Description Day was overcast with ASOS reporting scattered clouds 4,300 and ceiling 6,000. Flight was intended to be a tow to 5000 feet. At 4,000 feet tow was proceeding into the wind northbound in a climb at about 300 feet per minute. Tow pilot turned south and entered a \"broken\" cloud that was not readily apparent in low contrast gray-on-gray conditions. Glider remained on tow for about 45 seconds in worsening IMC but with tow plane in sight as tow pilot initiated a 180 turn back to north. Glider pilot pulled air brakes and released when tow pilot began to descend towards clear area and glider began to overtake the tow plane. Towplane dove away into clear area and glider descended into clear area with air brakes.
Other Comments Regardless of agreed upon tow height maintain cloud clearance and look at cloud conditions in the turn to make sure continued climb does not result in entering broken clouds or solid overcast. Low contrast (stratus cloud) conditions with multiple layers make this harder to avoid.

Find out more about the Soaring Safety Foundation: (trustees, mission, By-Laws, or Contact us by email).