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 Student None None Local Aero Tow SGS2-33A
Incident Activity Damage to Aircraft Damage to Canopy Incident Date Incident Time Weather SSA Member
Preflight None 2018-09-29 1000-1200 Clear Yes
Incident Description A recently soloed student was preparing for a solo launch with rope connected and tow plane engine running. By happenstance a CFIG who had used the glider immediately before had misplaced his cell phone and decided to stop the launch so he could inspect the bilge of the glider for the lost phone. Upon opening the rear door he saw that the student had secured the rear seat cushions by looping the rear seat belt around the rear stick - severely limiting the stick's forward travel. The CFI terminated the launch. On interview the student maintained that she had done a control check - but clearly she had actually only achieved some slight aileron control movement and no elevator control. Had the launch continued a very serious accident for both the glider and tow plane would have occured. The student flew a dual instructional flight later that day.
Other Comments This is difficult because it reflects a fundamental error by the young student on an issue that seems so obvious as to not require specific instruction. However, the club has instituted a policy that during ground towing operations the controls will only be secured via the front seat belts.

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