Monthly Soaring Magazine Articles for 2008

January - Recurrent Training by Bob Wander

Recurrent training for flight crews is pursued by every scheduled air carrier (United, Northwest, American, Delta, and so on) every six months. This is the recurrent training schedule for pilots who generally fly around 70-80 hours a month, every month, as vocational, professional, full-time pilots. Read the full article.

February - Winch launching revisited by Bernald Smith

A little over a year ago in this column, we reported on the documented losses/fatalities due to the dangers of winch launching compared to aerotow. In one case, there were 8 times as many fatalities/major injuries during winch launch compared to during aerotow. (To be clear, we're talking about what happens to the glider after a launch failure, i.e. other than a normal release.) Does that mean that winch launching is too hazardous to consider? Is there anything that can be done to counter the risks? Read the full article.
BGA winch launching hazards Brochure

March - Density Altitude Dilemmas by Stephen Dee

Whether you are a Self-Launching or Aero-towed glider pilot, this question is for you: when was the last time you calculated the Density Altitude (DA) as part of your pre-flight preparation? It doesn't matter if you use a Flight Computer, Electronic Calculator, or pencil and paper, but both common sense, and the FAR's dictate that you do it before every flight. Specifically, FAR 91.103 (b)(2) states: "Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include, (2) For civil aircraft other than those specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, other reliable information appropriate to the aircraft, relating to aircraft performance under expected values of airport elevation and runway slope, aircraft gross weight, and wind and temperature." Read the full article.

April - 2007 Soaring Safety Report - Executive Summary by Rich Carlson

This report covers the FY07 (November 1, 2006 to October 31, 2007) reporting period. A review of the NTSB accident database shows US soaring accidents during this time period increased over 25% compared to the FY06 reporting period. FY07 also saw a 133% increase in the number of fatal accidents, ending a four year trend of decreasing fatalities. These numbers indicate that the US soaring community needs to rededicate itself to improving their soaring organizations operations. Only by instilling an 'operational safety culture' can we reduce the number of accidents that impact us all. Read the full article.
Click here for a list of complete reports.

May - Things to Consider - ICU by Bernald Smith

So, assuming a healthy condition of both you and your glider, you get into your ship and you go flying without a care in the world nor a need to deal with the FAA for permission to make your flight nor a need to tell anyone what you're going to do. Maybe you're going cross-country so you've checked the weather. Maybe you just plan to stay around the field, but you've still checked the weather because it might change. Maybe you don't have any crew nor trailer so you want to stay within gliding distance of your home airport, or one from which you can easily arrange an aerotow retrieve, so you tell the towpilot to be alert for a possible call. Read the full article.

June - Ground Launching, A New Idea? by Gene Hammond

During The SSA Convention in Albuquerque in February, 2008, the Soaring Safety Foundation presented a series of lectures regarding methods and techniques that could offer the individual pilot guidance to safer flight, including talks on ground launching. Read the full article.

July - Airspace in the New Century - Revisited by Richard Carlson

In January 2000 SOARING published an article by Jim Short entitled "Airspace in the New Century". That article provided US glider pilots with 12 concrete actions that they could use to enhance safety and deal with the evolving US airspace system. Here again are those 12 action items. Read the full article.

August - Some Things Never Change by Gene Hammond

In 1981, in conjunction with the Soaring Society's Flight Training and Safety Board (FTSB), the Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) was tasked with recognizing, researching, and tabulating glider and soaring accidents. Research through National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data proved somewhat lacking, since gliding and soaring did not provide sufficient accidents to firmly establish causes or alert the soaring community of any trends which would help the FTSB or SSF to propose cures to a rather dismal safety record. Read the full article.

September - Woodworking 102 by PIC of incident

To repair a wooden spar (or metal spar, too, as far as that goes), in the olden days at least, one did a 10/1 splice. That means the length of the splice is ten times the thickness of the material being spliced, such as a spar cap. So, a half inch thick spar cap requires planing down a ramp like portion five inches long on both sections being spliced back together to fit over/under each other, perfectly matched, touching completely over the total splice area, to be glued together, with or without doublers, depending upon one's faith in one's work, among other things. It is helpful when doing such work to enlist the aid of a master wood workman like Don Mitchell, who old-timers may recall was one such person, par excellence. Read the full article.

October - Getting it right the First Time by Stephen Dee

After many years of flying high and low flying aircraft, fast and slow movers, peace-time and combat, (fortunately, mostly peace-time) I have concluded that aviation is really a very simple linear activity. Regardless of the mount, flying requires that certain things are done in a certain way, and in a very certain order. Get them out of order, and it generally does not bode well. Read the full article.

November - Safety Officer - A Job Description and Training Guide by Burt Compton

By invitation, the Soaring Safety Foundation has conducted more than 40 "Site Survey" observations of soaring sites around the USA. Most soaring clubs appoint a "Safety Officer" but we see many Safety Officers do not have the backbone or the backing of the club's Board of Directors to be truly effective. Therefore, the SSF offers a 'job description' and resource with the recently published Safety Officer Training Guide. Read the full article.

December - WHY? by Bernald Smith

Why can't we reduce the accident rate amongst our Soaring Society of America members? And other questiongs all gliders pilots need to answer... Read the full article.