Monthly Soaring Magazine Articles for 2009

January - The Three Cs by Gene Hammond

The following is a reprint of an article written by Gene Hammond, published in the October, 1987 issue of SAILPLANE SAFETY, the house organ of the Soaring Safety Foundation prior to SSF's commencing publication of safety articles in SOARING in 1996. Read the full article.

February - First Flight Guide for Instructors and Trainees by Stephen Dee

The concept of the First Flight with a CFI-G offers a terrific opportunity for instructors to instill professionalism in the ranks of what is largely a part-time flying group. Don't take the responsibility lightly; a little pre-flight planning on what to cover in your training session will go a long way. Read the full article.

March - Hooray, It's Spring by Gene Hammond

I'm sitting inside my nice warm house in Illinois while outside, the temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -2 degrees and I realize that flying gliders today is not a worthwhile effort. Read the full article.

April - Soaring Safety Foundation Annual Safety Summary Report FY08 by SSF Trustees

This report covers the FY08 (November 1, 2007 to October 31, 2008) reporting period. A review of the NTSB accident database shows US soaring accidents during this time period decreased over 28% compared to the FY07 reporting period. FY08 also saw a 57% decrease in the number of fatal accidents. While these numbers indicate that the US soaring community has reversed the recent trend, reducing both the number of accidents and the number of fatalities, more improvements are needed. Only by instilling an “operational safety culture” can we continue to reduce the number of accidents that impact us all. Read the full article.

May - Planning for a PT3 Event by Richard Carlson

In reviewing the 2008 accident statistics, the Trustees noticed a disturbing trend that needs to be addressed. This trend deals with aborted aerotow take-off's or Premature Termination of the Tow (PT3) events. While there are many reasons that a tow might terminate before the glider reaches the planned release altitude, these events can be classified into two major categories. That is planned or unplanned releases. Read the full article.

June - Preventing Rollout Accidents by Burt Compton and Pat Costello

You are on final. Got your touchdown spot in sight. Airspeed? Perfect. Spoilers? Set for a moderate sink rate and a good angle to the runway. Traffic? You seem to be the only one in the pattern, and there is no one on the runway. Wind? Headwind is straight down the runway at perhaps 5 knots. Distractions? None. Tense? A little. After all, you¿ve got a passenger who expects you to grease it on. Time to round-out. Adjusting pitch. Holding your breath. Touchdown. Perfect! You exhale. Your shoulders relax; as does your grip on the stick (do you know that feeling?). As you start to silently compliment yourself for a job well done, the left wing drops and the glider veers towards a small ditch left of the narrow runway. Bump. Bump. Bump. Then suddenly a thump as you come to an unexpected and unwelcome stop. Read the full article.

July - Aerotow Signals - Do you know what's going on? by Richard Carlson

In the May issue of Soaring Gene Hammond reviewed the basic ground and in-flight signals used by US glider pilots. The SSA codified most of these signals in the late 1940's due to the coordination efforts of Fritz Compton. However, one in-flight signal "something is wrong with the glider" was added to the mix in the mid 1990's. Unfortunately, this signal continues to be mis-interpreted by glider pilots who release instead of checking to see what's wrong (e.g., the spoilers are open). Read the full article.

August - The Value of Club Management by Burt Compton and Pat Costello

Whether they are properly or poorly managed, clubs are going to have accidents. Insurance companies believe properly managed clubs will have fewer losses than their counterparts. In addition, they feel the poorly managed clubs will have larger losses. Read the full article.

September - Winches - Pay Attention by Bernald Smith

Within only a 7 week period in May/June this summer there were 4 accidents that we have heard about that began while still on the wire/rope during winch launch, resulting in one fatality, two injuries and substantial to total hull loss. In contrast, for the first 26 weeks of this year, we have heard about 3 incidents that began while still on airplane tow which resulted in no injuries, no fatalities and canopy damage only. During 10 incidents/accidents in 2008 that began on aircraft tow, there were no glider occupant fatalities nor injuries reported. Read the full article.

October - Paper Pilot Certificates by Burt Compton

Still have a paper FAA Pilot Certificate? Perhaps you have an older, but valid certificate with "Glider Aero Tow Only" printed on it? Every pilot is required to obtain a plastic pilot certificate by March 31, 2010. All other paper certificates such as Ground Instructor, Mechanic (Part 65) and those issued under Part 63 must be replaced with plastic ones by March 21, 2013. Read the full article.

November - But that's not what I thought you said ... by Gene Hammond (Reprint)

When SAILPLANE SAFETY received the following recently, a small light began to glow in the deep recesses of cognition. "One reason the military services have trouble coordinating joint operations is that they don't speak the same language. For example: If you tell navy personnel to 'secure a building', they will turn off the lights and lock the doors. The army will occupy the building so that no one can enter. The marines will assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat. The air force on the other hand will take out a three-year lease with an option to purchase." Read the full article.

December - Gotcha! Lesser-Known FAA Regulations for Glider Pilots and Towpilots by Burt Compton

As a FAA Designated Examiner for Gliders, I am directed by the FAA Examiner Handbook to ask questions that explore the applicant's depth of knowledge. From my experience giving checkrides (and flight reviews), there are some FAA regulations that some glider pilots and towpilots have overlooked or forgotten. Read the full article.