Monthly Soaring Magazine Articles for 2014
This report covers the FY13 (November 1, 2012 to October 31, 2013) reporting period. A review of the NTSB accident database shows an 20% decrease in the number of US soaring accidents during this time period compared to the FY12 reporting period. In addition FY13 saw a 50% decrease in the number of fatal accidents. Finally the number of insurance claims was down another 20+%. Despite all these decreases, there is general agreement that more steps must be taken to continue reducing the number of accidents and eliminate all fatal accidents. Read the full article.
Whether they are properly or poorly managed, clubs are going to have accidents. Insurance companies believe poorly managed clubs will have more losses than their counterparts. In addition, they feel the poorly managed clubs will have larger losses. Read the full article.
We have all heard the words, "He stalled and spun the glider". Why do these two words "stalls" and "spins" strike such fear and foreboding into a large number of pilots? Is it because they don't understand the aerodynamic forces acting on the glider? Is it because the maneuver seems chaotic and it can be disorienting? Is it because they don't know how to fly the glider out of a stall or spin? What ever the cause, like them or not, stalling and spinning a glider close to the ground is one sure way to shorten your soaring career. Read the full article.
According to the NTSB aviation database, a stall/spin at a low altitude is the leading cause of fatal glider accidents in the United States. Last month we talked about the accelerated stall/spin accident where the pilot attempted to make a steep turn at a low initial airspeed. The result was the glider's wing stalling as the wing exceeded the critical angle of attack during the turn. The remedy was to establish a pitch attitude that would keep the glider flying during the turn and to monitor the airspeed during the turn to ensure that it stays at the value the pilot selected. Read the full article.
When something happened to someone in our community, I bet you have said that at one time or another. A sailplane has crashed. You may have known the pilot or pilots. You hear snippets of the details of the accident. You ask yourself how they could have done something so stupid. Read the full article.
The Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) has long been the officially sanctioned Safety and Training arm of the SSA, actively working to assist in the reduction of soaring incidents and accidents through a variety of educational programs. Among the most well known programs are conducting FAA-approved Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC), providing insightful articles for Soaring magazine, creating Condor based training media online, and the hosting of meaningful "Safety Stand Downs" at the last two SSA Conventions. Read the full article.
Visit any glider port and sooner or later you will see someone making a low-slow approach. In this approach the glider just clears the fence, flying at minimum sink speed (or slower) with little or no spoilers. The glider touches down and brakes to a stop with a minimal ground roll. That is what happens most of the time, the other times the glider strikes an object or lands short while on this low final and substantially damages the glider. Read the full article.
Let's face it, if you are reading this column, you like a certain amount of risk above the norm. Think about it, you willingly climb into a fiberglass tub and go up to the Flight Levels or fly long ways at low altitudes on a regular basis in an aircraft with no engine. You think this is normal and exciting. And it is something you enjoy doing. Read the full article.