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Letter to the FAA



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 23rd 17, 09:34 PM
Walt Connelly Walt Connelly is offline
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First recorded activity by AviationBanter: Aug 2010
Posts: 338
Default Letter to the FAA

Before I send my letter to the FAA I'd like to ask if anyone has ever attempted to get them to see the light and end the use of Schweizer hooks on tow planes here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is a well known fact and clearly stated in the SSA/SSF and FAA circulars and literature that under certain conditions (the exact condition that the tow pilot will need to release) that it can be near impossible to release the glider. Tow planes have crashed, lives have been lost and at the same time everyone knows that this is a dangerous situation.

Along with the conversion to Tost hooks I'd like to see it made mandatory that the release handles be up high, near the throttle and quickly available to the tow pilot with adequate mechanical advantage. I can assure you that one does not have the time to go ducking and reaching and feeling for a handle down on the floor of a Pawnee while the glider kites in back of you.

The idea of requiring nose hooks on all gliders does not seem to be feasible although it has been brought up to me as something that needs to be addressed. My understanding is that the CG hook is meant for ground/winch launch operations, however I have probably done thousands of CG hook aero tows with no problem. For the most part these are ships being flown by the best and most aware pilots. I'd like more input from experience pilots on this point.

I currently have a number of highly experienced pilots from all levels of aviation in agreement with me and willing to help me in this cause.

If one life is saved as a result of this endeavor then it will be well worth it.

Walt Connelly
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  #2  
Old May 24th 17, 02:29 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 470
Default Letter to the FAA

My mom is going to write the FAA asking that all gliding activity be ended here in the land of the free and the home of the not so
brave. If one child's life is saved as a result of this endeavor then it will be well worth it.
  #3  
Old May 24th 17, 02:57 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 652
Default Letter to the FAA

Gregg- Thank God for your Mom!

Of course, I would willingly give up my freedom if ONE CHILD'S life could be saved.

For those of you that don't know me, YES. That was sarcasm.

But I do agree that Schweizer releases are prone to failure.

Walt- If you want to get them banned, tell the FAA that they are being installed on (gasp!) DRONES! That's about all the FAA is concerned with right now.

  #4  
Old May 24th 17, 03:37 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
2G
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 977
Default Letter to the FAA

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 5:43:10 PM UTC-7, Walt Connelly wrote:
Before I send my letter to the FAA I'd like to ask if anyone has ever
attempted to get them to see the light and end the use of Schweizer
hooks on tow planes here in the land of the free and the home of the
brave. It is a well known fact and clearly stated in the SSA/SSF and
FAA circulars and literature that under certain conditions (the exact
condition that the tow pilot will need to release) that it can be near
impossible to release the glider. Tow planes have crashed, lives have
been lost and at the same time everyone knows that this is a dangerous
situation.

Along with the conversion to Tost hooks I'd like to see it made
mandatory that the release handles be up high, near the throttle and
quickly available to the tow pilot with adequate mechanical advantage. I
can assure you that one does not have the time to go ducking and
reaching and feeling for a handle down on the floor of a Pawnee while
the glider kites in back of you.

The idea of requiring nose hooks on all gliders does not seem to be
feasible although it has been brought up to me as something that needs
to be addressed. My understanding is that the CG hook is meant for
ground/winch launch operations, however I have probably done thousands
of CG hook aero tows with no problem. For the most part these are ships
being flown by the best and most aware pilots. I'd like more input from
experience pilots on this point.

I currently have a number of highly experienced pilots from all levels
of aviation in agreement with me and willing to help me in this cause.


If one life is saved as a result of this endeavor then it will be well
worth it.

Walt Connelly




--
Walt Connelly


Walt,

I know of at least one fatality (Ephrata) involving exactly this scenario - if the FAA were going to take action they already would have done so. Invariably, there is some other precursor that led to the accident that they find fault with. You may get some sympathy from an investigator, but probably no action. It just impacts so few pilots.

Tom
  #5  
Old May 24th 17, 04:28 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Burt Compton - Marfa Gliders, west Texas
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 167
Default Letter to the FAA

Walt,

Please don't write a letter to the FAA.
I understand your good intentions and valid points but asking the FAA to condemn Schweizer releases and make Tost tow release installations mandatory may ground 90% of our towplanes if and when the design and installation engineering is approved for our many different towplanes.

Not all towplanes are Pawnees. For example, moving the tow release handle in my Cessna 182 towplane up by the throttle would be problematic if not impossible.

What is needed to be emphasized is proper and RECURRENT training of glider pilots to stay just a bit above the wake on tow (which places the glider pilots' sight picture of the towplane above the horizon, higher than most pilots would think until they try it) to prevent many "kiting" incidents.

Since 1967 I have done thousands of tows in various towplanes and have only had one kiting incident in which I was able to react quickly and release using a Schweizer hook. (The glider pilot also released just after I did and we never found the rope, a small price to pay thanks to our training and prompt reactions to the situation.) Training to fly a proper tow position is essential for the glider pilot.

Please don't write that letter to the FAA.
They would likely over-react and ground my towplanes for a year!

Hopefully they will ask you to document the number of crashes and lives lost due to the Schweizer hook against the number of aerotows made with a Schweizer hook since the 1950's.

What if we eliminated canopies and just fly open-cockpit so we won't have that distraction of making sure the canopy is locked, often resulting in loss of control by the glider pilot, early on takeoff. After all, there is no "standard" locking mechanism on canopies on the various types of gliders. Must we alert the FAA to that?

We could ask the FAA to ban the use of tail dollies while moving gliders on the ground so the dollies could never be left attached for takeoff.

We could ask the FAA to ground all gliders that do not have "automatic control hookups" (which are not fool-proof.)

While we're at it, let's require medical certification for all glider pilots as there are many documented fatalities related to medical incapacitation.. Some foreign countries require medicals as well as wearing parachutes on every flight.

Instead of to the FAA, send your letter to the SSA Government Liaison committee headed by Steve Northcraft. Find his contact info on the SSA website. Again, you will need to document the number of crashes due to the Schweizer hook on towplanes. Show him the numbers.

You stated that we live "in the land of the free", so let's remain free of sweeping mandates and discuss a sensible solution within the worldwide glider community, the smart folks who understand, and live with, the problem.

Please consider not sending that letter to the FAA.

Burt
Marfa, Texas and elsewhere.
(I am speaking for myself and not for the Soaring Safety Foundation.)


  #6  
Old May 24th 17, 05:15 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Mike C
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 331
Default Letter to the FAA

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 7:57:05 PM UTC-6, wrote:
Gregg- Thank God for your Mom!

Of course, I would willingly give up my freedom if ONE CHILD'S life could be saved.

For those of you that don't know me, YES. That was sarcasm.

But I do agree that Schweizer releases are prone to failure.

Walt- If you want to get them banned, tell the FAA that they are being installed on (gasp!) DRONES! That's about all the FAA is concerned with right now.


Mark,

FYI a modeler took the FAA to court and the drone/model registration rule has been struck down. No more FAA model registration requirements and some of the garbage that it included.

http://www.wolfenstock.com/TaylorvFA...FAAOpinion.pdf

Mike
  #7  
Old May 24th 17, 01:59 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,101
Default Letter to the FAA

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 11:28:04 PM UTC-4, Burt Compton - Marfa Gliders, west Texas wrote:
Walt,

Please don't write a letter to the FAA.
I understand your good intentions and valid points but asking the FAA to condemn Schweizer releases and make Tost tow release installations mandatory may ground 90% of our towplanes if and when the design and installation engineering is approved for our many different towplanes.

Not all towplanes are Pawnees. For example, moving the tow release handle in my Cessna 182 towplane up by the throttle would be problematic if not impossible.

What is needed to be emphasized is proper and RECURRENT training of glider pilots to stay just a bit above the wake on tow (which places the glider pilots' sight picture of the towplane above the horizon, higher than most pilots would think until they try it) to prevent many "kiting" incidents.

Since 1967 I have done thousands of tows in various towplanes and have only had one kiting incident in which I was able to react quickly and release using a Schweizer hook. (The glider pilot also released just after I did and we never found the rope, a small price to pay thanks to our training and prompt reactions to the situation.) Training to fly a proper tow position is essential for the glider pilot.

Please don't write that letter to the FAA.
They would likely over-react and ground my towplanes for a year!

Hopefully they will ask you to document the number of crashes and lives lost due to the Schweizer hook against the number of aerotows made with a Schweizer hook since the 1950's.

What if we eliminated canopies and just fly open-cockpit so we won't have that distraction of making sure the canopy is locked, often resulting in loss of control by the glider pilot, early on takeoff. After all, there is no "standard" locking mechanism on canopies on the various types of gliders.. Must we alert the FAA to that?

We could ask the FAA to ban the use of tail dollies while moving gliders on the ground so the dollies could never be left attached for takeoff.

We could ask the FAA to ground all gliders that do not have "automatic control hookups" (which are not fool-proof.)

While we're at it, let's require medical certification for all glider pilots as there are many documented fatalities related to medical incapacitation. Some foreign countries require medicals as well as wearing parachutes on every flight.

Instead of to the FAA, send your letter to the SSA Government Liaison committee headed by Steve Northcraft. Find his contact info on the SSA website. Again, you will need to document the number of crashes due to the Schweizer hook on towplanes. Show him the numbers.

You stated that we live "in the land of the free", so let's remain free of sweeping mandates and discuss a sensible solution within the worldwide glider community, the smart folks who understand, and live with, the problem.

Please consider not sending that letter to the FAA.

Burt
Marfa, Texas and elsewhere.
(I am speaking for myself and not for the Soaring Safety Foundation.)


I completely agree with Burt.
UH
  #8  
Old May 24th 17, 02:48 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Charlie M. (UH & 002 owner/pilot)
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Posts: 1,327
Default Letter to the FAA

Agreed, government is in our lives enough.

Also, what about any site that uses the inverted mount Schweitzer hook? Currently looks like the mount change "fixes" the kiting issue regarding release, but the letter may force those installations to spend money for no good reason.

I think I understand the original though Walt wants to fix, but there are better ways to fix it.

Heck, writing a letter saying that low tow may be better in general since there is a bigger window to recognize the problem and fix it before there is a safety issue. Most glider training books even recommend low tow for long tows, like aero retrieves. I already know how that discussion will go on RAS.

Yes, I do most of my flying at a site that uses low tow for the majority of aerotows, have been since the early 70's.
  #9  
Old May 24th 17, 04:16 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Andrew Ainslie
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Posts: 67
Default Letter to the FAA

The "We just need to train better" mantra doesn't always work. Every single one of us knows of a couple of people at our own airfield with dodgy skills, and it's always hard to just boot someone from a club, or ground them. Plus, the gliders most likely to kite are exactly the ones flown by the least experienced pilots - old crappy club ships.

My personal takeaway after reading these threads is simple - I personally will NEVER fly a schweitzer towhook plane with a C of G glider on tow unless I know that glider pilot very, very well and trust them deeply. Just not worth it. Maybe having tow-pilots vote with their feet is a good way to get clubs and private operations to do the right thing here.

And that might be a better cure than getting the FAA involved. Not that they're likely to listen anyway.
  #10  
Old May 24th 17, 06:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
BobW
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Posts: 483
Default Letter to the FAA

The "We just need to train better" mantra doesn't always work.
Indeed...by definition, nothing involving humans *can* be.

Every single
one of us knows of a couple of people at our own airfield with dodgy
skills, and it's always hard to just boot someone from a club, or ground
them. Plus, the gliders most likely to kite are exactly the ones flown by
the least experienced pilots - old crappy club ships.

No general disagreement with any of the above from me.

My personal takeaway after reading these threads is simple - I personally
will NEVER fly a Schweizer towhook[ed tow]plane with a C of G glider on tow
unless I know that glider pilot very, very well and trust them deeply. Just
not worth it. Maybe having tow-pilots vote with their feet is a good way to
get clubs and private operations to do the right thing here.

Aha! What a concept...applying/depending-upon individual judgment, I mean.
Occasionally even our government (not generally known for addressing
gummint-identified problems with anything other than the subtlety of swatting
flies with sledgehammers) is sufficiently sensible to turn a blind eye to some
of those imperfections...which (IMO) the kiting issue is.

And that might be a better cure than getting the FAA involved. Not that
they're likely to listen anyway.

I'll second that. Where's the polling place?

Bob W.

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