A aviation & planes forum. AviationBanter

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Go Back   Home » AviationBanter forum » rec.aviation newsgroups » Soaring
Site Map Home Register Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old June 5th 20, 12:46 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
Posts: 281
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

I know (sadly first hand) it's way too easy to start launch with the canopy handle in the lock position, but the canopy not locked because it was a bit up when 'locked'.

That added the push on the plexi as belt and suspenders. That's the best launch procedure mod I've seen to deal with this usually distraction related issue.

It would be interesting to hear of something better?

Old June 5th 20, 01:31 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
external usenet poster
Posts: 171
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

On Monday, June 1, 2020 ...

I hesitate to even bring this up, but my club had a ballooning accident last year involving a brand new tow pilot making his first tow and an instructor Glider pilot making his first flight the year. The Glider ballooned on takeoff and the tow pilot toggled him off, immediately............some said “too soon”? I didn’t see it and take no position on the issue, but I did see the broken Sailplane sitting in the sagebrush! Our club has no way to give dual tow pilot instruction . A new tow pilot is really making his “first tow”, with no dual instruction on towing whatsoever!
Food for thought,

In the States, you don't tow anyone until you've had three actual or simulated tows with a qualified towpilot aboard. Clubs with only Pawnees to tow with use some other aircraft with dual controls to do simulated tows to check out new tug pilots. From the few details you've provided, I'd say your brand new towpilot was well trained to punch off a glider that had ballooned close to the ground. I'll accept some exploration of the tow envelope above 1500' but below that, get out of position enough to make me wonder what's going on and you'll be getting my end of the rope post haste. I'm sick and tired of reading of another glider pilot explaining why he's alive and his towpilot is dead.
Old June 5th 20, 01:39 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
Posts: 394
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

In a 2- place ship, the front seat pilot can check both canopies by simply shoving up on each canopy right over his head, even though the guy in the other seat said his is closed and locked...........good to double check!
Another procedure that my club requires is a radio call stating that the gliders canopy is closed and locked, spoilers are closed and locked, slack is out and Glider is ready for takeoff! In the past I have thought this radio call wasn’t necessary in a sanction contest, but if it saves someone’s life, I’ll willingly go along with it!
Old June 5th 20, 12:17 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
external usenet poster
Posts: 48
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

One of the issue that is not talked about a lot in the glider community is intentional noncompliance. In no way am I implying that this is the case in the crash we are discussing - I am trying to figure out why this scenario is reoccurring in the glider world and believe that intentional noncompliance could be a factor.

I’ve witnessed it as a professional pilot and have seen it in the glider community.

Here is an accident that really highlighted it for professionals: https://nbaa.org/wp-content/uploads/...rt-AAR1503.pdf - if you don’t feel like reading it through basically a Gulfstream crashed on takeoff and the gust lock was engaged and control checks were not done - creating several problems. The interesting fact was: “ Further, a review of QAR data revealed that the flight crewmembers had neglected to perform complete flight control checks before 98% of their previous 175 takeoffs in the airplane, indicating that this oversight was habitual and not an anomaly.” QAR = quick access recorder, like a flight data recorder.

There is some good information he https://nbaa.org/aircraft-operations...ing-the-risks/

The glider community is shrinking, accidents are up, insurance costs are up and a lot, if not all, of the accidents/incidents are the same causes that are always analyzed, rehashed, argued about and then blame is cast around but we can’t seem to fix it.

If there is to be a future we have to find a way to rectify these reoccurring problems. It’s a “sport” that kills more pilots than US Naval Aviation does per year, they fly jets, on and off boats, a lot more and obviously in more hazardous conditions.

We have a lot of work to do.

Regards, Tom

Old June 5th 20, 01:17 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
Posts: 19
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

On Thursday, 4 June 2020 23:46:37 UTC+1, wrote:
I also forgot to latch the canopy once, but it has a forward hinge, so it just rattled a bit. I latched it after releasing from tow. A side hinge canopy should ALWAYS get some fingerprints on the inside of the plexiglass. EVERY TIME! It's a lot easier (and CHEAPER!) to clean off the greasy fingerprints than to hunt down all the shards and pay for a replacement.

Fingerprints might not be necessary

I push up with knuckles of both hands, just next to my head

Any marks are usually out of my view and might even get wiped off by my hat
Old June 5th 20, 03:07 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
Posts: 148
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

On Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 7:57:01 AM UTC-7, Paul Agnew wrote:
Very sad to read this tragic news this morning.


Comments (anonymous) on the webpage indicate kiting may have been a significant factor.

Sincere condolences to the family of the tow pilot and to the members of the club.

Paul Agnew
Jupiter, FL

This reminds me of the saying "an experienced pilot is one who no longer makes small mistakes".
Old June 5th 20, 03:22 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
Posts: 774
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

One final thought: Get rid of all side opening canopies.

Yelling at people about checklists hasn't worked for anyone yet, as far as I can tell.

Once again, the "Ban the (insert selected pet peeve here)" cry is raised. Once again, over statistically insignificant occurrences that result in an accident.

Sure, upsetting a tow plane is serious, and sometimes tragic. But millions of side opening canopies have been successfully latched over decades by millions of pilots. Why is the call for banning something, with no economically feasible method of employing such a ban, so popular with some people? Are you suggesting that ALL Schempp-Hirth gliders, ALL Grobs, ALL Schweizers somehow be thrown away? Or sent back to the factory for an exorbitantly expensive retrofit (that would probably entail recertification by EASA and/or the FAA)?

I grow weary of hearing demands that "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!"

One guy ****s his pants and we all have to wear diapers.

And the statement that "yelling at people about checklists isn't working for anyone" is especially fatuous. It obviously can't work in EVERY case, but saying it doesn't work at all, when it obviously does in the vast majority of instances is myopic, if not evidence of total blindness.
Old June 5th 20, 03:31 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
external usenet poster
Posts: 18
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

On Friday, June 5, 2020 at 7:29:19 AM UTC-6, psb wrote:
I have seen a couple of frightening canopy issues that did not result in anything awful, but were instructive. Here's my two cents:

You CANNOT rely on the glider pilot, regardless of experience, doing the right thing when a side-opening glider canopy pops open in flight. Glider clubs do not have the resources to train for this. So either we create the resources to train or we stop launching with the canopy unlatched.

Our club does have a wonderful simulator setup. I thought of hooking up a couple of squirrel cage fans or air compressor hoses and an air horn to simulate a canopy opening in flight. The noise needs to be significant and the airflow needs to induce tears. Still thinking about it.

The other approach is to commit to never, ever launching with the canopy open again. A few weeks ago instituted a mandatory radio call prior to take-off: "Sailplane XYZ canopy locked, air brakes in, ready for takeoff." Wing runners are trained to look for positive canopy check. Years before I started with the Navy, they instituted mandatory "three down and locked" call on final. That apparently was enough of a trigger to eliminate gear up landings. Maybe we can do the same with canopies.

One final thought: Get rid of all side opening canopies.

Yelling at people about checklists hasn't worked for anyone yet, as far as I can tell.

Yelling No , but pilots that march to their own drum must be talked to with authority. In aviation there is a thing called airman-ship . One must be open to constructive criticism and put their ego aside. If a pilot gets angry or refuses to listen they should be asked not to return, or their membership revoked by vote.
Old June 5th 20, 03:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
external usenet poster
Posts: 281
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

A safe launch requires a plethera of things to be right in the glider.

For my reptile brain, actually touching and moving works better than looking and saying. But I can see how different pilots have different best ways of dealing with these.

I've seen an attentive ground person check for a pilot that's not 'with it', provide extra time, limit distractions, and pause the launch if something seems out of place. For a club ship, physically verifying the canopy is locked sometimes makes sense if it can be done without breaking the pilot's train of thought. Past that, I'm not sure.

Training a new pilot probably needs a different story for the ideal ground guy, but if ground starts trying to enforce some specific get ready procedure, it seems a close call if he's helping or adding to the distractions and making things worse?

PS: I like my side opening canopy. But the last podcast with Dave talking about bailout issues are food for thought.
Old June 5th 20, 05:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Martin Gregorie[_6_]
external usenet poster
Posts: 699
Default Fatal Towplane Accident 5-9-20

On Fri, 05 Jun 2020 07:38:38 -0700, stu857xx wrote:

Training a new pilot probably needs a different story for the ideal
ground guy, but if ground starts trying to enforce some specific get
ready procedure, it seems a close call if he's helping or adding to the
distractions and making things worse?

IME this is a job for the instructor: he needs to teach "close, lock and
check that the canopy is locked" from his victim's first flight. If a
student does this check from their first flight (yes, even a trial
flight!), it will get engrained as part of their pre-flight routine.

What the check is depends on the glider. In an ASK-21 I apply light
pressure to the canopy just behind my head, in a side-opening G103,
Puchacz or Junior I apply upward pressure to the lock body (NOT the
locking lever!) and in my Libelle I twist the lock into place (visual and
feel as the expanding rod goes into the bearing at each end, then flip
the vent lever lever up and down to check that the bottom of the canopy
center rises up and then pulls down onto its seal: soft 'D' section draft
excluder round the front coaming and thick foam door seal strip over the

Finally, in a T.21 Sedburgh there is no canopy check because its an open

Martin | martin at
Gregorie | gregorie dot org


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Towplane-Baron accident Jp Stewart Soaring 58 June 11th 18 10:03 PM
Fatal accident in Scotland Ian Soaring 51 September 6th 07 10:55 AM
Another fatal accident Mike the Strike Soaring 0 September 20th 06 11:50 PM
Fatal accident in Italy 2cernauta2 Soaring 1 April 4th 06 05:50 PM
Hawaii Fatal Accident Rocky Rotorcraft 0 July 25th 03 03:01 PM

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:46 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2022 AviationBanter.
The comments are property of their posters.