Soaring to Mt Aspiring with Alex

Soaring to Mt Aspiring with Alex

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gliding Safety Issue for SoaringNZ

Most of the material for the next SoaringNZ goes to the designers tomorrow to be laid out and made to look pretty. It will be a challenging job this time as we are doing a safety issue and essentially all our feature articles come without pretty pictures and diagrams. We’re talking safety issues, not the latest pretty toy or the most scenic spot for a competition. However I know that Rosalie Brown and her sidekick Lee-Ann will do a fantastic job at making this issue look as good as all the others. Rosalie can be found at RGB Design. RGB Design make SoaringNZ look good. They will take these somewhat dry articles and make them look good enough that you will be bothered to read them. Reading these articles may save your life.

I say it in my introduction to the safety articles in the magazine and I will say it here, most of us involved in gliding in New Zealand have lost gliding friends to a fatal accident in the last two years. We also know personally at least one person who has been involved in a non fatal accident that could have had more serious consequences. New Zealand’s safety record recently is appalling. The trouble is no one knows why. Why too are dreadful accidents happening to experienced pilots?
I am not going to speculate on any of this. I don’t have the knowledge or skill set to do so. I just know I don’t want to hear of anyone else I know dying. Don’t do it people. Be safe.

In this post I’m going to put up some links to classic safety articles. I have put how to find these into words in the magazine, but really it is much easier to click on a link on line.

We are publishing the following article in the magazine, “Complacency, What me worry?” by Martin Hellman but other overseas pilots who don’t receive the mag (why not? Email me now!) may wish to see it. This article is excellent.

Bruno Gatenbrink’s talk on Safety is here. It includes the following which should give you an idea of what it is all about. That sentence, "The most dangerous part of gliding is the trip to the glider field" is the dumbest, most ignorant saying that has found a home in our sport. He then goes on to say, and I can’t fault him with this: Actually the opposite is true. It is more dangerous than anything else that I do or know about in my life. Why don't I quit? A good question. One reason I don't quit is because it affords me more fun and pure joy than anything else I could imagine.

Combs’ classic article "That Beautiful Mountain and her Sinister Trap" was first published in Soaring (the American version) in 1984. I am sure it has been printed in the Gliding Kiwi in the past too and probably in all the world’s major soaring magazines. Its illustrations are very familiar. Its words haven’t grown old.

JJ Sinclair wrote a piece in his local club newsletter in the States which has also gone on to be a bit of a classic and a slightly updated version of the one above. “Don’t Smack the Mountain 101”. You need to scroll down to page 9 to find it. Another newsletter story well worth reading is Kempton Izuno’s “Into the Bowels of Darkness” where he tells of getting sucked into cloud and how he managed to come out again in one piece, albeit flying backwards! It is on page 12.

Have you had enough yet? The DG website contains a series of other safety articles. Check out Safety Tips and Training, and Safe Winch launching. Here is a link to the SoaringSafety website’s list of all safety related articles in Soaring (USA). There is enough reading there to keep you going for years. Check out the other links on the side of the page.

Don’t just read about it people. Think about it. This bad stuff could happen to you. Bad stuff does happen to good people. In gliding terms think of that E on the end of the check list, eventualities, and in the best motto any group has ever come up with Be Prepared.

And that famous quote that really shows my age: "Let's be careful out there."

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