HKPA report number 13

Site: Ma On Shan

(***Click here for site guide***)

Date of Event: Saturday 23rd of February 2013

This Accident report was filed on Sunday 24th of February 2013 and the last change to the report was made on Friday 15th of March 2013 by Trevor Gribble

Injury Index = 3
( 0 =No Injuries or Minor - brief visit to Doctor)
( 1 =Significant - hospitalized or work time loss less than 48 hours)
( 2 =Temporary Disabling Injuries)
( 3 =Permanent Partial Disabling Injuries)
( 4 =Permanent Total Disability)
( 5 =Fatal injuries)

Details:

A pilot holding a Club Pilot (PG2) Licence with 2-3 years of experience whist flying at Ma On Shan at approximately 12-1400hrs on Saturday 23rd of February 2013.

The conditions at the time were reported to be Variable with a NE wind blowing approximately 10-15kph. The temperature was 20-24deg C with A Little Cloud and Slight Haze Visibility.

There were reported to be 2-5 pilots at the site.

Factors in this Accident:
Hard Landing
Injury
Airmanship
GFS
AMBULANCE

Event Description:

As a witness I write this. At around 14:30, the pilot approached from outside to top land due to the lift was not strong. The height he still had was around 15 meters above take-off area when reaching the ridge. The wind direction was shifting between NE and E. He was approaching from N to S in front of the ridge. It was supposed he did not have enough height to fly to normal top land large area. He instead approached to top land at the take off area.

He did not realise he was a little bit downwind in this light wind direction. When he was near the take off area, the lift was not as he expected, in fact at my point of view air was sinking when interpreted from the rate of his height losing. He did not have time to extend his leg and so bumped onto the ground with harness. He was conscious. We helped to untangle his gears and let him to move. He felt pain and paralysis at bottom half body but he was able to stand up and walk to nearby rest area. After at least one hour rest his status did not change much though he was able trying to stand up successfully. He decided he would not able to walk down so he rang for assistance. GFS finally flew him to hospital for further diagnosis.

Lesson learnt, in fact this kind of mistakes are offend found in our group.

1. Top land is a not must because you don't want to bomb out.

2. Know real wind direction. That requires experience to judge your speed flying downwind or upwind leg, plus good observation.

3. When not enough height to approach normal landing area, either flying out to gain more height or just bomb out does no harm at all.

4. Prepare a pair of running leg before touch down when your decision made you must approach a downwind landing. Don't rely an air bag or foam harness can completely damp you out.

5. There are a couple of area to do top land, not just the normal top land area. It is better to approach another optional top land area when you still have height and in upwind direction.

Well, as an experience pilot me, I sometime mentally fall into the traps number 1, 3. And occasionally number 4.

Heard from others saying the injured pilot was X-ray diagnosed a minor spine crack. Situation is positive. Due to no vital threat, full inspection was not available to him on weekend in public hosipital. CT scan will be scheduled on coming Monday.

Hope he would recovery very soon.

Committee Response: (if any )

With the weather very unpredictable these days and a constant change of wind direction from NE to S at certain times of the day, everyone should be really cautious. I have informed more than a few pilots on this weather patterns and have advised them to be very careful.

It's not something that can be explained thoroughly but please just heed the warnings based on constant observations by pilots who live in the vicinity, and have had nearly the same unfortunate experience.

Fly conservatively and use your head.

Vince

(Chairman)

UPDATE 24 / 02 / 2013

an update to the report of yesterday where a hkpa member injured himself requiring GFS helicopter ride to the hospital.

witness reports as follow:

***pilot took off with knots in lines on leading edge of the glider.

***front edge of wing was bent by the knots and the pilot elected to land hastily.

***pilot took a downwind landing with not enough height to turn the glider back into wind.

***pilot did not attempt to use legs when landing, instead took impact on harness resulting in a spinal injury and GFS rescue.

i attempted to contact the person involved today, but was unable to communicate. could someone who is a friend please contact to see how the pilot member is feeling

LESSONS:

***Check, Check, CHECK AGAIN your equipment. If there are knots in your lines, clear them. DO NOT RUSH THE TAKEOFF CHECKS

***If you are flying safely, and you are in NO IMMEDIATE DANGER, keep flying. DONT RUSH THE LANDING APPROACH.

***Land into wind whereever possible, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TOP LAND IN THE TAKEOFF AREA

***DO NOT RELY ON YOUR HARNESS PROTECTION, Run your landing on with your legs.

Committee Action: (if any )

See attached images of the taits cairn and sai kung winds for the period. as you can see the wind is quite variable.

Attached Files: CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE LARGER VERSION