HKPA report number 18

Site: Shek O

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

Date of Event: Friday 15th of January 2010

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

Injury Index = 2
( 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)


A pilot holding a Club Pilot (PG2) Licence with 1 years of experience whist flying at Shek O at approximately 12-1400hrs on Friday 15th of January 2010.

The conditions at the time were reported to be Gusting with a NE wind blowing approximately 26-30kph. The temperature was 15-19deg C with Moderate Cloud and Hazy Visibility.

There were reported to be 1 pilots at the site.

Factors in this Accident:
Hard Landing
Tree Impact
Strong Winds

Event Description:

1. Pilot was experienced, fairly active, with 12 previous flights at Shek-O.
2. Pilot’s equipment was all in reasonable condition and had all equipment required to fly safely. Glider, air bag harness w/reserve, radio, vario, helmet, whistle
3. Pilot did not use reasonable caution or judgment based on that the Winds were not acceptable and more time should have been given for winds to drop to reasonable level before attempting to launch.
4. Pilot was alone on ridge and should have waited for other pilots.
5. Pilot had not flown for 1 month.

Pilot actions after take-off
1. Attempted to steer wing away from ridge.
2. Pilot applied full speed bar to move away from / distance self from face of ridge (east wind direction).
3. After over the back (west face), applied big ear, but did not maintain. This gives better stability but increases descent rate, (usually used in semi strong lift).
4. Pilot was too much of hurry to land close to base of mountain (rotor and sink are stronger, instead of flying away to distance self from ridge where sink from rotor would be less.

Committee Response: (if any )

Contribution Factors

1. Pilot was attempting to fly alone.
2. Pilot did not show good judgment in determining wind and was flying outside his limitations.
3. Pilot did not anticipate a TENSION KNOT / tangle in “C” lines on right side 12” below trailing edge of wing, thus causing trailing edge on right side to be pulled down which in turn forced the glider into an uncommanded turn, 1st across the face and then over the back, downwind in a very short period of time due to the strong winds, possible 33+ above the ridge.
4. Strong winds
a. Gave pilots little time to respond.
b. Gave strong lift and no forward penetration (Pilot acknowledged winds stayed around 25k for almost 45 mins before attempting to launch).

It is general knowledge (SAFETY) that when winds are strong on TOP OF RIDGE, we should add another 8 to 10 k to wind speed on ground.
5. Pilot applied big ears which increased sink.
6. Pilot was in too much of hurry to land and in doing so, did not take into consideration greater sink and turbulence at the base of ridge.

Committee Action: (if any )

Accident summary

Pilots was alone on ridge and attempted to fly in conditions above his capitabilities and had not anticipated entanglement in lines as well as strength of wind and between the combined factors made the wing uncontrollable to steer.
Because of the above pilots was blown down wind over the back, entered turbulent air, collapse of wing (rotor / sinking air) behind the ridge which reduced the pilots control to little or none.
Pilot lands on hard surface rock path performed PLF which reduced injuries.
Pilot was assisted after crash by 2 other pilots which did not see the accident but were in the area just starting to walk up the mountain.
Optional procedure which MIGHT have assisted pilot DEPLOYMENT OF RESERVE or BIG EARS.
a. Possibility of full deployment of reserve, hard to say due to insufficient ht. and strong sink even if pilot responded immediately on going over back and before starting to lose height.
b. Take off ht. 284 meters / 937 feet, + 30 gained from lift = 344 meters total height.
c. Landed location 90 meter below take off.
d. Normal full deployment time of reserve. REFERENCES AS FOLLOWS. Recommendation: pilot on going over back of ridge should have concentrated on flying away from ridge which would have put him in smoother air and attempted to land on beach.
Note: past history has shown that all pilots attempting to land between top of ridge and in front of road will always have collapse, while those flying out past the road have better control an smooth / safe landing on beach but due have risk of landing in water.