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SAFA ACCIDENT & INCIDENT REPORT

Initial reports are listed below.
Upon finalisation of an investigation, findings and recommendations will be published here and in the SAFA Sky Sailor magazine.
Please note: In the event of a fatality, SAFA findings will not be released until the Coroner has completed investigations and release their findings.

Date No. / Discipline State Description Recomendation
28-11-2019 14:00 1160 / HG VIC Accident Birchip Airborne Fun2
PIC was clipped into the hang glider and the tow line ready to fly when he was hit by a dust devil. The dust devils was unseen so there was no time to move out of the way or for anyone to run over and hold the glider down. The glider has been flipped over violently with the PIC still attached resulting in him impacting the glider and sustaining a broken arm. The keel of the glider was dented and bent.
Incident was due to environmental factors. Pilots and ground crew should remain vigilant for dust devils on days where these may be likely, and adopt suitable procedures to limit the risk of damage. No further recommendations
26-11-2019 14:15 1161 / HG SA & NT Accident Bald hills Moyes Malibu
Shortly before outlanding after a cross country flight, a highly experienced pilot on a single surface glider (instead of his customary high performance glider), changed his choice of a large, safe but less convenient landing paddock for a smaller, more convenient but riskier one. Given the landing approach, the LZ proved too small even for a single surface glider and the pilot impacted the fence, causing damage to the glider and severe bruising to his leg.
Changes to landing approaches are sometimes necessary due to previously unseen hazards such as powerlines or sloping ground, but convenience should never compromise safety. Changes made at the last minute are especially dangerous because mistakes are more likely to be made when decisions are rushed, and pilots are less likely to identify all potential hazards. A safe landing in a large, flat LZ followed by a longer walk or climbing a few extra fences is always preferable to a potentially hard landing and injury closer to the road.
23-11-2019 1300 1157 / PG VIC Incident Mystic drifting over Emily in a climb Triple Seven QUEEN 2
A pilot flying over Emily Spur at Mystic in NE Vic, encountered unexpected turbulence and experienced a significant asymmetric collapse. The pilot did not react to this collapse quickly enough, allowing time for the pilot to fall into the collapsed side of the wing. A sharp turn toward the collapsed side resulted. In an effort to counter this, the pilot applied too much counter brake and stalled the portion of the wing still flying. This complicated the recovery efforts. The pilot then resorted to bringing into and holding the wing in a back sliding stall before recovering normal flight.
1. Pilots flying higher performance wings should be reminded that such wings will react more quickly to collapse situations and prompt, appropriate pilot input is important. 2. Frequently flown sites (such as Mystic) may have accustomed aerological characteristics altered due to changes in landscape (such as logging operations). The flying community should be reminded of the importance of evaluating local conditions actively rather than solely on past experience. This will aid mental preparedness which is an important adjunct to skills based preparedness.
22-11-2019 14:00 1158 / PG TAS Incident Gaffs Hill triple seven Knight
PIC was attempting a first flight with a new wing without having properly set up the speed system. Conditions were very strong (20+ knots) with lulls that would allow a launch. The pilot has lofted the wing, which came up cleanly but then formed a cravat on the left side affecting 4-6 cells. The pilot has launched as a gust has come through and attempted to clear the cravat, but was being blown backwards. He has blown over the back at low altitude, and landed, tumbling backwards on rocky ground without injury or damage to equipment.
When flying at windy sites in strong conditions pilots need to think VERY carefully about the risks versus the reward. Even though there were lulls that would allow a launch, the gusts would likely prove extremely risky. Not having the speed system setup correctly should preclude a decision to fly, especially if this is a first flight of a new wing. When flying with new gear allow for a serious ground handling session to become familiar with the launch characteristics, ensure the speed system is tuned correctly and pick an easy site on a day with benign conditions. Impatience is a danger in our sport that needs to be managed very effectively.
17-11-2019 15:00 1156 / PG NSW Incident Mt Kosciuzco Ozone Mantra 7
PIC was thermalling his paraglider on the edge of a large plateau (NSW Main Range). In order to avoid cloud suck he exited the cloud downwind over the plateau into an area of sink, without a glide out of the area. While there's a large safe landing zone, this is NP and the land owner does not allow PG/HG. Pilot landed away from people and walked out.
Pilots should be aware of the margin required to reach safe landings and maintain margin to allow for the effect of unexpected sink and headwind on glide.
10-11-2019 1151 / PG WA Accident Hastie street carpark Gradient Aspen5
In order to set up a landing approach the PG pilot has flown behind another wing and thus encountered the wake from that wing. This has resulted in a temporary loss of directional control. This has put the pilot behind the front of the ridge and in rotor close to the ground. At this point he ran out of options and hit the ground hard enough to cause injury to his back.
Flying through the wake of any other wing will cause a temporary loss of height and control disturbance at any altitude. When low and close to the ridge this can leave you with nowhere to go but into the ground. We should also be very mindful of other pilots and their intentions. In this case the other pilot could have chosen to move out of the way, assuming he was aware of PIC's intentions. If unsure, try to communicate your intentions. As PIC notes, landing on the beach would probably have avoided this situation altogether. If the choice is safety or convenience; choose safety.