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Decision Making Process in a Glider Emergency

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Quick thinking by the pilot......

 

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4:49 says it all...

One of the most dangerous scenarios in a glider (and I've been there) is a winch launch where the tow rope breaks.

There is a moment when you have a little altitude, no airspeed, and extreme nose-up attitude.

The rope if is going to break, will choose that moment.

When it goes you very (very) quickly have to nose over, pop the spoiler and hope you get it down in front of the winch which by now is looming large in your front view... 

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I have flown many gliders over more than 25 years, but have never seen one where the canopy opened to the left (i. e. attached on the left)?


Erhard

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...

There is a moment when you have a little altitude, no airspeed, and extreme nose-up attitude.

......

No airspeed? Don't get me wrong, I bow to your experience of actually having it happen to you, but not sure I understand. 

 

Surely there's some airspeed, almost effective, but not quite, on the short ground run before the glider pitches up, once that happens the airspeed is very rapidly building to launch speed - 55-60 knots (and beyond if not managed by winch operator & pilot).

 

I can see that airspeed will rapidly bleed off with the nose up attitude once the cable breaks, hence the need to pitch down fast, but the glider is flying until that happens.

 

Perhaps some winches are slower than others?


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If you start normally with a non idiotic pitch up. (Specially the first 150 ft/50m), a cable break is usually a non event.

 

Above 300ft/100m you can make a 360 and land, below you land straight.

 

During winch launch you ought to have normal / high flying speed. You just need to nose down quickly after cable break/ winch failure.

 

Accidents mostly occur in combination with a too steep start and cable break below 300ft/100m. Compounded sometimes by slow reaction.

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-Roland

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