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[color=darkred]Expert Help Required:[/color]

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This looks like a typically type of crash that a low-time pilot might make and I personally think it should be shared and talked about with a learning degree of topic.

Can any experience pilots (Simon) out there make any comments, because I think it would help all us, newbie’s and low time pilots.

Thanks in advance.



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I am very much a newbie and as Tony says it would be good to hear what the experts think. My theory is this:

If you take the wing that is laid out on the ground as a clue to wind direction (assuming that it is laid out ready for take of) then the wind is at right angles to the bushes that the pilot is above when he seems to get caught in some "sink". So could it be a simple case of rotor? Having said that it does look like a small bush and the pilot does seem to be well above it, but then again I can't see any clues that might give an indication of wind speed.



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This is what I posted to another forum about the same video - hope it helps.



The problem started with the onset of a flat spin. You can see the left wing

start to 'bend back' during the left turn where it all starts to go wrong.

A flat spin can be a scary thing for fixed wing pilots and is something to

be very cautious of on a paraglider. The exit of a flat spin can be

incredibly dynamic. I have had my wing horizontally in front of me after

only just going past the entry to a spin. It is most definitely something to

reserve for over water with a rescue boat beneath you when you experience it

for the first time.

In terms of how to avoid, always be very cautious of how much brake you use

and, particularly, don't make sharp turns against your torque. In the

cloverleaf task I am always very nervous of the flat spin. There is no

chance of recovery from a flat spin when flying at the height we do the


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The video appears to me to show a parachutal stall. However a flat spin is similar in that, in both cases there is insufficient airspeed to generate lift. In this case the pilot executes a very sharp turn to the right that results in a climb. At the top of the climb a sharp turn to the left is pulled, just at the moment the glider is flying at its slowest. The turn is too hard for the speed and the pilot swings under the wing before the wing has turned sufficiently, further increasing the angle of attack. This brings the glider to stop and the wing is no longer flying.

The most important thing for a "newby" to understand from this is that the wing must have AIRSPEED to fly. If it slows down below a certain point it stops flying. There is no "sinking air" or "rotor" involved here, only a failure to understand that you need AIRSPEED to stay in the air. This is not something that has "unfortunately happened" to the pilot it is something that the pilot has caused. The Glider did exactly what the pilot (unwittingly) asked it to do.

The pilot in this case has tried to execute a manouver without sufficient entry speed to throw him to the outside of the turn and has pulled more brake than the speed would safely permit. It is poor pitch/roll co-ordination. As mentiond by others this sort of flying can only be done safely through tuition and guided practice. It must only ever be done with sufficient height to permit recovery and with a recently and correctly packed reserve parachute.

If you are in any doubt or concerned that your flying might result in this happening to you, please consult your club coach and ask for the "theory of flight" lecture to understand the concept of "lift generated by airspeed". You need to know about 1.lift and drag, 2.angle of attack and 3. pitch stability. If these topics are new or unknown to you then definitely ask for the theory session.

I dont know what a clover leaf is but if it involves risking a "flat spin with no possibility to recover" then, do make absolutely sure that there is no-one within 500 feet of your crash site before you start one.

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Many thanks to everyone.

In my simplistic 'Newby Terms' - The pilot was turning a sharp corner (>90 degrees) with not enough AIR speed and TOO LOW.

Simon - I know I am not to the standard of PPG flying yet and will get explanations at each stage, but it is good to see a visual demonstration of what NOT to do and learn why it happen (sorry Pilot – hope he/she was alright) –


‘A Picture paints a thousand words’

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"There is no chance of recovery from a flat spin when flying at the height we do the


I have to ask mate, I just have too.....

So why do you do it?

Can't deny it's a good and fair question!

The smart arse answer to the question you actually asked is "I don't do flat spins at the height we do the cloverleaf"!!!

The real answer is that we do it because it is a very good way to test pilot skills in a measurable way - which makes it a great competition task. I have never actually seen someone spin a glider doing the cloverleaf because pilots rightly err on the side of caution. That doesn't mean it isn't dangerous - just that people recognise the danger and don't get too close to the edge. Competition pilots are expected to have (a) skill and (b) the experience to know where their skill limits are.

One other point is that the cloverleaf sticks are 2 m in height. At this height, a crash is unlikely to be fatal. I wouldn't even attempt the the cloverleaf if the sticks were between 4 & 50 metres in height as the risk (in my opinion) would be too great.

I love chucking myself around the air but I am very conscious of the risks I take in doing so and carefully consider them.

It could be argued that the cloverleaf (and indeed the other slalom competition tasks) is a stupid thing to do but it could also be argued that strapping a spark plug, a tank full of fuel and a person to a large kite is fairly silly in itself.



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