The Oz Report Is...
A near-daily, world wide hang gliding news ezine, with reports on competitions, pilot rankings, political issues, fly-ins, the latest technology, ultralight sailplanes, reader feedback and anything else from within the global HG community worthy of coverage. 25783 bytes.
Euchareena, Australia Fleur Magick Dennis has stopped showering every day, allowed her vegetable patch to die and told her four sons to let the dishes pile up. Sometimes, all her family has is bottled water, and they have to preserve every drop.
A year and a half ago, the reservoir in their town, Euchareena, went dry, leaving the family and some other residents without running water.
I didnt think Id be in this position, trying to fight for water for basic human needs in Australia, Ms. Magick Dennis said.
As a crippling drought and mismanagement have left more than a dozen Australian towns and villages without a reliable source of water, the country is beginning to confront a question that strikes at its very identity: Is life in Australias vast interior compatible with the age of climate change?
People think about climate change as this very faraway prospect, but in fact, its here now, said Joelle Gergis, a senior lecturer in climate science at the Australian National University in Canberra and an author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This is a cautionary tale for fellow hang glider pilots.
I made a critical error during my setup which caused my harness to separate from my wing and forced me to hold on to the control frame for my life. Fortunate circumstances led to me surviving this incident with relatively minor injuries.
I was asked if I thought about landing in the ocean to possibly soften the landing. In the moment I had not thought of doing this, however I don't think that I would've decided to do so given my fast rate of decent, the low tide, and the fact that I risked not being able to swim while in my harness (although the risk of being trapped under my wing might have been significantly less considering I was no longer connected to it).
It's very fortunate that the hang loop let loose while I was facing into the wind. The wind this day was consistent at about 20 mph. The fact that my crash landing was going into the wind meant that my ground speed was significantly slowed (as compared to if my crash landing was going down wind).
Considering I used this hang loop setup for many flights in the mountains, this location is potentially the most fortunate place for such an incident to occur. I can't imagine having to hold on to the glider for much longer than I did. If this had occurred in the mountains, where the landing zone is much further away from the launch, I doubt that I would have had the strength to hang on for the duration of the flight out to the landing zone.
My last post titled The Risk of Dying Doing What We Love presented the results of a statistical analysis where I compared the risk of flying sailplanes to other things we love to do such as cycling, horse back riding, paragliding, etc.
I showed that the risk of dying in a soaring accident is approx. 1 per 50,000 flight hours, which makes soaring per activity hour about 2x as dangerous as riding a motorcycle, 25x as dangerous as cycling, 40x as dangerous as driving a car, and almost 200x as dangerous as traveling on a commercial airline flight.
Does soaring have to be so dangerous?
To answer these question I read, interpreted, and analyzed about 250 glider accident reports. My main sources were Germanys Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchung (154 reports since 1998) and the United States National Transportation and Safety Board (93 reports for the past five years). I chose the US because thats where I do most of my soaring and also because its a very large country with varied soaring conditions including flatland, ridge, mountain, desert, and wave soaring. Germany was a logical choice because it accounts for about one third of all soaring activities worldwide, and also because the quality of its accident reports is particularly high. In addition, I also reviewed the equally detailed soaring accident reports for Austria since 2010 (25 reports) and read the 2019 EASA Safety Report.
Robin Hamilton writes:
Thursday was a fun soaring day at Wharton, Texas (Cowboy Up). Got a much needed approximately two hours running up and down the low cloud streets that were streaming over the airport. And we are just two weeks from the winter solstice.
In my experience, it is difficult to pick soaring days in the winter here on the Texas Gulf Coast as some of the usual broad indicators: Ground Temperature, Overnight-to-Daytime Temp difference, cloud forecast etc., don't seem to work. More complicated when we are being regularly swept by weak (and strong) fronts.
My call on Thursday came from a few days back and was based mostly on the timing of the southerly flow after the passage of the last front, the continued period of no rain and a "reasonable" temperature maximum of about 75 degrees. All of that looked like hokey science as I was driving down to Wharton around midday as we had fairly extensive upper cirrus cover, fairly patchy cu's down low and way more of a southerly breeze (10-12 mph) on the ground than you would want to preserve what I thought could only be fragile, weak thermals.
Suspending disbelief a little longer, Efrain, Read and I rigged and I was off Tiki's towline upwind of the airport at around 3,000' and 2pm after a super stable, quiet tow. It was blowing even stronger (~20mph) at altitude and I gingerly glided further upwind under some buoyant air below the skinny cu cloud street. The ground looked flat and grey with no sunlight reaching it. But then, miracle of miracles, the vario starting chirping and I found I could work and maintain in broken 50-150fpm lift. After a bit it was fairly easy to get comfortable with the conditions as I found there was weak lift below many areas of the main street over the airport and another that occasionally formed about 2km to the west. Best lift was probably ~300fpm and base around 3200'. The furthest upwind I got was maybe 15km up past the flooded rice fields.
There were several tractors out ploughing the fields, a fire upwind and other possible thermal triggers but honestly there seemed to be no correlation with them and where I found lift so I stopped even trying to make sense of it. I just turned when the vario beeped. I flew for around two hours and never got much below 2,000' except when I chose to come back in and land. Efrain and Read also soared but without a bit of extra glide speed in the brisk headwind found it a little tougher to stay long on the magic carpet. Happy pilots all round at the end of the day. Tiki, thanks so much for the tows.
We have a weak front come through this morning and it seems a bit clear and inverted behind it. I think Sunday might be when we get another chance to soar in the Gulf flow.
Belinda and I are in Katy, Texas on our way to Wilotree Park, Groveland, Florida and will be having dinner with Tiki in about half an hour.
Alexandra Serebrennikova writes:
Yesterday I was honored to receive the FAI Sabiha Gökçen Medal 🏅 2019, which is defined as for the woman who performs the most outstanding achievement in any air sport in the previous year (referring to my four female world records which all got ratified). The special 'thank you' to the Russian NAC and Sergey Ananov for taking the cumbersome administrative job in his professional hands and being the Russian delegation head at the awarding ceremony!
Well I guess, when looking back in 2010, I didn't imagine falling in love with hang gliding so much that it would bring me to the stage of flying world records and receiving the award of such a high rank. Now here we are, by many means, thanks to the people who are supporting my passion and curiosity. They build the gliders which are heaps of joy to fly even for someone under 50 kg, Moyes Delta Gliders. Moreover if not Gerolf, it would be unlikely for me to become a pilot I am now and to discover Australia - its beauty, the laid-back lifestyle and this amazing flying one experiences there.
There's definitely more to explore and I hope to get to this project as soon as all the other projects work together.
By now thanks again to all the people who are sharing this flying story with me, let's see more of it!