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
19-09-2020 12:30 PM 1365 / PG Southeast Qld Incident SUNRISE BEACH Niviuk Artik4
The PIC was flying Sunrise Beach (Qld/S) from the Tingira Crescent launch. Initially flying a small wing (Little Cloud GT22), they have not been able to maintain height, without breaching the rule of 30 m separation from houses, so have chosen to land and returned to launch a larger glider, a 25m Niviuk Artik 4. The pilot has launched and whilst doing so, the wind has gusted and the pilot has been picked up. They are not penetrating forward, so the pilot has attempted to locate the speed bar with their foot. They have missed the speed-bar and have put their leg through the loop thus being unable to use the bar. Whilst this was occurring, they have swung left and right, due to over input from the brakes. This has resulted in the pilot being pushed back over launch onto the back railing and a bench narrowly missing a member of the public. The wing has dragged them across the railing, where they have contacted a car and a van. The wing has then wrapped over the top of the power line behind launch, bringing the pilot to a stop, then unwrapped from the powerline and fell to the ground. The pilot was uninjured, no members of the public were injured, no damage to the glider. The parked car sustained some minor damage. The pilot exchanged details with the owner of the car and paid for damages. No power loss was suffered due to glider wrapping on powerlines.
Always assess wind strength before launching. If the wind strength is close to the limit of the size and performance of the glider, a gust can be enough to push you over the back of launch, and you would be better not to launch. Before launching especially in stronger winds, make sure your speed bar is released from the harness, so it is easily accessible, especially if there is an emergency situation straight after launching where speed is critical. In a situation like this one where you find your self, not penetrating after launching, and you are struggling to find you speed bar, keep inputs to a minimum, go hand up and maintain a safe heading. Over input of brake will just push you further back over launch, and the oscillation could cause serious injury if you hit the ground.
11-11-2020 08:30 AM 1363 / PG VIC Incident Gundowring Eazy Eazy
PIC is a relatively new, low-hours pilot and was landing after a flight at Gindowring (Vic). As they touched down, the reserve dropped onto the ground, still in its inner container. PIC had prior issues with the reserve handle pins coming free after a prior accidental near-deployment. With assistance from another experienced pilot, they have now correctly repacked the reserve into the container and it appears to be secure.
All pilots are urged to become familiar with their equipment. Read manuals thoroughly and pay particular attention to the sections relating to fitting the reserve. Different manufacturers and models have differences in how these are to go into the container, how the container is closed and how the deployment handle and pins are routed and secured. The quality of description and provision of diagrams in manuals varies greatly from very good to pretty woeful. There are numerous videos available online and you may find one relevant to your harness. If in doubt consult the dealer you bought your equipment from or an instructor.
18-11-2020 01:00 PM 1361 / PG NSW Accident CATHERINE HILL BAY Icaro Gravis
PIC is a PG2 and was flying under supervision at Catherine Hill Bay (NSW). They were soaring the ENE-facing bowl, and after a few soaring turns, has turned right and headed downwind along the east face of launch and out of the lift band. Their ground speed has increased and they were quickly losing altitude. There was a very high tide which influenced their decision to turn downwind, rather than turn towards the beach and into wind. PIC then applied brake in an attempt to reduce airspeed, but when they have made a turn away from the hill, the inside, low wing stalled and the pilot has dropped from a height of 5 m agl to the ground. PIC has then walked back to the car park, unaware that they have received a stable fracture to a tibia below the knee plateau, which was diagnosed that evening. No surgical intervention or cast immobilization required. No damage to equipment.
Pilots must exercise extreme caution when running downwind and applying brake inputs. Groundspeed increases but not airspeed. Consequently, applying brakes may reduce airspeed dangerously close to the wing's stall point. Applying brake to initiate a turn may then cause the wing on the braking side to stall as has occurred here.
15-11-2020 1358 / PG North Qld Incident Teewah Beach Ozone Geo 5
PIC was flying at Teewah Beach (Qld/S) in light conditions, maintaining height, but having to stay close to the ridge due to the light conditions. The PIC has chosen to carry out a manoeuvre where the pilot spins 180 degrees so facing the trailing edge of the wing. Whilst in this position the pilot was unaware they were drifting behind the ridge. When the pilot untwisted and resumed normal flight, they have realised they are too far behind the ridge and have lost height. They have tried to push back in front of the ridge, but whilst pushing forward they have not had enough height and have landed safely in a tree 12m high. Due to the height above the ground, the pilot has contacted the emergency services to get assistance to extract. No injuries to the pilot. The pilot returned the next day with help to retrieve the wing. One tear and three small holes in the wing. Some lines on the left wing were cut during wing extraction.
When trying this manoeuvre, or any new manoeuvre, ensure you have plenty of height and distance away from the ridge. Be aware that when twisted in your harness you have less control of the glider and the brakes are less effective. You can easily get disorientated with the ridgeline and the direction you are heading. The wing can also behave differently due to the different pressure on the wing from the twisted harness position. Also in the event of turbulent air or the wing taking any collapses, the pilot will not have effective wing control. The pilot was correct not trying to exit tree, and calling for assistance.
22-10-2020 1351 / PG Southeast Qld Accident Carlo sandblow - Rainbow Beach Niviuk Hook 5
PIC1 was flying his paraglider at Rainbow Beach (Qld/S). PIC2 was on launch in the Blow. Weather conditions were NE 10-12 knots, perfect for the site. PIC1 has set up an approach to land on the North-side of Carlo Sand Blow. After a few S-turns to lose some height, he has noticed another pilot on the same set up to also land on the Northern side of the blow; this pilot has set up to land to the southern side of PIC1. PIC1 has noticed some pilots setting up ready to launch in front of where he has planned to land. PIC2 has carried out a reverse launch. Whilst inflating the glider he has been picked up off his feet while still facing the glider. PIC2 has then applied a large amount of brake causing the glider to enter a steep banked turn toward the centre of the Blow, which has, in turn, spun the glider 180-degrees resulting in the risers untwisting and PIC2 now facing the correct flight orientation with the glider. PIC2 is now heading downwind towards PIC1. PIC1 has tried to take evasive action and turned towards the north side of the Blow. PIC2's right wing-tip has impacted PIC1's knees (which were lifted to try and avoid the wing), causing PIC1 to spin 90 degrees towards the Northern side of the Blow. PIC1 has impacted the ground with some force, and has suffered some scratches to the left side of his face and helmet. Also the left side of his body, has suffered from the impact. PIC2 has impacted the ground with some speed and relatively hard. The wing was in level flight, downwind. The harness has absorbed a lot of the impact and the pilot has remained unhurt. Both pilots walked away with no serious injuries.
Rainbow Beach can be a very busy flying site and is frequented regularly by Novice pilots. All pilots need to fly conservatively around other pilots and give them plenty of space. If the area looks busy wait for another opportunity. This is relevant when flying, to be alert and watch for other gliders and give them space. Pilots that do not possess good ground handling skills should make themselves aware of other pilots and only launch when is safe to do so. The same is relevant when launching a glider to make sure no member of the public, or pilot is standing behind your wing when you launch, so as to not cause injury to any third-party if the inflation is not successful.