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
04-06-2020 14:00 1270 / PG VIC Accident Mystic Bowl, BRIGHT VIC 3741 SWING NYOS
PIC was thermalling their paraglider in a right-hand turn over Emily Spur close to the launch at Mystic (Vic). The wing experienced an asymmetric collapse on the left wing which has then developed into a cravat. The pilot then induced a spin to the right by attempting to maintain a turn away from the cravatage and over-braking the glider. Although the glider recovered from the spin once the braking was eased (by surging and converting to a spiral dive), this occurred too close to treed terrain and a tree landing resulted. The wing was destroyed and the pilot suffered a minor facial puncture wound from a tree branch.
Pilots should be enjoined to prioritise straight flight away from sloping terrain in the event of a collapse near that terrain. This is generally very feasible on most paragliders even with significant asymmetric collapses, provided a spiral dive hasn't been allowed to develop. Once straight and safe flight has been established, the collapse can then be attended to.
06-06-2020 16:00 1268 / PG NSW Accident SPRING HILL BGD WASP EN/LTF-B
The Pilot-in-Command (PIC) should be commended for reporting this incident in a timely manner. PIC has launched his paraglider at 2:45pm from the main NW launch at Spring Hill (NSW) after observing a number of pilots launch. He was flying for approx. 1 hour 10 mins with up to 11 paragliders and 1 hang glider. Conditions allowed for soaring and thermalling, and were light to moderate. In the lead-up to the accident, the PIC headed too far out west to nearly the road then made his way back to the main ridge where he tried to scratch back up. PIC was scratching low and close to terrain and encountered a pocket of sink. With no margin for error he has landed backwards into the rocks, then been dragged through some small rocks, up the slope for 50 m before he regained control of the wing. PIC suffered bruising, minor cut and abrasions.
Pilots need to exercise extreme caution when flying low in the venturi at Spring Hill - the saddle to the right of launch (refer to the Spring Hill Site Guide on the Australian National Site Guide - http://siteguide.org.au/Sites/Spring%20Hill.html). Don't allow yourself to get so low that you have no options for unexpected or unplanned events. Pilots should also be sure of their ground handling skills when flying in the upper end of the wind envelope.
30-05-2020 11:30 AM 1267 / PG WA Incident Quinns Beach Western Australia PHI Maestro
Four experienced PG4 & 5 pilots were flying their paragliders at a beach location Quinns Rocks Western Australia. Conditions were marginal - moderate/strong conditions 11-17 knots with some white caps and rain cells cycling through the coast area. They were enjoying good lift and coastal soaring. Pilot 1 & 4 completed a number of top landing touch and go's indicating steady flyable conditions. A rain cell approached the flying site so pilots moved north and south of the cell to avoid rain and gust fronts. The rain cell developed and expanded rapidly as it hit the coast with a wind front mixing down from the cloud. There were no significant visual gust front indications on the water, some whitecaps were evident but nothing to indicate a strong gust front. With the wind strength rapidly increasing all four pilots decided to land. Wind during incident rose to approx 25 knots and persisted until all 4 pilots were on the ground. All had to use full bar with very little and sometimes negative penetration. All managed to touch down with varying degrees of success. The three gliders south of the rain cell were swept backwards as soon as they lost forward flying momentum at touchdown, Pilot 2 swept over the coast fence and across the road and was entangled in a tree, Pilot 1 swept across the beach side car park and was controlled on a grass garden verge, Pilot 3 swept back on the beach and was controlled in the beach scrub. Pilot 4 north of the rain cell was swept back 250 m inland and had a fast hard landing in a carpark due to rotor. The tree landing resulted in a number of cut glider lines, the verge landing resulted in some pilot bruising. One of the pilots suffered three fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.
The outcomes from this incident could have been much worse. All pilots are reminded of the following: - always have alternate landing areas - there may be limited beach options because of winter storms washing away the beaches/tides/strong and high surf - be prepared to land very quickly as situations change very rapidly- practice strong wind collapse techniques - ensure speed bars are connected and allow full travel to utilise the full speed bar range - two gliders could only utilise 85% of their range - match wing size to flying and wind strength conditions- in moderate to strong conditions always spend time assessing gust factor before flying. - never fly if the biggest gust observed exceeds your maximum comfortable landing wind strength - never fly if the biggest gust observed exceeds 75% of your wing's top speed - remember that winter flying often brings with it strong and gusty conditions subject to sudden change - always have a safe landing option within easy reach - if a rain front approaches, LAND!
24-04-2020 16:00 1264 / PPG NSW Incident Beacon Hill
PIC was flying his PPG from Belrose (Northern Beaches, Sydney, NSW). While over Dee Why Beach he has noticed an approaching large commercial airliner at a similar altitude. He has spiralled down to a lower altitude and continued on the flight, landing safely. PIC called the SMO on landing to report the incident. The pilot had lost some currency on his PPG equipment, and was relying on a mobile phone running the PPG Dashboard app, as his normal vario was broken. This mobile phone did not have a barometric sensor, and during the flight GPS lock was lost on a number of occasions as seen from the track log. The app was not correctly configured and was displaying AGL altitude which the pilot misread as ASL altitude. This placed the pilot at a higher altitude than he believed himself to be. Checks with an airline flight tracking web application showed the commercial flight to be a freight carrying Boeing 777 arriving from LAX.
If flying with a new instrument or a new piece of software ensure that the displays are configured correctly and you understand the information being displayed. Bear in mind that not all mobile phones have a barometric sensor. Reliance on a GPS position for altitude readings is to be avoided due to the greater Deterioration of Position values in the vertical plane, and the relative ease for GPS lock to be lost due to constellation visibility and configuration. Always fly with a barometric altimeter. These can be small vario sensing units transmitting position and altitude via Bluetooth to a mobile phone application, as well as the traditional sensor and display instruments.
04-05-2020 04:30 PM 1255 / PG Southeast Qld Accident Training Hill Bromelton Gin. Bolero 5
A Pilot under instruction at a training hill near Bromelton in Qld/S, tripped while practising cross wind launch technique, landing on the right shoulder. PUI was taken to the local medical center by his Instructor and advised to rest the arm affected. Subsequent x-ray imagery taken the next day revealed a hairline fracture of the humerus.
No safety recommendations.