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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
23-03-2020 02:30 PM 1245 / PG VIC Accident Mt Elliot, Corryong, Vic. NOVA Mentor 2
A pilot thermalling in weak conditions on a ridge at Mt Elliot (Vic.), fell out of the downwind edge of the thermal and was dropped into leeside rotor. This caused a series of collapses resulting in impact with terrain. The pilot sustained spinal injuries, but with no permanent damage.
Pilots should be enjoined to take care when thermalling in weak thermals that may have a significant wind tilt, especially when near ridged terrain. In these circumstances there is a significant risk of flying into leeside rotor if the pilot falls out of the downwind side of the thermal.
27-03-2020 06:00 PM 1244 / PG NSW Complaint Flying in Breach of No Flight Directive From Club Niviuk Artik 5
This report is under review.
23-03-2020 17:00 1243 / PG VIC Incident Shuey's LZ, Bright Air Design Vivo
A pilot at Bright (Vic.) found themselves low at the upwind end of a landing paddock and opted for a downwind landing. The pilot subsequently overshot the safe landing area and impacted a fence. No injury or damage.
Pilots should be enjoined to allow plenty of height to allow multiple options when establishing a landing approach to a chosen paddock. In this case, once the overshoot was established S-Turns would have helped here. "Butterfly" (flapping) brake inputs are not recommended in this case as an error in this technique has the risk of low level stall/pendulum (therefore higher risk than S-Turns).
22-03-2020 12:00 PM 1241 / PG Southeast Qld Accident Advance Xi
This report is under review.
03-03-2020 1239 / PG Southeast Qld Accident BEECHMONT BGD EPIC
This report is under review.
21-03-2020 12:00 PM 1238 / HG TAS Complaint
This report is under review.
11-03-2020 1237 / HG NSW Accident runday 08 landing Shell Harbour airport Aeros Ant Ant corsair engine
This report is under review.
28-02-2020 12:30 PM 1234 / PG VIC Incident Mystic Take Off Swing Nyos RS
A pilot, having not flown for a while and using new unfamiliar equipment attempted to launch with the legstraps and chest straps not buckled up. This was due to this pilot's pre-flight routine having deteriorated through lack of practice - this being exacerbated by the added pressure of new, unfamiliar equipment as well as a front mounted instrument cockpit . Thankfully the pilot was able to abort the launch without injury.
The importance of having a solid pre-flight routine (which includes buckling up, then performing a comprehensive and uninterrupted pre-flight check) cannot be overstated. No pilot, regardless of experience or currency, should take this aspect of flying for granted. Modern harness systems can mitigate the risks of failure to buckle in properly but will not eliminate these risks entirely in the absence of a proper pre-flight check.
29-02-2020 12:00 1233 / PG NSW Incident Stanwell Park LZ Skywalk Tequila 3
This report is under review.
29-02-2020 10:50am 1232 / PG NSW Complaint Stanwell Park
A pilot at Bald Hill (Stanwell Park, NSW) had launched on a Gin Bonanza. As he was launching a red Robinson helicopter made a pass at launch level with approx 300 m separation from the hill. The PG pilot made a turn to the right and was heading to the beach abeam of the Point, when the helicopter made a pass to the south at the same altitude as the PG pilot. Separation from the hill was approx 200 m and less than 100 m from the PG pilot. Helicopter continued SW towards the escarpment.
This site frequently sees civilian and military aircraft flying in close proximity to the launch and similar events are not unknown. See and be seen as an avoidance measure has its limitations and pilots should consider adoption and carriage of VHF radio to further aid their conspicuity and situational awareness. This incident was reported to the ATSB: https://www.atsb.gov.au/mandatory/asair-form/
20-02-2020 04:00 PM 1229 / HG NSW Accident Manilla, Mt Borah Westen Landing Zone Moyes Malabu
This report is under review.
22-02-2020 01:00 PM 1228 / PG TAS Accident Woodspring Gin Bolero 4
This report is under review.
20-02-2020 02:00 PM 1227 / PG VIC Accident Mystic, Bright Ozone Buzz Z5
Two pilots with relatively low inland experience were thermalling in opposite directions at Mystic (Bright, Vic.). These pilots were part on a tour group/clinic aimed at improving inland skills. As their climbs converged, they failed to avoid each other and a collision with one pilot's glider entangling in the harness of the other pilot. When this glider separated it tore and became disabled. The pilot subsequently deployed a reserve successfully and landed with no injuries.
When pilots come together to improve their inland skills, their decision whether or not to fly might best be shaped by: 1. A comprehensive pre-flight briefing including conditions awareness, turn direction and traffic awareness (including prioritising collision avoidance) 2. An appreciation of respective skills levels and whether current conditions are appropriate to those skill levels 3. An awareness of general workload levels that the combination of pilot numbers and flying conditions may impose on an instructor.
15-02-2020 12:00 1223 / PG NSW Accident Crackneck UP
PIC is now very aware of the fact that he was pushing the safety envelope. Time will allow this incident to sink in and he is surrounded by his peers for support and he will no doubt have sufficient time to reflect on the incident and the decision to launch in unsuitable conditions on the day.
27-01-2020 02:00 PM 1222 / PG TAS Accident Miena Park, Montagu St, Sorell, Tasmania Niviuk Hook 4
This report is under review.
06-02-2020 14:00 PM 1220 / PG VIC Incident 3 Tempo Court, Bright, Vic. 3741 Advance Iota
PIC was flying from Mystic, Bright (Vic.). A forced landing onto a rooftop in a housing estate resulted from the pilot attempting to find lift too late into the latter stages of the flight to ensure a glide to a safe landing area. No damage or injury.
PIlots are reminded that, once airborne in an unpowered aircraft, their primary priority should be to always ensure an easy glide to a safe permitted landing area.
10-02-2020 1219 / PG SA & NT Accident SEAFORD Ozone Mojo 4
This report is under review.
12-02-2020 01:30 PM 1218 / PG VIC Incident Advance Omega Xalps 2
PIC was competing in Task 2 of the Bright PG Open 2020. Having missed the part of a pre-flight briefing where a hard-to-see power line in a landing area was mentioned, the pilot failed to see that power line and flew into it. The pilot self extracted safely and the equipment was recovered later. No damage or injury.
Pilots are reminded of the importance of attending an entire pre-flight briefing, especially if they are unfamiliar with a given site. Such briefings serve to identify local hazards that would otherwise go unnoticed until it's too late.
10-02-2020 11:32 AM 1217 / PG WA Complaint Shelleys beach Albany WA Ozone BuzzZ6
This report is under review.
30-01-2020 02:00 PM 1215 / PG NSW Incident 800m East of Mt Borah Manilla Mac Para Eden 7
PIC was flying in the Manilla XC Camp (NSW), on glide due East at an altitude of approximate 2100m when he flew through a very strong thermal. The canopy pitched back and the right wing tip became wrapped around the right outer risers. The PIC then flew out the other side of the thermal into rapidly sinking air where the canopy then shot forward rapidly and quickly entered a spiral dive. The PIC tried to weight shift and use brake pulls on the cravatted side to clear the cravat. The cravat couldn't be cleared by the PIC and after 3 rapid spiral rotations, the PIC chose to deploy his reserve. The PIC landed safely in a field below and walked away without injury.
The PIC had not undertaken a SIV and had reached the limits of his knowledge to successfully clear the cravat. He was also aware of the possibility of black-out from the G forces endured during the spiral drive and chose to deploy the reserve preemptively, even though he had enough height to continue to try and resolve the cravat. If in doubt, deploy the reserve. It is better to deploy the reserve early rather than leave it until too late. If you are stating to lose situational awareness or experiencing building G-forces, deploy.
31-01-2020 04:30 PM 1214 / PG Southeast Qld Incident Skywalk Mescal
Hi everyone. With ridge soaring season in full swing at Beechmont at the moment, I urge all pilots to exercise caution when flying in traffic. In a NE Beechmont has a relatively narrow lift band, and when it goes NNE, that lift band gets even narrower. This means that the traffic will be concentrated in a small lift band. Last week, there was a mid-air collision involving a PG2 and a PG4 pilot. The incident could have been disastrous if the top pilot had been 3m lower. But luckily the incident caused nothing more than a frontal on the lower pilots glider and a some rattled nerves. I’m not apportioning any blame on the incident and as they say, “it takes two to tango”. For sure, in mid-airs, quite often, one pilot is more to blame than the other, but mid-airs result from both parties not being totally observant. So some simple rules. Continuously observer other pilots in the soaring pattern. Your head (and your gaze) should be constantly moving and scanning the soaring pattern . Clear your turns. Make sure that the airspace that you intend to occupy will be clear of other gliders. Try to assess other pilots intentions. What do you think they’re going to do. Fly in a predictable manner. If you want to do throw your glider around, do it in an area where there’s no other pilots. Know your right of way rules, but remember that the best rule is be observant and work with others. Don’t demand your right of way. Even if it looks like you are in the right, and a pilot appears to not have seen you, or for any other reason, doesn’t appear to be giving you the right of way, move somewhere else. Always have a backup plan for flying away from potential conflict. If the lift band is small and you feel uncomfortable, fly away. It’s way better to bombout, than tangle and crash. The benefits of staying alert far outweigh the potential catastrophic downside of aerial impact. Stay alert and fly safe. Kind regards Phil Hystek SSO. PG. CHGC
24-01-2020 1211 / HG Southeast Qld Complaint Lockyer Waters
CASA forwarded a complaint from an anonymous source, concerning PPC operations in the Lockyer area (Qld/S).
SAFA Ops Team investigated and determined that the PPC belonged to a SAFA member and instructor. From the video evidence supplied there was determined to be no breach of procedures or regulations. There are a number of vexatious complainants in the area, the properties of which are clearly indicated in the local club resources and these properties are avoided assiduously. CASA have been notified of the investigation determinations.
26-01-2020 07:35 PM 1210 / PG VIC Accident Thirteenth Beach, W31 Gradient Free Style 3
PIC had been flying for 4-4.5 hours, 2 of which on a Freestyle wing, at 13th Beach, Barwon Heads near Geelong in Victoria. During a beach launch, pilot lost situational awareness of a timber beach post. As soon as the pilot was airborne (feet off the ground), was hit by a gust and flew too close to and hit the post. No damage to equipment. Bruising and swelling to thigh.
A momentary distraction coupled with many hours flying on this day resulted in the collision with obstacle located close to launch position. Be aware of your fatigue levels when having a day out flying. Freestyle wings require more pilot input and control and can accelerate onset of fatigue.
27-01-2020 11:00 AM 1209 / PG NSW Accident Mt. Borah Manilla Gin Bolero 4
The pilot was a PG2 attending the Manilla XC camp (NSW) in the 'fun' non-competition category. The pilot had made a successful flight from the same launch site the previous day. At around 11am, with 20 or 30 fliers at the launch site there were already a few pilots in the air; 8 or 10 pilots had launched and ascended or were maintaining. Conditions were slightly gusty and cycling. There was one other pilot in the air in the immediate vicinity when the pilot launched. Immediately on launch the pilot turned left along the ridge, and attempted to gain height from ridge lift. On the first turn at about 100m along the slope at the end of the ridge the pilot turned left toward the slope without having gained sufficient separation distance. The wing crashed into a tree on the slope, with the wing draped over the crown of the tree. The pilot was uninjured and self-extracted, but the wing was unable to be removed without cutting risers.
All pilots should turn away from the hill when close to terrain. Do not turn towards the hill, unless you are absolutely certain you have sufficient horizontal clearance, taking into account the prevailing wind direction blowing towards the hill, or you have sufficient vertical separation from the hill top.
21-01-2020 14:35 1208 / PG TAS Complaint Don Heads, Tasmania Air Design
A persistent, illegal pilot was filmed flying at Don Heads (Tas.). The matter has been referred to CASA who are investigating.
Pilots can only fly our aircraft under exemptions from the Civil Aviation Regulations as detailed in the Civil Aviation Orders. These exemptions only apply to financial members of the SAFA. Piloting while not a current, financial member of the SAFA places pilots in breach of the CARs. Penalties resulting from prosecution can be up to 2 years in gaol and/or fines up to $250,000 for EACH count.