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BGA Safe Winch Launching Initiative

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Presentation on theme: "BGA Safe Winch Launching Initiative"— Presentation transcript:

1 BGA Safe Winch Launching Initiative

2 Let’s eliminate winch launch groundloops and cartwheels.....


4 The Safe Winch Launch campaign has contributed to a significant reduction in winch accidents since 2006. 6 year period Fatal or serious injury winch accidents 4 (none in 2010 or 2011) 18 Average 6 year period

5 All Winch Accidents, The main improvement is due to fewer stalls and spins on the wire or after a launch failure 6 year aggregates show no improvement in cable encounters and wingdrop/ groundloop/ cartwheel Let’s look at all winch accidents, including the minor ones. Again we see a reduction in stall/spin accidents. There is no reduction in accidents following a wing drop. Encounters with the launching cable continue.

6 For advice on minimising cable encounters, please check out the Winching Operations presentation, also contained on this DVD

7 The aim of this presentation is to help you to stop wing drop accidents whether you are in the glider or not

8 What is the Existing Advice to Pilots?
Start the launch with your hand ON the release If you cannot keep the wings level, release immediately Any further details? Make sure you have a firm grip on the release. The force required to release under tension on the ground is high. Any gloves being worn should provide good grip, otherwise remove them

9 What Does the BGA Instructor Manual Say?
Four factors which may cause a swing during the ground run are listed. A swing may lead to a wingdrop and groundloop These factors are....

10 Crosswind/Weathercock
Offset cable/Bow in cable Offset winch hook Which wing is being held

11 Considered individually, these factors are well understood....
In a crosswind, the glider will tend to weathercock into wind An offset cable will cause the glider to swing towards the cable An offset hook will cause the glider to swing away from the side with the hook How the wing runner influences any swing depends on their technique, but they typically hold their wing back slightly

12 The following diagram from the Instructor Manual shows two of these factors - Offset Cable and Offset Hook The severity of any swing depends on the amount of offset, and the acceleration provided EXCESSIVE ACCELERATION = RAPID SWING PROGRESSIVE ACCELERATION = CONTROLLABLE SWING

13 Diagram courtesy of Steve Longland

14 Of course, all four of these factors causing swings interact
Of course, all four of these factors causing swings interact. This may cancel out, or increase the swing If we understand and reduce wing drops and swings, we can reduce groundloops and cartwheels

15 Any useful lessons from accident reports?

16 Some accident reports stated that the cable was released as soon as the wing touched the ground, but the glider still groundlooped, often causing significant damage So to keep your glider and pride undented, your target is to release BEFORE the wing touches If a wing starts to drop, and you can’t catch it with opposite aileron, RELEASE!

17 Accident reports show that once a wing drops and the glider starts to yaw, the groundloop develops rapidly The only way out is to release before this happens – otherwise you are just along for the ride!

18 Being pushed back into the queue after releasing the cable is significantly less embarrassing than bending a glider


20 Assess the wind, cable and hook position to anticipate if a wing drop or swing is likely to occur
Learn from the preceding launches by watching if any wing drops or swings occur Ensure glider is aligned correctly with winch and cable run before accepting the cable: If cable run is offset, pointing the glider slightly away from the winch and towards the offset cable can reduce the swing (see following diagrams) If glider is offset from cable by more than one wingspan, move the glider closer before launch

21 Diagram courtesy of Steve Longland

22 Diagram courtesy of Steve Longland

23 If the wing runner is holding your wing at the wrong height, or is struggling in a gusty wind, release before Take Up Slack and discuss it. A small aileron adjustment, or asking the wing runner to hold the wing at a different height, may make their job much easier. It will also reduce the chances of a wing drop Know the crosswind limits for your glider. If you are operating near those limits, plan your launch carefully and be ready to release early if a wing starts to go down

24 If you have a preference for which wing is to be held in a crosswind, brief the wing runner accordingly, but bear in mind which side of the glider the cables have been brought to. The wing runner should NOT be close to a cable when running your wing A surprising number of wing drop accidents occur when the wind is close to a direct headwind – be alert in all conditions

25 Which Wing Should Be Held?
There is no rule for all situations It is important for the wing runner to be safely separated from the live cable and other cables If a weathercock is likely, running the downwind wing will help to control any swing into wind If a swing towards an offset cable is likely, running the wing furthest from the cable will help If a swing away from an offset hook is likely, running the wing on the same side as the hook will help to control the swing

26 Which Wing Should Be Held?
In a strong, blustery wind which makes holding the wing difficult, running the upwind wing can help reduce the chance of a wing drop In crosswinds, the upwind wing should be slightly lower These factors interact – assess the dominant factor

27 Monitor Wings Level Throughout
If you wait until you feel the wing touch the ground and start dragging, it may be too late Ensure you can assess “Wings level?” and know what bank angle is unacceptable Acceptable bank angle is relatively small Some glider types will have a wing tip on the ground before reaching even 10o of bank


29 Airfield and Glider Fleet
Cut grass short and keep it short Choose launch point position to minimise undulating ground and cross-slopes Full use of airfield to minimise crosswind Reliable, clear signalling system with 2 methods of providing a STOP signal – ideally visual and aural (e.g. lights + buzzer/radio)

30 Attaching the Cable Ensure gliders are aligned correctly with winch and cable run Ask pilot if any water ballast or special info Don’t just take the rings to the glider – Pull the parachute across in line with glider Launching on downslope? Arrange a tail holder if required

31 Wing Runner Wings should look level, or in a crosswind the upwind wing should be slightly low Wings should feel balanced, especially with water ballast or crosswind – find the balance point Look at ground clearance on BOTH wing tips to assess if wings are level On a cross-slope, ensure uphill wing tip isn’t too close to the ground If fighting wing-tip in a strong wind, delay launch and try holding wing tip at a different height, ask pilot to change aileron position, or both

32 Wing Runner RUN WITH THE WING!
Don’t just take a couple of steps and let go! KEEP THE GLIDER STRAIGHT! Your job isn’t just to keep the wings level, but also to keep the glider straight Run “with” the glider. Don’t run forwards before the winch accelerates. Don’t hold your wing back If the glider tries to swing, often a small correction from the wing runner is all that is needed until the cable is straight and the forces line up

33 Launch Signaller Glider aligned correctly with winch and cable?
Allow wing runner time to balance wings before signalling – If they are struggling, delay signals Wait for cable to pull across and glider to creep forwards before giving All Out Early All Out can cause a swing If a wing drops, simultaneously apply STOP light and make a loud radio call to the winch

34 Winch Driver – Take Up Slack
Take Up Slack at correct speed – slow walk Assess by glancing at drum/pulley/cable/shaft.. Fast Take Up Slack can jerk wing out of wing runner’s hand before All Out. Wing then drops If drum stops during Take Up Slack it can lead to an early All Out signal which can cause a swing. Keep the drum rotating if needed Correct engine idle speed can ensure consistent Take Up Slack speed with most winch types

35 Winch Driver – All Out Excessive acceleration may reduce the chance of a wing drop in some situations BUT if a wing has already started to go down, or the cable or hook are offset, it will increase the forces causing the potential groundloop, and reduce the time to react The key is prompt reaction to All Out, but to accelerate at the normal rate For more info on acceleration see Winch Operations presentation on this DVD

36 All pilots and members of the launching team can contribute to reducing groundloop and cartwheel accidents during winch launches

37 Can we manage to STOP THE DROP from 2013 onwards?

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