Monday, July 30, 2012

UK Nationals - Task 5 - Do your checks

The last day of UK nationals started with some rain and a clouded sky, but the forecast promised better conditions, so we headed for the Chabre launch. Condition improved indeed, but still looked pretty light while the launch window was open.

I had been rigging a bit on the side and when the sun appeared I didn't want to wait too long with taking off. I prepared myself and moved to launch. A helpful pilot offered me to do a hang check and we did the regular checks (hang strap, leg loops, helmet). I launched and immediately felt something was wrong. The harness zipper had not been closed at all, nor was the chest clip. I flew towards landing and, to my surprise, managed to close the harness. I spent an hour trying to get back on the ridge, but that didn't work out anymore. Second lost day (after being air-sick), so the UK nationals really had highs and lows for me...

Of course I am responsible myself for preparing correctly for flight (all the important security checks have been done), but it is remarkable that nobody spotted that my harness was completely open while I was on launch. Not even when I did the hang check with the other pilot. Competition flying, or any hurry or distraction from normal procedures can definitely make you forget things. So, make sure you always do you checks. For me, it is checking the glider and from now on 4 checks instead of 3 for the rest of it: hang strap, leg loops, zipper/chest buckle and helmet.

It cost me a very nice flight. Many congratulations to Gordon Rigg, who won the UK nationals a 9th time and to Luis Rizo Salom, who won the Open championship. Great flying by both of them!

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