Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pre-worlds accident report

The Pre-worlds accident report has been published (also published on the OzReport). As you know, I stopped flying that competition after 2 tasks because I thought it was too risky. The reports mentions

Winds were shifty, and landing zones small and scarce.

Sounds like a fun place for competition flying! The report continues:

as was expected, several bad landings happened. Broken down bars, for instance, were in the 2 digit mark, but this is only speculation.

Nice to know it was expected. Then a summary of the accidents is presented. There is no evaluation in the report on whether those pilots were rather lucky or unlucky with the outcome of their incident. But I personally think we were rather lucky nothing worse happened during that week. The report also does not mention Christian's accident who crashed his glider at elevated speed on final glide (landing at an estimated 2700 m). Christian tore or damaged a tendon and was not able to continu.

Out of 75 pilots initially competing, at least 5 stopped flying due to injury. For each of the last 3 days out of the 7 day comp, more than 20 pilots did not fly. Is this really what we want for competition flying?

Valle de Bravo presents an environment demanding of the highest skill level. Reason for which - we consider, the competition was very first rate and extremely technical.

Is this what makes a comp first rate? I'd suggest the FAI thinks about our sport. Organising a Worlds has become too expensive and too time consuming, we're only an amateur sport. As a result there are few or no bids. Which results in places like Valle de Bravo (whilst very well suited for free flying during the right time of year) now being selected for our Worlds. Well, may the bravest win, I will not take part.

By now, the European comp season is heating up again and Jamie's organising the Flytec Americus Cup in Georgia, US. I wish you all the best of flying!


  1. I heard quite some people won't be present at Worlds because of things happening on pre worlds. I will wait if maybe FAI does something I am still deciding wetter to go or not...

  2. Thanks Jochen,

    I fully agree with you. Hanggliding should make fun and not injure or kill people. When Gordon Rigg writes "But it is still necessary to consider who can handle flying strong conditions day after day when deciding who will go to the worlds…" it sounds like mockery and then not many are left and even these are not safe from being that they make an error. Does it have to be so high-risk? I do not think so - maybe I´m a coward, especially because I have a family for whom I care.

    Jürgen Karpf

  3. Hey Jürgen! I do agree with Gordon though. You need pilots who are capable of flying for hours day after day. It's a sport, so it is about physical endurance as well. And being physically fit is going to improve your performance and safety. So, you should indeed chose pilots based on that. (Gordon is talking about national team selection).
    Strong conditions (fast thermals) also aren't necessarily dangerous and we love flying in strong, high thermals. But I absolutely agree with you that we need to avoid high-risk flying conditions. And for me, the high-altitude landing areas which only had small fields involved just a bit too much risk.
    I also agree with you that we don't need strong conditions. Flying is weaker conditions is absolutely a skill too. But usually, if you go to place known for strong conditions, you get a few weaker days in the comp too and it's doesn't work the other way around. So, for the most all-round championship it is best to pick a reliable, strong venue. But please, chose a safe one...