1000 POINTS!  A day I will always remember!

Very few competition soaring pilots are fortunate enough to experience a day win at an FAI World Gliding Championship.  I am now honored to be one!  The 18-meter class was an extraordinarily competitive class full of past World Champions and many others who were fully capable of winning their first one here.  Amazingly, this flight also earned me the largest winning margin of the competition including three highly competitive classes (Open, 15m, and 18m).  It was the second task at my first (and only) FAI WGC.  I was the top performing US pilot by a significant margin (% of winners score) despite a very costly land-out on contest day five (costing me roughly 700 points).   I prepared for this event by attending the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Australia just a few weeks before this flight (a perfect practice platform) and by flying every US contest I could for 3-4 years leading up to the event.  Thank you to Tiffany for endless support and crew work.  RESULTS

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1 week ago

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Sea breeze front super southern Texas ... See MoreSee Less

7T off to Poland for new paint... ... See MoreSee Less

7T off to Poland for new paint...

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Biskup? Out of curiosity, what is the shipping cost?

Why Poland?

Biskup?

Almost on the ship... ... See MoreSee Less

Almost on the ship...

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Jacksonville?

2020 Cordele, Georgia 50th anniversary contest announcement below...

50 Years of Cordele Contests – Come Help us Celebrate

Mark your calendars for May 30th – June 6th 2020 and then go to SSA and register for Region 5 South (R5S) so you can be part of our contest celebration. While some people have noted that a couple of contests in the early years ended up at another field, it was still the MGSA sponsored contest you all know as R5S. We want to make this the best contest ever and only YOU can make that happen by being part of the event/contest.

Practice Days are May 30 – 31, 2020

Contest Dates: June 1 – 6, 2020

If you joined us in Cordele in 2019 you know about the well-attended evening seminars offered by Rich Owen, our CD. It was a great opportunity to examine flights and look for ways to improve your flying. Rich will be our CD again in 2020 and he will once again offer this unique opportunity. Even experienced pilots found these evenings valuable.

Lyn and I are still your contest managers and we are looking for some of those early competitors, so if you know the names or are in contact with any of them, please let one of us know. We would like to invite them to a special evening so we can thank everyone who has made this contest last for half a century.

Contact Chris Carter or Lyn Forbes via the SSA member locator (or a Facebook search) for more info.

PS – Please share this communication with your clubs. We have a limited mailing list and need your help to make certain this gets to as many people as possible. Thank you!
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2 weeks ago

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Finishing with style! ... See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Sean’s Soaring Page

Interesting debrief on Sebastian’s very hard landing in Italy last week.

Upside: I feel we have learned more about ourselves and our sport by this unfortunate incident. If Sebastian won this event as per usual, we would probably not be talking much about it.

Downside: The irony of this incident is irrefutable.

1) Sebastian Kawa is not infallible. Nobody on the planet has more raw flying skill and experience using it. Yet he still slightly misjudged the wind or local turbulence on the tree line just before his planned landing point on an extreme uphill. This reminds me of my friend Derek Mackie’s fatal accident in a weird way. The thinking there was that he got dropped into/behind the tree line by strong turbulence/sink to the lee of the tree line on final approach into his intended field. Essentially wind sheer or rotor. Thank god Sebastian didn’t get hurt more severely or heaven forbid killed. It is not impossible that even a pilot such as Sebastian could have been killed in this situation. What is the difference in vertical speed in order to result in a slight back injury, a severe injury and a fatal injury? 30-40% more verticals speed perhaps to go fatal? Imagine how perplexed we all would have been without Sebastian’s post event description vs. simply finding the glider on the side of that hill with no information. Chilling but worth considering.

2) A brand new state of the art sailplane with an FES like system, only 30 km (18 miles) from home and the motor failed to deploy. The GP15 electric propulsion system has much more complexity than the simple FES system which has only 3 moving parts (two hinged props and motor). The GP ESLS (electric self launch system) ads the motor bay doors and the pylon extension system which also requires power cables to manage that movement and could eventually cause a short. +1 for FES which despite having some drag from the external propellers has minimal risk of failure as it really has only one switch and one moving part (the motor). KISS (Keep it simple stupid) is an old American saying that comes to mind. As with all new gliders and all complex motor systems they are far from reliable or easy and must never be trusted.

3) Sebastian needed to remove the safety foam seat to fit (he’s a touch smaller than I am) so the GP is pretty tight. And that seemingly benign choice may have saved him from a serious back injury. Fortunately he seems ok but how close was he to not being ok?

Note to self: I have often thought about removing my safety cage from my canopy in 7T (ASG29). I probably would land out accidentally thru a fence the next flight. Never remove safety devices from your glider.

Lessons learned: Sebastian is (still) human and thankfully he is ok after this accident. I’m sure the cause of the engine malfunction (or operator error) will be identified and hopefully we can collectively learn from this. But it’s far more of a story than just the motor failure.

I think the big lesson here is actually that extreme or even moderate mountain flying sites (which are beautiful backdrops for sure) dramatically increase risk for our fellow pilots. I think the stock price of flatland sites with abundant landing options should be naturally increasing...

For what it’s worth...
Sean

https://facebook.com/permalink.php/…Atterriaggio duro - Hard landing!
For the first time in his career Sebastian Kawa damaged a glider in a hard landing. An investigation of the events should help to avoid such events in the future!

"What happened was very surprising to me. For the first time in my career, I damaged a glider on a hard landing. A very unpleasant experience with the new GP14 on the steep slope of Puvallo! The terrain in the Apennines is not exactly inviting for landing in many areas. Almost every suitable, flat area is urbanized, the valleys are V-shaped and in the middle there is a narrow brook. Fields, if available, are on steep slopes. Thus, it is very difficult to find a suitable landing site.

What happened?

About 30 km from the finish line, I was still at high altitude and made the decision not to take any risks and start the engine. It was just a training day, where no points had to be collected. After the start with electric engine some hours ago, still 75% of the electric power was available. I could easily come home with that. I thought about how to use the remaining energy most effectively and turned knob to start the engine. Nothing happened!

I still had enough time. After a short look around, I saw no less than 10 possible landing fields - all in mountainous terrain, all on the steep slope! So I took off my sunglasses and tried to get the engine running. At first I thought I did not have enough energy to extend the pylon and turned off the navigation display. I rebooted the system and tried cranking again. Nothing happened!

My options dwindled ...

After another 15 km, only two suitable fields were in sight. Very steep, but slightly larger than the previous ones. Since the further course of the valley was not visible, I decided to land on one of the two yellow-brown fields next to a farm and a paved road. Unfortunately, it turned out in retrospect that this field was bumpy, which added to the other difficulties!

I've landed on similar steep hills before. On some glider sites such as Jeżów Sudecki (Grunau) or in Bieszczady there are streeps with slopes up to 11%. Even with an ASH 25 I landed (in Bieszczady) on a slope as steep as this one in Apenines. However, it was prepared landing site with smooth grass! In Italy the situation was different. The surface of the field was rough and there were trees in the approach sector. In order to land in such a field, you must be approach even with a light glider at a speed of 130 km/h in order to be able to fly uphill parallel to the ground. Fast airplanes need even more speed! I have dumped all water already so I crossed the line of trees with exactly 130 km/h and felt a hard bump just before I expected to fly for a while uphill to loose speed. The plane jumped at a steep angle loosing speed almost in seconds.

With no speed it was not possible to change anything in the situation, I saw the treetops below me again. You wait ! The next moment I was back on the ground and sliding several meters on the fuselage after glider lost it’s undercarriage. Amazingly no more damages were seen. Later I found out that instrument panel pulled two screws from the floor and belly was cracked. Very little for such landing.


Not recommendable!

My situation was worse. The same moment I hit the ground I felt a strong backache and had big difficulty getting out of the cockpit. I lied down on the wing to ease it off few minutes, a bit of relief occurred, fortunately I was able to move and feel all my limbs. Actually, this action was not right, because in such a situation, I would advise anyone not to move that much – unless you're sure the spine is intact.

I consider it unlucky to hit such an uneven slope what was invisible till last moment. Looking from above waves, if have same colour are indistinguishable. Fortunately, the GP14 is a light and very strong glider, so it helped to get away with only a small damage.
Most important finding: even if the engine still worked at the start, it can fail at any time. It was the case with my landing in the Apennines. After the engine cooled, it did not start again because the pylon did not touch the limit switch.

Never rely 100% on the engine! Electric or digital systems fail instantly without any prior signs of wear or malfunction so it would be better to have two sets of electronic gear. We use two loggers. Don’t we?”

Happy Landings
Sebastian Kawa

Outlandings in mountainous areas / Outlandings with (turbo) engines - what is important?
After a hard landing in the Apennines Sebastian Kawa worked up his experiences and shared with us!

Decide early and have more options ready
Must land in mountainous terrain, it is usually very fast due to lack of options. Faulty starts of auxiliary engines worsen the situation dramatically. Therefore decide early, because: landing out with engine always need more height than without!

Upslope landings can be trained!
There are gliding schools that fly regularly on places with inclined landing strips. Uphill landing can be trained.

You need more speed!
A gradual reduction of the speed a few meters above the ground, which is often seen on flat airfields, does not work when approaching the steep slope. For pull up, to intercept path parallel to the ground, you have to keep your speed until last moment and flare with more energy to fly about 1m above the ground uphill. When practicing on moderate uphill strips if you have speed sufficient to hover about 0.5-1m above the ground for about 50-100m, than it is a good approach. We have very often windy conditions so more speed is required also to avoid sudden drop of speed and as a consequence falling dawn from few meters.

Use the entire length of the field.
The speed reduction when flying uphill is fast. So it is not necessary to be fixed on the lowest meters of the field because it is more dangerous to catch obstacles in the approach than roll on some at the end. In most cases there should be no problem to slow down and stop when going uphill.

Airbrakes - carefully!
Adjust altitude, the point where you want to stop. Then: set the flaps, retract the airbrakes, accelerate - to be able to pull up in front of the rising slope. Many gliders tend to sink a lot even when the airbrakes are only slightly opened. They loose speed instead of zooming up. With less flap, I would not use L -flaps for such approach as they produce more drag than lift, and a higher approach speed, this problem can be avoided ! There are planes, for example PZL 104, which can not flare enough to end parallel to any uphill slope without help of the engine.

Curved landing!
The last part of roll should be used for a 90° turn to avoid rolling back. In the worst case, you would have to remain in the cockpit squeezing wheel brake until help arrives.

Avoid obstacles!
Each approach over obstacles is more demanding than on a flat plane, as the interception angle increases further.

Green in front of brown - and not mixed!
In the mountainous areas it's better to choose GREEN fields. Green means it's re-cultivated at least once a year, and probably neither corn nor other tall plants will grow on it. In addition, in a re-cultivated field, the probability of encountering invisible trenches, hills and stones is reduced. Plowed fields are good too but brownish grass means it was not used for a long time and there are tall weeds.

Rules!
The competition rules should allow for a short test of the engine even if you used it for take-off.

As always with turbo’s – fly as without engine!
Even if an engine was used to start, he may well refuse service on the next attempt.

It was the same with my landing in the Apennines. After the engine cooled, it did not start again because the pylon did not touch the limit switch! Never rely 100% on the engine!

Happy Landings
Sebastian Kawa

Download the full article with drawings by Sebastian Kawa:

https://itunes.apple.com/de/app/…
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Interesting debrief on Sebastian’s very hard landing in Italy last week.

Upside:  I feel we have learned more about ourselves and our sport by this unfortunate incident.  If Sebastian won this event as per usual, we would probably not be talking much about it.

Downside:  The irony of this incident is irrefutable.  

1) Sebastian Kawa is not infallible. Nobody on the planet has more raw flying skill and experience using it.  Yet he still slightly misjudged the wind or local turbulence on the tree line just before his planned landing point on an extreme uphill.  This reminds me of my friend Derek Mackie’s fatal accident in a weird way.  The thinking there was that he got dropped into/behind the tree line by strong turbulence/sink to the lee of the tree line on final approach into his intended field.  Essentially wind sheer or rotor.  Thank god Sebastian didn’t get hurt more severely or heaven forbid killed.  It is not impossible that even a pilot such as Sebastian could have been killed in this situation.  What is the difference in vertical speed in order to result in a slight back injury, a severe injury and a fatal injury?  30-40% more verticals speed perhaps to go fatal?  Imagine how perplexed we all would have been without Sebastian’s post event description vs. simply finding the glider on the side of that hill with no information.  Chilling but worth considering.

2) A brand new state of the art sailplane with an FES like system, only 30 km (18 miles) from home and the motor failed to deploy.  The GP15 electric propulsion system has much more complexity than the simple FES system which has only 3 moving parts (two hinged props and motor).  The GP ESLS (electric self launch system) ads the motor bay doors and the pylon extension system which also requires power cables to manage that movement and could eventually cause a short.  +1 for FES which despite having some drag from the external propellers has minimal risk of failure as it really has only one switch and one moving part (the motor).  KISS (Keep it simple stupid) is an old American saying that comes to mind.  As with all new gliders and all complex motor systems they are far from reliable or easy and must never be trusted.

3) Sebastian needed to remove the safety foam seat to fit (he’s a touch smaller than I am) so the GP is pretty tight.  And that seemingly benign choice may have saved him from a serious back injury.  Fortunately he seems ok but how close was he to not being ok?

Note to self:  I have often thought about removing my safety cage from my canopy in 7T (ASG29).  I probably would land out accidentally thru a fence the next flight.  Never remove safety devices from your glider.

Lessons learned:  Sebastian is (still) human and thankfully he is ok after this accident.  I’m sure the cause of the engine malfunction (or operator error) will be identified and hopefully we can collectively learn from this.  But it’s far more of a story than just the motor failure.

I think the big lesson here is actually that extreme or even moderate mountain flying sites (which are beautiful backdrops for sure) dramatically increase risk for our fellow pilots.  I think the stock price of flatland sites with abundant landing options should be naturally increasing...

For what it’s worth...
Sean

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=387719985460565&id=209591646606734

Comment on Facebook

Thanks Sean - I really appreciate your safety efforts. No one is infallible.

Sean, you are massively overthinking this incident. The difference in complexity between FES and a rear mast mounted prop is trivial compared to the many, many systems we all bet our lives on every day - automobiles, for instance. The sustainer suffered a failure due to maintenance, manufacture or design which could happen to any concept including FES. Landing uphill on a mountain slope is easy but it requires a lot of airspeed. In fact, it's almost impossible to have too much as it goes away so quickly when flying parallel to an uphill surface. I've flown approaches to these landings at 90 - 100 knots and still landed shorter than is usual on a flat runway. That extra speed gives really good protection against a gust induced stall. Mountain flying is NOT more dangerous as long as the pilot understands the environment - AND has a never-to-be-violated rule to always keep at least two known-safe landing areas reachable at 50% of best L/D.

The factor that leaps out to me about this incident is the time spent trying to get the motor started. Enough for the landing options to drop from at least 10 down to 2. In 27 years of owning motorized gliders (turbos, jet, and rotary ice) I found that trying to start an unwilling engine keeps a huge proportion of one's attention inside the cockpit and away from situational awareness.

Shot of canopy cage

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