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Paragliding Water Landing Awareness and Clinics. Revised Dec 18th 2014

 
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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:30 pm    Post subject: Paragliding Water Landing Awareness and Clinics. Revised Dec 18th 2014 Reply with quote

Holding place for the Project Team involved with and Working on this Water Landing Training Article / Clinic Revised Dec 18th 2014
- Updates happen frequently here! So Stay Tuned!

Fred Wilson wrote:
The information here is destined to replace the notes compiled over the past few decades at:
1. http://www.hpac.ca/pub/?pid=161
2. http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=10701
3. http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?p=298572
4. http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=p341639

Note:
Link to the Hang Gliding Water Landing Training Project Section.

Prologue: Paragliding General Comments:

"The training system is laid out redundantly, so that if the Life Jacket should fail, then the rescue boat should be immediately at the scene,
or should the rescue boat fail, then the Life Jacket should keep the pilot afloat."
__________________________

From Jeff Hunt:
There should be a rescue boat separate from the tow boat.
Even with a life jacket, you can get line entanglement issues.
Have assistance ready - there are plenty of shows where PG and HG hit the water, assistance readily at hand is vital.

Advanced Manoeuvres Courses (SIV) and / or Water Landing Courses prepare pilots for water landings.
Pilots who have this prior experience may be less likely to panic in water and thus may be better prepared to extricate themselves from their harness.

Bob Moore wrote:
You may find it alarmist, but it's generally considered that water landings are likely to be fatal.
Especially moving water.

(Very Good) Real Life Story of what can and did go wrong:
See: http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=8810

(Very Good) Real Life Video Example:





"The training system is layed out redundantly, so that if the Life Jacket should fail, then the rescue boat should be immediately at the scene,
or should the rescue boat fail, then the Life Jacket should keep the pilot afloat."

===> A short video of a water landing clinic delving into the problem areas below would be a commendable project. <===
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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:32 pm    Post subject: General Comments on Water Landings, Prologue Reply with quote

Topic 1:

Paragliding General Comments

From Stuart Caruk. - http://www.towmeup.com/
We typically tow up our SIV students. We launch right from the shoreline, drag them up or down the lake, then do a 180 so we
bring them back into the play box 2000 - 3000 high (depends on the maneuvers we plan, and the student) right out in front of the LZ.
This way we get to waste altitude doing maneuvers, rather than maneuvering to make sure they can be in a position to land.

We do SIV training over the water, mostly because it provides SOME measure of security, but really, it's helps to control the variables of the situation.
For example doing SIV over a narrow or very small body of water may be of little benefit if you tow stinking high.
I've seen lots of pilots do maneuvers over the water that are pointless. Not the maneuvers themselves, but the perceived level of security.
The winds were strong enough that if the pilot screwed up with lots of altitude, and had to toss, the odds
were good that they would drift away from the security of the lake, and impact on the ground at any rate.
You REALLY need to ensure that you will comfortably be ALWAYS in a position that you will hit the water.
You MUST account for the potential for wind drift, especially up high.

You might want to touch on bridles. I obviously am biased, since we manufacture and sell thousands of our style a year.
We started making our own simply because the rest of the ones on the market were crap, or rarely available.
Early on we used simple Y bridles. We found that they tended to LOCK the pilot in the harness after a water landing, and
for those pilots who had practiced getting out of their gear in an emergency the bridle was typically forgotten about, and caused issues.

We went to a split style bridle (with the tow assist) as our school bridle.
It doesn't trap pilots in their harness and is suitable for land or water towing.
__________________________

Minimum size and shape of lakes

I'm familiar with the minimum size and shape of lakes required for a safe SIV or Aerobatics course.
Avoid using lakes at the smallest end of what you want to do an SIV clinic in, and then only in light winds.
If it's skinny enough that if you tow someone to 3000' plus and they screw up and toss up high, it's easy to miss the lake coming down
__________________________

From Jeff Hunt:
There should be a rescue boat separate from the tow boat.
Have assistance ready - there are plenty of shows where PG and HG hit the water, assistance readily at hand is vital.
Even with a life jacket, you can get line entanglement issues.

PPG Entanglement Example:



Paragliding, broken url for the time being:


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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:33 pm    Post subject: Paragliding Water Landing Articles Reply with quote

Topic 1a:

Paragliding Water Landing Articles

How-to-land-your-paraglider-in-water

http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=29656

BHPA Pilot Handbook deals with emergencies in flight and Chapter 18 focuses on landing in water.

This section is quoted in a Nov 2007 Water Landing Accident Report published by the BHPA Accident Panel


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:34 pm    Post subject: Best Designed Harnesses for Water Landings Reply with quote

Topic 2:

Are there harness make(s) and model(s) that perform better in water? If not, is this a design issue that could be addressed?
Harnesses that keep the head above water and / or that have quick release buckles.
Should these be promoted to pilots who fly predominately over water?

Ben de Lisle wrote:
Buckles on a harness that are a bit sticky, requiring you to usually have to work to disengage them; are a possible liability in water, especially waves and surf.

Jerome Daoust wrote:
From "Back protector influence" in Water Landing:
12 cm foam: Only small pilots will have difficulty keeping their head above water.
22 cm foam: Difficult to keep your head above water.
Airbag: Nearly impossible to keep your head above water. Unzipping airbag for over water activity is recommended.

Jocky Sanderson. wrote:
All students taking (SIV) courses over water wear lifejackets, and take the (Editor's note: back ???) cushions out of their harnesses (or tape up the intake of the harness's airbag.)




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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:36 pm    Post subject: Life Preservers. Reply with quote

Topic 3:

Life Preservers.

Paragliding Harnesses have closed cell foam and / or Air Bags as back protection.
Without an (inflatable) life jacket the harness will be pushing the pilot's head face first into the water.
Once a pilot is choking after taking in water, they are much less capable of mastering the task at hand.

Article: Lifejacket - a confidence booster?!

Note the very interesting DHV test report on Life Preservers at: http://www.dhv.de/web/en/safety/articles-statistics/lifejacket-test/
http://www.paragliding-academy.com/service/publikationen/wasserlandungen.php

The Plastimo Pilot Inflatable Life Jacket 275N' seemed to be the best performer from the DHV report.

These slim fit (CO2 etc) Inflation Life Jackets are very slim and easy to wear over a harness.
(On top of your harness, or they won't be able to inflate of course.)



Mustang (Inflatable) Life Preservers "own" the world here in Canada.
- Turns out they are reportedly nearly useless - especially for unconscious pilots.

Picture of the Crewsaver Crewfit 150N Inflatable Life Jacket after inflation:



Stuart Caruk wrote:
You can't fly with us using a jerk to inflate style, and having learned the hard way in testing and after my own reserve toss… it's a REALLY bad idea to put an inflatable life preserver under a wind breaker. It turns into a python when it inflates and you can easily suffocate.

Jim Reich wrote:
I prefer students wear regular heavy foam life vests.

Question:
1. Do you recommend External (or internal) to the harness?
- Some recommendations say to wear inflateable Life Jacket inside the harness. Comments?



2. Do you recommend particular makes and models? Do you exclude particular makes and models?

Stuart Caruk wrote:
I have seen more than a few freaked out pilots, but they stop thrashing once we hand them a substantial horsecollar.

The worst case is that you have a harness with a big airbag. It will tend to want to float you upside down, face first in the water.
This is where pilots get screwed up and try to swim or dogpaddle to try to flip over backwards and it freaks them out.
We coach all our pilots to simply roll to the side, and you can breath easilly, and begin to unhook from the harness.
You might end up with lines wrapped around your feet and gear from thrashing, but it's certainly not life threatening and the boat operator will be quickly there to help you out.
More often then not, I know from the boat that the pilot is going to get wet before they do, and I'm close by when they hit the drink.

The rescue boat should be equipped with:
a) Extra life preservers and or floatable cushions sufficient to elevate an unconscious victim's head out of water quickly and effectively.
b) Large floatation boards (Example a surfboard) that an unconscious victim can be secured to, and towed to land on, if and as necessary.
c) A solidly fixed ladder capable of being used by a soaking wet pilot in harness.

Stuart Caruk wrote:
I really like rigid foam life jackets, over inflatables since they are much less likely to malfunction. For our uses, we buy stock generic life preservers and pop out the stitching in the back and front. We remove the flotation from the back of the life jacket and add it to the front, then sew things back up. We end up with the same amount of flotation, but it doesn't force the pilot out of their harness, AND the flotation in the front helps to balance out the harness buoyancy if they end up in the water.

If you end up in the water, many times you will be tossed face down. (Not always, especially if you’re a lightweight pilot… I see lots of pilots go in seated, never get their hair wet, and are sitting happily on their harness like it's a chair ). If you do go in face first, you need to first calm down and force yourself to relax, and then roll onto your side. That's a pretty stable position and you can easily breath while waiting for help.

Jerk to inflate lifejackets are useless. If your unconscious when you hit, how exactly do you expect them to work? If you must wear an inflatable, you should use either the pill style or the hydrostatic style with the pill backup. They work by having a small "Pill" that dissolves in water allowing the firing mechanism to puncture the CO2 cartridge, which inflates the lifejacket. The hydrostatic version requires immersion to a specific depth (depends on the model). Whichever style you choose to use, you should TEST it before you need it. Some hydrostatic models require you to go between 2 and 5 feet underwater before they will activate. You might be one of the lucky pilots that descends very slowly to a very gentle landing…. only to find your life jacket never inflated, because you never immersed it deep enough. Fortunately you can still manually jerk to inflate it (if your conscious). The pill style can also cause you grief when it activates because you wore it in heavy rain, or when you plucked a soggy pilot out of the water. Testing with either device is key. They are simple to rearm, and not terribly expensive to do so. If you choose ANY inflatable style DO NOT wear it under any tight fitting clothes or even a really tight harness. There is a finite amount of space between your body and the jacket. If your inflatable is inside that space when it goes off it will expand with sufficient pressure to make it very difficult to breath. Worse yet, when you exhale, you can't re-inflate your lungs and you'll only be able to take shallow breaths. If the jacket is zippered, you could be in real trouble. Imagine the double whammy of having this happen when your already breathing rapidly after getting dunked…


Are we open to exploring other solutions? Inflatable helmets? http://www.hovding.com/en/how/

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:38 pm    Post subject: Extricating from harness before landing in water Reply with quote

Topic 4. - Updated Dec 22nd 2012

Extricating yourself from a Paragliding Harness in-air.

DHV Safety Article: Altitude judgment over water.

Jerome Daoust discusses extricating yourself from a Paragliding Harness before landing in the water at:
http://www.wallendair.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=35&Itemid=34

James Bradley wrote:
To land in surf I personally would try to jump out from 2-3 meters. I'd rather do almost anything than land in surf.


Stuart Caruk wrote:
Landing in moving water with a paraglider would be my last resort. The odds of survival are very slim, at best.
It's the one time when I would be very likely to jump before impact, even knowing the risks of doing so.
I'd much rather land in the trees, or power lines for that matter.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:42 pm    Post subject: Handling the glider while in the water Reply with quote

Topic 5:

Landing on water / Handling the glider while in the water.

Jocky Sanderson wrote:
We have released a film "Security in flight 2" which illustrated how to land in water. Basically you need to land downwind and let the glider dive so the leading edge touches the water and the air is trapped inside, making the wing float like a airbed, and also makes the lines tight and away from you. then you unclip and let it all go. I can send you a clip. Jocky

Paragliders:
• Lift the glider out of the water trailing edge first.This drains water out of the cells without damaging them.
• Be careful handling a glider with sand or debris in the wing. Tears and damage to ribs has occurred.
• Likewise over stressing can tear the seams on a wing: so handle carefully when the wing is full of water, in surf or waves.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:45 pm    Post subject: Boat Rescue Team Reply with quote

Topic 6:

Boat Rescue Team.



The rescue boat, having adequate horsepower, should be positioned at a safe distance but able to close in on the victim rapidly.
- One minute struggling in water can be unpleasant at best - but notably can be well within the panic time frame of many people.

The boat should be stable and low to the water.
- Ideally with a sinkable transen for the easy recovery of objects in the water that allows a victim to be pulled in horizontally and with minimum time and energy expenditure.



TowMeUp.com is Officially Recognized by the FAI for Payout Winches. http://www.towmeup.com/whats-new-1/towmeupcom-is-officially-recognized-by-the-fai/
Their newest, specially designed Tow Boat is named "Nightmare" = for the power and overwhelming maneuverability it has, in spades.



Alternatively there should be sufficient manpower and equipment (Example: Helicopter Spine Board) to lift a heavy, wet unconscious pilot into the boat.

Stuart Caruk wrote:
I've watched operators drive right up to the panicking pilot and start grabbing at the reserve shroud lines. It seems like a great idea, but it's very difficult to disable the reserve in order to get it to deflate simply by pulling on individual or even a clump of shroud lines. Most often you will get started and make a bit of initial progress, and then have everything ripped from your hands by a wind gust. Ever pull a big full frontal on a windy day and watch the glider reopen with a crack? You'll experience the same result when the reserve bangs back open.

The solution is simple if you know it beforehand. Approach the pilot from downwind, and stop the boat a few feet back from the inflated reserve. Shut off the motor and get out on the bow. Let the reserve blow into you dragging the hapless pilot. If it's a PDA style reserve, reach in and grab the center APEX line and pull it hard. The reserve will invert and deflate. Grab the reserve and pull it down hand over hand into the bow. Kneel on it or have an assistant make sure it won't inflate while you help the pilot out. If it's an old POS reserve with no apex line, let the reserve hit the boat and reach as high as you can and start dragging it down until it deflates. If you happen to find yourself tea bagging as the pilot and the tow boat is nowhere to be found, you need to decide whether to disable the reserve, or ride it out until you hit the downwind shore. If you want to disable it, you need to literally roll over and locate the apex line and pull yourself up it. I'd say maybe 10% of the pilots could accomplish this feat. It takes a LOT of strength. You might find it easier to use your hook knife (you always carry it, right?) to cut the reserve shoulder straps. If you manage to free yourself from the harness, cut away your main canopy, and surf to the shore line, pulling shroud lines to steer… while taking a Go Pro video you could have a show worth watching as well…


Stuart Caruk wrote:
I usually know the pilot is going to toss before they do, and during their descent I grab a horse collar floatable from the bow, that is secured to a throw rope with a small carabiner. This is sitting in my Bow deck area as I'm heading towards the pilot. If the pilot is freaked when they hit, panicked or looking very concerned, I typically pick a clear area between the glider, reserve and lines, and head directly towards the pilot. I have a jet boat with a Hamilton 212 so it's incredibly easy to drift right up to the pilot and stop inches away. No paddling required). I'll shut down the motor and typically reach over the bow and hang onto the pilot while they get unhooked. With someone grabbing them, they calm down quickly, and getting them out of the water is a lot easier.

I'd like to note here that the WRONG technique is to charge into the scene at full throttle, circle the pilot and come back. It might look like you're a hero coming to save the day, but you will make a HUGE wake that is guaranteed to create huge swells that will definitely dunk the pilot as they wash over them. If they weren't panicked before, they probably would be now. Head for the pilot quickly, but throttle back and get off the step far enough back that you don't generate a huge wake close to the pilot.


Stuart Caruk wrote:
I'd bet that VERY few people could get an unconscious pilot from the water into a boat unaided if they hadn't done extensive practice. Even then, they would learn that having an assistant on hand is a very good idea. There are a couple ways to do it. Ultimately I decided to build my boats with a full length swim platform at water level so it's a whole lot simpler. We don't need to get the pilot in the boat, just onto the swim deck to evacuate them.

The boat operator should be a dedicated position with a dedicated radio on the team channel.
When the pilot is not at risk, the boat operator must approach the Paraglider nose first.



They will need to raise the engine transom and propeller out of the water to avoid costly and untimely engine damage from line snarls.
They will likely need to be using a paddle to position the boat properly beside the pilot in the water.
They will also be very much surprized at the quantity of water that a pilot and glider can transfer in as result of a water landing.

The importance of the need for the rescuer to be wearing a life preserver can not be overstressed.
Spare Life Preservers can be used to assist in raising the pilots head out of water.

"Water Landing’ experience from senior instructors provide a some well founded advise:

Stuart Caruk wrote:
Most pilots are remarkably O/K after they hit the water. Once they realize they are alive and intact they respond well to verbal and visual signals. These pilots make my life as a boat operator much easier. I typically only get close enough to throw them the horse collar, and have them stay in all their gear and hang onto the horse collar. I VERY SLOWLY back off them. This pulls them and their harness towards the boat. It also leaves the lines, glider and reserve, neatly as far away from the boat as possible. You can't back off quickly, because the main glider is full of water and you simply can't pull it. If you do, you will damage it, but more likely the pilot will be howling in pain from a line (or two or ten) that is wrapped around their leg, suddenly getting tight and feeling much like a meat slicer, which it will be if you don't back off…

Once the pilot is away from the lines, reserve and canopy, I idle up to them and shut down the motor. I help the pilot out of their harness and give the horse collar to them to hang onto as they swim around to the rear deck of my boat. Before the harness gets any heavier, I'll hoist it into the boat. The reserve comes in next, because it's the easiest, then the glider. The glider MUST come in from the trailing edge first , and slow enough to dump the water out of the cells as it comes in. Last is the lines. Toss the harness on top of the mess so nothing can inflate on the ride back to shore. Keep an eye on the pilot the entire time just in case you misjudged their abilities to get back onto the swim deck unaided. The gear can always be replaced, your first priority should always be the pilot. Once the pilot and gear are aboard, be sure to radio the shore that everything is O/K, and then make a quick search for the Deployment bag before heading back to shore. Odds are if it didn't have a flotation device attached, and be brightly colored you will lose it by now. Which is of course why I like to pick it up on the way to the pilot, and of course why calm pilots typically get all their gear back.

wingover (Andrew Donnison) wrote:
• Do not wear shoes with hooks.
• Remove and discard your helmet
• Remove and discard flight deck and instruments
• If you have time remove your boots and discard
• Unclip your upper chest strap and leg straps (if harness has them)
DO NOT jump out of the harness in to the water, height is difficult to judge also how deep the water is and what is below the surface you cannot see?
• Have your hook knife ready just in case you get tangled in your lines.
• Fly cross wind and just before you touch the water, get your shoulders out of shoulder straps, unclip final waist clip and let the harness and glider drift away.
- If you are "landing" upwind, braking will send it behind you.
• Forget about the glider, it is not important now as saving your life.
• Do not waste precious, precious time and energy calling for help in the first few moments in the water.
- Use that time to focus on getting free from the harness and glider using your own resources if need be.
- Large waves, surf and / or currents are vastly more problematic situations to be in than that of a calm lake.
• Swim toward rescue using the harness as flotation and the glider for visibility.

tojo (Tony Johnston) wrote:
I have been in the water many times, with a life jacket on, with a briefed boat crew ready, and as Jacques said a minute is a VERY long time in the water; even when you know there is a boat coming!

James Bradley wrote:
Drowning is a real possibility. Death from hypothermia is too if the water is cold or you are in long.

I too have gone in the water (under reserve) at an SIV clinic. The back protector in my harness is sewn into a sealed fabric bag, the air in which would provide extra protection in an impact. It's a big fat thing. As Jonas said, it does eventually soak up water [and takes about a year to dry out later] but initially it is incredibly bouyant.

I was wearing an old sailing life vest built for athletic freedom of movement. I was at considerable pains to keep my face above water in this configuration. The effort was high and lines were increasingly wrapping around my legs as I thrashed. And I was in calm water. Fortunately the boat showed up in a minute or less.

Occasionally there are accidents where pilots black out or red out in a spiral and are unconscious when they hit the water.
The ones I have heard of haven't been fatal because there was a boat there very quickly.

With no boat coming a self-inflating life vest might well save your soggy butt. To do tricks over water without boat support, such a vest seems like a smart investment.

When I get one, though, the first thing I will do is put it on, get into my harness, and waste a cartridge to see what happens when it inflates.
You don't want to test that for the first time in a desperate moment in the water.

The action of treading water when surrounded by a Paraglider + reserve means that within seconds you become tangled in the lines.
Usually the wing starts to sink as parts of it fill with water. It can take up to 15 minutes just to get the pilot untangled, this is with the pilot holding onto a boat.

Imagine trying to extricate yourself from 200 meters + of line whilst the wing is slowly filling with water and sinking without anything to hold onto.
A very gentle swell rocks you back and forwards and moves the wing around you, cause more tangles.

If you are hell bent on practicing you would be better looking for a forest to do it over as you would stand more chance of surviving.[/quote]
http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3841

BHPA wrote:

The BHPA Guidelines for SIV Course Information state that there should be a rescue boat with adequate performance and a crew of two that can reach the downed pilot quickly.
They also state that back protection should be removed and that inflatable Life Jackets or buoyancy aids should be worn
Under Pre Flight Training Procedures it states that pilots should be trained and practiced in the procedure of deploying their reserves and how to perform water landings.

I would like to see a further collection of experiences and advice from instructors with water landing experience.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:46 pm    Post subject: Dealing with Tea-Bagging Reply with quote

Topic 7:

Dealing with being Tea-Bagged. by Stuart Caruk:

Windy days on really big lakes aren't perfectly safe either.
There comes a point where the winds get strong enough (about 25 kph / 16 Mph plus) that
the pilot can still have enough control to kite, launch, tow and land. It's all well and good.
Unfortunately if they toss their reserve, they will get "Tea Bagged". (Lifted out of the water, and dipped back in repeatedly.)
If you have ever had to pick up a pilot suffering from the tea bag dunking and don't know
how to quickly resolve the situation, it can get out of hand really fast.

What happens is the pilot comes down under reserve. Typically the main canopy is disabled and hits the water first.
It sticks to the water, and will eventually become somewhat of an anchor.
The pilot hits next, and the reserve stays inflated and moves downwind.
Essentially the pilot is now kiting their reserve which will remain inflated and continue to fly.
Unfortunately it also pulls the pilot from the shoulder straps so it's VERY difficult for the pilot to regain any form of control.
The reserve will eventually move over the pilot and lift them out of the water, then drift downwind (the pilot is anchored by their main canopy, so they can't go far).
The reserve spills air, dunks the pilot, moves overhead, plucks the pilot, drifts downwind, dunks the pilot…. and continues.
If it wasn't life threatening it would actually be quite funny. Most times, the pilot is able to breath just fine since their head remains above the water.

I have seen pilots who thrashed around attempting to disable the reserve, and they get caught up in the reserve bridle or entangled with glider lines around their neck.
This is not at all funny, and you need to take immediate action to stop the tea bagging.

Fred Wilson wrote:
"Tea Bagged" = Lifted out of the water, and dipped back in repeatedly. Right?

That would be it. It comes from the way some people make tea, using a tea bag with a string.
They dunk it in, lift it up, dunk it in…etc. Same thing happens to a pilot. I've seen this happen probably a couple dozen times now.
The first couple times it was funny, and frankly we never knew how to really salvage the situation.

Somewhere one of the pilots ended up with lines around his neck and it was anything but funny.
I had a helper on the boat who was pulling shroud lines to try to disable the reserve.
He couldn't hold it against the force of the still inflated reserve and had to let go.
I shut the boat down and went forward to help and inadvertently grabbed the apex line and pulled.
Problem solved. Pure luck, no skill involved.

This led to some reserve kiting and testing on how to disable the reserve. turns out that pulling the apex line is a good idea.
Pulling a shroud line IF and only IF it will get you to the edge of the canopy is next. It's a lot harder than you might think.

Approaching from downwind is key, since the reserve will naturally paste itself against the boat and knock it about halfway down anyways.
Solo reserves aren't a big problem this way. Tandems… let's just say you'll hope to have 2 people in the boat.
Fortunately tandems usually quit in stronger winds, and the guys flying are more of the skilled acro pilots on tiny gliders type, so they tend not to panic in the first place.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:47 pm    Post subject: Pilot Rescue Reply with quote

Topic 8: Pilot Rescue

Stuart Caruk wrote:
Pilot Rescue / Getting a pilot out of the water…

There are lots of places where just the boat driver is on board. It happens that way on my boat often, unless we're doing intentional reserve tosses, when I always have an assistant on board. Whenever possible, I like to have at least 1 other person in the boat. Consider the following hypothetical scenario. You're the only boat on the lake, outside of cell coverage. The Pilot is doing some acro maneuver and either gets gift wrapped, or loses consciousness in a spiral dive. The hapless pilot pounds into the lake and you're the boat driver and you're immediately on scene when the pilot hits the water. The pilot is lying face down in the water, and is unconscious with an obvious dislocation injury. If you're by yourself, you need to know that you can solidly solve the problem unaided, which may, or may not prove challenging.

If you have an assistant, your options are far greater. You now have the ability to either have you or your passenger go into the water to stabilize the victim. One person can stay while the other can go for help if it's readily available. In a clinic situation it will be easy to have help lined up and ready to go when you hit the shoreline, If you call ahead on the radio. If help isn't available, 2 people will make the extraction far less challenging.

Getting the pilot into the boat is going to be a challenge if you haven't thought it through. Most people just grab a pleasure boat, slap a winch in it and go tow. They give very little thought as to how to get an unconscious, waterlogged individual into a boat. I'll give you a hint… it isn't at all easy. If you operate a towboat and you've never done it, you really need to go try it someday. Lifting a couple hundred pounds or more over the side of the boat is not going to be easy. I designed Nightmare to make this process simple. I built a full width Euro style swim deck that extends across the entire transom of my boat. In normal use it sits 2" above the water line. By idling back slowly I can sink the deck almost 8" under water and it's easy to scoop a pilot onto the deck. I don't have to get them out of the water, since I can simply strap them to the deck and head to shore. That won't help you out if you've got a high sided boat, however. If you've planned ahead, you will know how to use your winch, or have stored in your boat a small block and tackle kit. You can buy them in hunting season for hanging your deer or moose in camp. They cost around $15.

Let's assume you're alone since that's the hardest one to solve. First thing is the pilot needs to breath. You need to get to them and roll them over. If they need CPR you're really going to wish you had an assistant on board. On the plus side, you have lots of line and a drogue to help you. Pull some line out of the winch, along with the drogue. Pass the drogue and towline over the pilot, then back around the pilot, wrapping around them and then going under the pilot and back up out of the water. Attach the apex of the drogue to the cleat closest to your winch's tracking head. You should have the drogue cleated off to the boat, going into the water and under the pilot and the tow line coming up the other side of the pilot going to the tracking head. Unclip the glider and reserve. If you can't unclip the reserve use your hook knife and sever the bridle attaching it to the harness. Fire up the rewind and wind the line it. If it's a TowMeUp.com system, you will be able to get 300 pounds of line tension, which due to the mechanical advantage will roll up to about 600 pounds into the boat. You either get the pilot high enough to roll into the boat, or out of the water far enough that you can head to shore with them. If you have some weeny little electric rewind, you'll need to tie off the towline to your block and tackle. Cleat the other end to a cleat far enough away to allow you to recover the slack and hoist the pilot into the boat. Time is of course of the essence. If you don't think either method will work, you can always rig a towline to a rear cleat on 1 side around the pilots shoulders, and under their back, around the other shoulder and back to the other stern cleat. Add a bit of line wrapped around them to keep their arms down (or stabilize a dislocated shoulder) and slowly tow them to shore. As long as their head stays above water, you should be O/K. If you go too fast, they will act like a submarine. A point below planing speed typically leaves their head above the water. The real point is that you will need to practice the scenario first. I can fairly easily get a 200+ # pilot over the side of many boats as long as they're conscious. An unconscious body is another story. Practice BEFORE you need to use any technique.




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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:48 pm    Post subject: Water Landing Courses Reply with quote

Topic 9:

Water Landing Courses / Practice

1. If you have any old harnesses and gliders kicking around, save them for water landing clinics. Chlorine should be avoided for equipment in active service.
a) Put on your harness, throw a safety line on the carabiner, apply just enough pressure so the harness fits normally and jump in a pool.

The Lower Blue Mountains Club's conservative approach is for the pilots to put the glider into the pool at a depth of water where they could stand up head-above-water (keeping two buddy breather divers in the pool just in case) and declared the pilot "offed" into the deep if he/she had to touch the floor of the pool with their feet.
Caution should be exercised as the design of some harnesses will not permit the pilot to become near vertical in water.
- Noting you can drown after ingesting only one tablespoon of water.

The sight of thousands of bubbles, loose hang straps and a pilot who can’t see anything trying to methodically getting out of his harness is good training.
Experiments with hook knifes found them not to be 100% reliable.
In murky water it may be impossible see a hang glider's hang strap, and it has to be taunt to cut easily.
An emergency suggestion: Use a Hook-knife to cut through the sail to get your head above water.
Use a hook knife with one continuous blade. A Hook-Knife with two blades that meet in the middle can jam with material. Good example: http://www.benchmade.com/products/8
We highly recommend this as a club safety clinic.



David Phillips wrote:
I have noticed an increasing number of pilots (now adhering to the current conventional wisdom of a single steel carabiner) choosing to fly in coastal conditions with the carabiner gate unlocked. The rationale is that this will allow a more rapid escape by unclipping from the Hang Glider after a water landing.

This is a *very* unsafe strategy - and pointless. From experience in water landing practice sessions (and several real ones) we've found that attempting to unclip from a Hang Glider is the most difficult and time consuming way to escape, especially with modern pod harnesses. It is always better to get out of the harness, leaving it attached to the glider.

1. Keep calm at all times - you CAN hold your breath long enough to get out.
2. Get out of the harness - don't waste time by trying to unclip from a harness that can be exited easily. Once out of the harness, you can do what you like, but 9 times out of 10, the glider will either sink or be battered to pulp by the ocean swell - so think of your own safety first.
3. Once out of the harness you still have to clear the glider’s control frame and wires.

2 B cont...


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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:49 pm    Post subject: Inspection of the Glider after water immersion. Reply with quote

Topic 10:

Care and inspection of the Paraglider After Water Immersion / Potential Damage.


For practice sessions in chlorinated water, flyable Gliders should not be used. (If necessary rinse thoroughly in fresh water afterwards.)
Example: Water Training with a basic harness:



Paragliders in water should be handled carefully to avoid damaging Cells.,, etc... etc...

Care after Salt Water immersion, (wash in fresh water) see:
http://books.google.ca/books?id=2PopFBjLZV8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+parachute+manual&redir_esc=y#PPA362,M1

and http://www.paragliding-tales-and-reviews.com/paraglider-fabric.html

2 B cont...


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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:51 pm    Post subject: Powered Paraglider Water Landings Reply with quote

Topic 11:

Powered Paragliders and Water Landings.


See: http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=22918

Jared Leisek



A PPG may sink quickly to the length of the lines, for as long as air trapped in the Paraglider can support the weight.
USPPA Incident Report.

Unfasten leg straps, shoulder straps and the flight deck to extricate yourself.

Practice emergency egress from your harness while safely hanging in a simulator until you can perform full buckle release immediately (within 3 seconds).

The inflatable Agama Water Rescue System has been developed for PPG enthusiasts.



Powered Paragliding - Safety Equipment by Mike Donate.



2 B cont...
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:56 pm    Post subject: Water Landing Experiences Reply with quote

Topic 12:

Paragliding Other Considerations (Reserved.)

Waterproofing a radio:

AquaPac Radio Bags - http://store.aquapac.net/explore-product-range/handheld-vhf-radio-cases.html

Motorola HLN9985 - Universal Waterproof Bag - http://www.123radios.com/BuyItNow.asp?PID=565

Aquapac® Micro Whanganui I-Phone Case - http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=28641

2 B cont...
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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 06:58 pm    Post subject: Contributors Reply with quote

A large round of applause and thanks to this project's Contributors: (Permission to Print)

PG: APPI + Bruce Goldsmith + Craig Geiss + Craig Taylor + David Arrufat (APPI) + Karl Slezak: DHV + Dion Vuk + Fred Gungl + Gaynor Shoeman + Jim Reich + Jocky Sanderson + Tom Clark + Walter Neser +
HG: Jim Rooney + 2 b cont...

Powered Paragliding:
Mike Donate.

Boat Tow Operators, HG and PG:

Ryan McDonald + Stuart Caruk + Ted Ingham http://vimeo.com/1888376 + 2 b cont...

Asked to join the team:

PG: Chris Santacroce = Glenn Derouin + Kevin Lee + Stef Juncker + Rob Sporrer , http://www.sandiegofreeflight.com + Eki Maute + Gary Leach & Paraglide Texas + Chris Geist: + Pete Wallenda = Ralf Reiter + Walter Schrempf + Wilfried Grau + Günter Gerkau + Kai Ehrenfried + 2 b cont...

HG: Chris Boyce + Curt Warren + Gregg Ludwig + Jeff Hunt + Mark Bourbonnais + Scot Trueblood + Tony Armstrong + Tony Barton + 2 b cont...
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Fred Wilson
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:43 am    Post subject: Contributors cont... Reply with quote

Topic 13:

Links to Paragliding Water Landing Experiences and side articles:


http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3841
http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=p133885
http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=8810
http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=48612

2 B cont...


Permission to Print received from:
Karl Slezak re the DHV article and photos, Stuart Caruk, Jerome Daoust, ... + 2 B cont....
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