HPAC Safety Advisory — April 2020

Take five!

So many things happened since the fall of 2019, it seems like your last flight was a century ago. You did the winter stuff, worked hard, day dreamed about great 2019 flying moments, and day dreamed again about your upcoming 2020 flying season. You can’t wait to take to the air. Even if you had the chance to fly a bit during the winter and went south to somewhere warmer, or if you decided to face the cold for a few minutes and took to the air over the snow covered landscape, still you can’t wait to just get up there, it’s been so long. Spring is here, out the gate we go, you can’t wait. Your urge channelizes your attention to simply pull the gear out of winter storage, get with your friends, get up there, and ahhh… what a feeling, in the air, how cool, what a rush… You can’t wait. But wait, maybe you should! Take five!

Invest five minutes before leaving from home. Have a second cup of coffee, look outside, and visualize your flying day. Think about how ready you really are. Yes, yes, equipment is in good shape and inspected, reserve repacked, you’re in a good place mentally… But wait… your reflexes might be rusty, the winds are just a tiny bit stronger than you would like today, you’re not too sure you remember how to get out of the onset of a stall, you can’t fully confirm if your radio battery is recharged sufficiently, you can’t find the warm gloves you normally use for Spring… Stop. Regroup. Don’t rush, and take the extra time to analyze and think. That won’t make you miss the first thermal of the day and even if it does, your first day out will actually be better for it.

And come to think of it, set yourself a safe and decent goal for your first flight. Yes, you broke your flight duration or distance record late last Fall. Or you bought new gear this winter and can’t wait to impress your friends. But there is no need to resume right where you left off last time. Be kind to yourself, and resume slowly. Ensure your first flight is well within your limits, that your flight plan is clear, that your take-off check list is orderly in your head. Fly extra safe and second-guess nothing. Have at least basic emergency gear with you when you fly, starting with reliable means of communications. Ensure that you remain in full control of all phases of flight, and work for a smooth landing on target.

And for the first few flights, keep that same level of extra awareness. Prepare for a great season, a fun season, a safe season. Use unfavourable days, including the reduced flying due to Covid-19, to read up and solidify your sense and understanding of flight safety. Use HPAC references available here (for example the guide on good practices), videos on HPAC youtube channel, or the collection of Scoop.it articles. If you’re a student, ensure you review the good work done and the notes in your training logbook for hang glider pilots or for paraglider pilots and show up to your instructor ready.

Safety starts within your head, it doesn’t happen by accident! Have great and safe flights!

Your HPAC Safety Committee

Suzanne Francoeur
Kaylyn Gervais
Bastien Dufour, HPAC Québec Director, Safety Portfolio

Safety First!

Overview of 2019 Accidents and Incidents

Here are some figures with the HPAC data available for 2019. It should be noted that when the same incident is reported by more than one person it is counted as a single event.

These figures represent only the reports submitted (and in some cases the events for which sufficient first-hand information was available).

Total Reports & Injuries Per Glider Type
Injuries Severity
A table with a short description of the 2019 incidents/accidents is also available at the following link (PDF).

It is noted that in 2019 incidents/accidents occurred outside of Canada and in 4 provinces, which may indicate that several provinces would not have had any incidents, however a number of known events have not been reported to HPAC. It is worth remembering that it is always time to submit a report for a past incident, it will allow us to improve all the data of HPAC and build our collective experience.

The data collected for 2019 is a reminder, among other things, that an incident or accident can happen both locally and outside the country, and to experienced and new pilots alike. Flying is a combination of three things: the pilot, his environment and his equipment. It is by assessing the adequacy of these three dimensions that the pilot has a clear idea of potential hazards, thinks through scenarios and takes all these factors into account when making decisions. To keep in mind when we return to flight after the off season which requires increased vigilance for all pilots.

Certainly, the number of reports we have does not allow statistically significant results to be released.

It is always possible to consult the results of other organizations such as the FFVL and the BHPA. Even though this information comes from elsewhere they are just as useful for working on prevention.




As no progress is possible without the participation of members, reports and the sharing of experiences, we strongly encourage you to contact us with your ideas and concerns. Take the time when renewing your membership to complete your report if you haven’t already done so.

We hope to learn from all our experiences to promote safety for current and future members.

Thank you for your collaboration.