HPAC Safety Advisory — August 2018 #2

Notice to tandem pilots and instructors regarding a recent very close call with a tandem passengerAn accident occurred this July during a tandem flight. At the time of take-off, one of the carabiners of the passenger harness was detached, with the result that the passenger was suspended from one side upside down. When the tandem pilot interrupted his flight, the passenger violently struck the mountain, lost consciousness and suffered a concussion.This serious accident could easily have ended with an even more tragic event.

The Safety committee wishes to remind all tandem pilots to diligently follow the Pre-Flight Safety Protocol for Tandem Flights SOP 431 and more specifically Part 2 about the Critical Pre-Launch Checklist (CPC).

Remember that following the fatal accident in 2012, when a tandem hang glider took off while the passenger was not hooked in, the HPAC set up a pre-flight protocol that must be used by all tandem pilots  https://hpac.ca/files/sop/431-0_en.pdf.

Part 2 specifies that after making his/her pre-flight preparations and checks, the tandem pilot must conduct a final check with the passenger, using the checklist.

This checklist must be available with the tandem flight gear and must be used in interaction with the passenger. It allows a moment of quiet with the passenger and breaks the routine.

The checks must be positive checks, for example the check of the locking of the carabiners must be done by making a real attempt to open them.

Ensure also that your tandem gear is in the best condition possible and operating according to manufacturer guidelines for safe use.

To assist in its application, earlier this year the HPAC provided all tandem instructor pilots with a laminated copy of this checklist. Please note that tandem pilots can create and use their own customized CPC, provided the standard pre-flight safety points above are included.

We invite you to reread the protocol, use it and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

Be vigilant and have good and safe flights.

HPAC Safety Committee
Suzanne Francoeur, Tyler Gillie (Co-Chairs)