Thursday, May 11th, 2023 at 11:41 pm #13494John DeRosaParticipant
Today we completely mowed the entire runway and taxiway. Many thanks to helpers Jeff Moran and Greg Tomczyk. It looks great!
Sure, we mow the grass for looks but also for also for safety. WHAT? HOW THE HECK CAN GRASS BE UNSAFE? YES, tall grass on a gliderport’s runway can be dangerous and unsafe.
During a launch if you drop a wingtip into tall grass, that wing will be held back and the fuselage will rotate towards that wing. At the same time the tow plane is still pulling the glider forward which can accelerate this rotation. This can very quickly get out of hand. An accident years ago at Sky Soaring was caused by exactly this and the pilot ending up in the hospital with the glider destroyed (DG-101).
This is why we teach that if you drop a wing you should IMMEDIATELY release the tow rope. We can always pull you back to the launch position. Never trade convenience (completing the launch) for safety.
The vast majority of gliders have low wing aircraft so the wing tip is close to the turf. The 2-33 with its high wing and wing tip wheels can give you a false sense of security. Ditto for a nose hook that will tend to pull you back straight down the runway. You should learn to treat all gliders just like a slick low wing glider with a CG hook because this is what you could eventually fly.
– Start the launch pointed straight down the runway
– Keep the wings level with the wing runner’s help
– Keep you hand near (not on) the release knob and poised to pull if needed
RELEASING THE GLIDER IS OK. No one should complain if you do that to be safe. Let me know if anyone does.
Thanks, John DeRosa (non-CFIG)
PS Here is a link to a video showing a glider launching in tall grass with terrible results.
To be fair this is a winch launch into VERY tall grass with a poor wing runner. But the SSI accident I talked about earlier looked JUST LIKE THIS. And the results where the same -> hospital and glider toast.
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