Meeting via conference call June 9, 2021

BMF BOD Meeting Minutes 9 Jun 2021

Members Present: Steve Arnold Aaron Hartsfield Robert Simpson Reggie Koch Dave Shaw Scott Scallion

Priority Items do discuss at this meeting: Robert: Had has stepped down as Safety Officer. We need a replacement. Robert: Jacob Ellis incident (Text of his statement is pasted at the end of this document) Steve: SOP - Let’s discuss.

Robert began by reiterating that Had has stepped down as safety officer. Robert would like someone else to take care of the RRRG paperwork. Robert then highlighted that the Jacob Ellis incident was bad, but could have been a lot worse, and we need to discuss how to mitigate that risk.

There was much discussion about what went wrong with Jacob. Robert said that he had met with Jacob and pointed out the mistakes that Jacob had made. Jacob acknowledged those mistakes and also acknowledged that he had not read the site guide in advance. The group agreed that it is very unlikely that the club would be held liable for Jacob’s incident as Jacob made so many safety mistakes. But the question remains: What can/should we do to prevent such incidents in the future? This question went mostly unanswered as there was so much pilot error in this case.

Steve proposed that we solicit volunteers for a safety officer position. Scott objected to that course of action. Robert stated that there is no urgent need to replace Had. He suggested that we could wait until the next slate of officers in January. Robert’s main concern is that he DOES NOT want to be the point of contact for RRRG renewal. The group agreed to wait until a new safety officer is elected in January and that person will handle the insurance renewal.

Aaron Hartsfield volunteered to handle all RRRG paperwork, as long as Robert will help him. Robert agreed to this (and Robert was very happy about this!)

Robert brought up the issue of the SOP. He expressed a need for a historical document that preserves the pathway we followed to get to certain decisions. Discussion ensued and Steve questioned whether we need this additional document. Steve suggested that the minutes of these meetings serve as a good history. Steve also offered to copy/paste topics from our Facebook page into future minutes in order to preserve those comments. The group agreed to this course of action.

Steve mentioned that we need to meet in person in July, perhaps over the July 4th holiday weekend. Steve also pointed out that that July meeting would be a good time to begin planning for the 2022 Fly In.

Robert emphasized that someone needs to make sure the plaque from Pam’s is updated and presented to Sebastien. Robert agreed to follow up with Had on this, as Had had previously agreed to do it.

Here is Roy’s interview of Jacob Ellis (posted by Had) Pilot: Jacob Ellis USHPA #: 101387 Glider: Wills Wing Falcon 2, 170 Equipment: (Radio, cell, gps, vario, altimeter, helmet, harness, parachute, other) Al items except, no radio, and didn’t take instruments with him this time. Rating (level, special skills, date, where, who): Active H2 FL CL FSL issued 10/25/2018 at Lookout Experience: (sites, flights, airtime, conditions, flights this year, flights this site) No logbook. After getting H2 rating, came back and flew Buffalo a lot, then military move out to California, flew a lot out there many sites & conditions, some even with small landing fields. Feels like he had plenty of experience, feels embarrassed to have had this accident. Flights this year? Maybe 4 or 5, all ground tow. Date of accident/incident: 5/31/2021 Time of launch: About 5 pm Site, launch name: Buffalo, Middle Cliff (off the left side, cliff, not the dirt ramp) At the time he thought it was the “west launch”. Conditions on launch: (wind direction, strength, gusts, sky, etc) Perfect, straight in, 12-15. Overcast, smooth air. State of mind: No problems Who assisted with launch? Wife and 8 year old son. Put glider together tail into wind, then to rotate into the wind, wife held tail, son held right flying wire, rotated 180, then wife switched to left side while son still on the right, going up to launch, wind smooth, “clear”, launched. How did launch go?: No problems, smooth air, flew out to headwall before putting legs into harness, turned right to fly along ridge. Length of time in air before accident: Guesses about 10 min. Any change in conditions up to accident?: Possible turbulence, rotor? (his perception) Other contributing factors? None mentioned Description of accident: Flew along the ridge to the west at slightly better than trim speed, position was slightly in front of the headwall, reached a point some distance past being in line with the LZ, then initiated a left 180 to head back the direction of launch, guessing at around 100 ft above trees, glider did not respond to right weight shift to exit the turn, left wing dipped, immediately pulled in to gain airspeed, just as wings got level and he began right turn, left wing caught trees, a blur from there on, but he guesses he spun in. Doesn’t remember if his body hit the ground, didn’t hurt anywhere, but glider was on the ground with bent downtube. Any witnesses on launch or of accident? No one else on site except wife and son. Injuries? Damage? No injuries, glider had bent downtube, punctured sail. What information did you use for the site before flight? For weather/conditions? I didn’t ask this since our site is currently in a state of flux. (see my notes on pg 2) Notes: H2 pilot did not have H3 guidance per rules, although rules have been in a state of flux and in our previous website this rule was inadvertently hidden behind a link that wasn’t obvious. Another rule that USHPA asks is to have only USHPA members assist with launch. Although I don’t think non-adherence to either of these rules contributed in any way to the accident. H2 pilot launched the middle cliff which requires H4 rating (in the process of changing to H3, waiting for BOD approval). Apparently confused thinking it was the west launch which is rated H2. Not sure if he had viewed the new website info or the old, or neither, but either way we may need a sign maybe attached to the tree that names the launch and the extra rating required. But again, this did not contribute to this accident. The accident appears to have been caused by a stalled inside wing. It’s possible it could have been turbulence induced but not likely. It sounds more like, even though he was above trim speed when initiating the turn, he did not keep sufficient speed in the turn and was surprised when it did not respond to right weight shift to exit the turn. He correctly pulled in to regain airspeed but did not have sufficient altitude to miss the trees. A few years ago we had a H3 pilot that didn’t fly very often make a similar mistake, but his impact with the trees was hard enough he required flight to hospital and did not regain memory of his flight. He did have a gps track of his flight, and after examining it in detail, it appeared he had entered a turn that then became a diving turn. Most likely he stalled the turn, the nose dropped, he pushed out due to the nose drop, which kept the inside wing stalled and glider nose down into the trees. So, this pilot made the proper recovery actions to regain control of the glider, but didn’t have enough altitude for a complete recovery. The take away is when near anything at all, keep extra airspeed throughout all maneuvers, it can take a lot of room to recover from an unexpected stall. Does the USHPA have a standard form that prompts the typical questions to ask when interviewing a pilot (and/or witnesses)? Not finding one on USHPA’s website, I made up this form before calling the pilot. Interviewer: Roy Mahoney #18066 (interview taken 24 hours after the accident)

Monday morning, (memorial Day) I'm standing on the edge of the center Cliff launch checking for wind speeds and direction with my digital anemometer. I'm showing 10 to 12mph straight down the middle with no gusts and no cross breeze. I stepped back from the edge about 25 to 30 yards and start building my wing with my wife and two kids. It takes just a little longer because they're all wanting to help. We finally get it all put together and do a walk around safety check. I go to the edge one last time to make sure nothing has changed with the winds. Everything looks absolutely wonderful and I get suited up. My wife and son help me twist my wing into the wind making sure my wings are staying level and walk closer to the edge. I have a successful launch though my nose was a little high and get away from the mountain. After a good ways out I climb it to my harness and start soaring West towards the LZ. It was a wonderful but short flight and I decided to start heading towards the landing zone. My landing was great and the winds in the landing zone were showing about 4 mph with very minimal cross. I made two more flights that morning before the sprinkles started coming down and we decided to take a break and go for a little fishing trip to see if the rains would subside. Later that evening around 5:00pm we decide it's been long enough since the last raindrop hit and go for one more flight. Everything went just as planned like all the morning flights and the winds were showing exactly as they were that morning. I get to the edge check the winds one last time and decide it's good to go. Another successful launch and a way I am off towards the landing zone. I make a right hand turn flying towards Ron's house and find a little bit of lift just past his house. I start a left hand turn away from the mountain 180° to come back and try and find that lift. In hindsight I should have done two sets of 90s to get a little farther away from the mountain as I believe this was the contributing factor to being pushed into the trees. I made my 180 turn and when tried to straighten out the glider kept turning left. By the time I was able to start getting the glider back under MY control to come back to the right to head down the mountain my crossbar hit the first treetop and killed any speed I had causing me to spend into the treetops and land on the ground. By the grace of the big guy upstairs I was able to make it all the way to the ground completely unscathed, not a single scratch or bruise or anything. I wiggle my toes, wiggle my fingers and start to look around to quickly assess what damage might have been done. I quickly realized that I didn't plan to fail but severely failed to plan as my wife had no idea who to contact, how to help or how to reach me. Normally I believe you should stay with the crash and wait for help to arrive as most injuries are caused by trying to do it all yourself but in this scenario I thought it best to try and make it to the landing zone as I believed I could do it before my wife was able to drive there. I made it down the mountain as fast as I could following the stream and inadvertently ended up two properties over to the east or a man by the name of Dustin helped me out and gave me a lift back to The landing zone just in time to see my wife pulling in after driving around looking for me. After some hugs and a good scolding and I told you so's from the wife we went and ate dinner and talked about what to do next.