Gliding Accients in 2016 - Improvements everywhere except Loss of Control

The British Gliding Association has issued its 2016 Accident Review and as regards Stall/spin (Loss of Control]) there is a strong similarity between the gliding community’s experience and that of the fixed wing power community. 

“There has been an average of just over one fatality per year at BGA clubs in the nine years since 2008. This is a dramatic reduction from the average of more than 5 fatalities per year from 1974-2007. The reduction stems from fewer winch accidents, successful baling out after collision, and fewer serious accidents in other categories. Inadvertent spins, however, have continued.” 

“The stall/spin accidents in 2016 were: 

* First take off in Silent 2, climb gradually steepened until the aircraft stalled

* Distracted by possible lift, stalled on approach to field landing

* Pilot spun, recovered very low, and stalled at 20 ft from a slow approach

* Flying close to the slope below the crest of a ridge, stalled and sank on to a plateau

* 4 stalled landings at heights of 7ft to 15 ft.” 

“The 6 substantial damage accidents rate is similar to the annual average in the past 10 years and from 1974 - 2004. Stall/spin accidents remorselessly continue in spite of repeated exhortation to Fly the Glider as the first priority regardless of the circumstances.  

In the last 20 years, pilots with more than 20 hours as P1 accounted for 90% of stall/spin accidents with substantial damage. The accidents took place in circumstances of high workload and/or distraction. Nearly half of the accidents were while field landing, especially in strong winds.  

These accidents are occurring to proficient pilots who have momentarily ceased to give priority to flying the glider. This may only have been for a few seconds, and the lapse may be the first in decades of accident free flying. Survivors accounts speak of the spin being completely unexpected. They were surprised when pulling the stick back failed to raise the nose. These pilots knew how to fly. They were presumably in shock and reacted intuitively.”