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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby miguel » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:00 pm

TadEareckson wrote:Yeah. His hands are on the basetube all the way down to the surface and stay there while he continues finalling uphill and only come off to go to the downtubes six seconds prior to a touchdown preceded by a rather alarming and unnecessary flare.

So doesn't this support - rather than contradict - what the low time pilots are seeing Tad write?

Now kids, ask yourselves how much worse this guy's landing:



would've been if he had stayed fully prone and zipped up in his pod with both hands on the basetube and the bar held back for most of that clip.


OK let us play it out.

Dude is prone. Makes the same mistakes as the upright pilot. Piles in head first.

I would much rather have some downtubes to hide behind rather than lead with my head.
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby TadEareckson » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:12 pm

1. He wasn't prone when he screwed the pooch that catalyzed the chain of events that concluded with the mushroom cloud. He was virtually fully upright with his left hand about a third the way up the downtube - where it severely limits one's ability to pull in - and LONG before he could have had any possible need to have it there.

miguel - 2011/11/14

If you are erect, you have more roll control than you do when prone. You have less pitch control, but with the so called speed bar, pitch control is adequate.

2. He didn't need more roll control - he needed more pitch control and he wasn't in a very good position to get it or use it. He never met the adequacy specification.

3. He was still pretty upright after he ballooned back up and began his stall through the gradient. Being upright with a hand or two on a downtube or two has never been a real good guarantee that you'll still have a functional brain a few seconds later.

4. I think I can make a pretty good case that the more you deliberately lead with your head while landing the less likely you are crash and involuntarily lead with your head at the worst possible time. I think that video supports that case really well.

5. Ask Zack if he can think of any possible downsides to being behind the downtubes when the glider stops moving.

6. What upright pilot? Somebody specific or just a generic one?
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby TadEareckson » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:47 pm

No, that's not what the report says.

Being that John was still very new to flying in the prone position, I believe that he was likely not shifting his weight, but simply turning his body in the direction he wanted to turn. Because his altitude was nearly eye level for me, it's difficult to judge what his body was doing in the turn. And because the turn was smooth throughout, it would make sense that he was cross controlling the turn. It was also supported by Dan's observations.

That is really bending the facts about what the report says.

Yeah, I don't know how anybody coulda possibly interpreted the report the way I did. Nothing at all like what Shane said.

...a mis-truth, more drivel.

A mis-truth? More drivel? Call it what it was - a DELIBERATE LIE.

The eye witness making the report is a low time, advanced to H-2 ~ ten years ago, with FL & AT only, probably ten years ago also.

Yeah?

bobk - 2011/11/05

That was an excellent description of the accident.

So?

Compare/contrast with the Roy Messing (2009/08/31) report from the pros at Whitewater.

(Isn't the other witness currently a Four?)

...more drivel.

Too much drivel...

Drivel

bobk - 2011/11/12

By the way Tad, I should take this opportunity to thank Sam for continuing to post here despite your continual unwarranted attacks and snipes. Unlike you and I, Sam can go post on the Oz Forum or Hanggliding.org anytime he wants. He doesn't need to put up with your endless drivel here or anywhere else.

Jim Rooney - 2011/08/28

Yeah, I've read that drivel before.
It's a load of s***.

Coming from you guys...
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby miguel » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:58 pm

Tad

The fellow did not fly a good approach. He was too slow and did not realize it. He would have done the same thing prone. It is not hard to pull in and make a good approach when upright.

Seems as though, you pick out a video that appears to illustrate whatever it is that you are railing about. Then you 'create' pilot intent and present it as fact to back the railing up.

Still would rather hide behind the tubes than lead with my head.
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby TadEareckson » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:40 pm

The fellow did not fly a good approach.

Totally.

He was too slow...

Totally.

...and did not realize it.

Hope he realized it after the dust cleared.

It is not hard to pull in and make a good approach when upright.

1. I think it's a pretty safe bet that he didn't pull in as much as he could have.

2. But it's a lot easier to pull in prone, you can pull in a lot more prone, and I'm guessing that you get a lot fewer gliders crashed by people who stay prone into ground effect.

Seems as though, you pick out a video that appears to illustrate whatever it is that you are railing about.

1. Are there people who DON'T pick out videos that appear to illustrate whatever they are railing about? Does the National Wildlife Federation publish calendars with photos of mother Grizzlies ripping the heads off of Boy Scouts?

2. Fine. So you should be able to pick out a video that appears to illustrate that whatever it is that I'm railing about is total crap.

Then you 'create' pilot intent and present it as fact to back the railing up.

Huh? Where did I say anything about intent in either of these videos? Let alone present it as fact?

Still would rather hide behind the tubes than lead with my head.

I'd rather finish up with my head through the tubes but well clear of the ground and keel.
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:36 pm

miguel wrote:The fellow did not fly a good approach. He was too slow and did not realize it. He would have done the same thing prone. It is not hard to pull in and make a good approach when upright.

I believe you're correct on all counts.

Additionally, if you look closely, I believe you'll see that he had his right hand on the base tube. This is a common configuration designed to retain base-tube pitch control.

hard_landing_you_tube.jpeg
hard_landing_you_tube.jpeg (35.61 KiB) Viewed 4724 times

So I think it's an error to attribute this poor landing to being upright and somehow not having enough pitch authority because his hands were on the downtubes (because one of his hands was on the base tube!!). Instead, I think he simply did not fly a good approach as Miguel has said.
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby Bill Cummings » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:46 pm

Donnell Hewett wrote: As can be seen, this sideways force tends to pull the pilot over to the correct side to make the glider turn naturally in the proper direction.
"someone:
Wow. I can't believe he said that. Regardless, we all know gliders tow better from the pilot than just the glider. Why is that? (More later.)

Bill C. reply (BCR): We should all be careful about the context for which the original quote was made. This will keep the intent from expanding credence to unrelated discussions and bolstering an argument that is having trouble standing on its own.

Example:
Manned Kiting
The Basic Handbook of Tow Launched Hang Gliding
Daniel F. Poynter
1974

"The greatest dangers are a rope break or a premature release." - Richard Johnson.
This quote has been put forward by Tad E. and parroted by others to add strength to the strong weaklink theory and was a bad choice in that effort.

Richard Johnson was my tow instructor (Jan 1978)
The type of towing he was referring to was: Pop starts off of the beach, tow rope special ordered from Japan (3/8,” diameter, 2,025 lbs breaking strength), no weak-link, towing bridle hooked only to a stainless steel control frame, climb rates of over 1,000’/min., where a rope break or premature release would put you part way into a uncompleted loop. (In and out of the water so no parachute.) Don’t read any more into his statement than that. It has absolutely no correlation to any of the kind of towing that is being done now days. Richard was not a soothsayer looking into the future and seeing the coming of weaklinks, bridles made of anything less than one ton capacity, and coming off of a dolly behind an aero tug.
For we pilots that knew what Richard was talking about it actually sounds to me like, the clock has just struck 13. Which calls into question all previous information and casts serious doubt on any information to come. I see it as a quote that is misplaced which actually weakens an position. Green spot or two “G” weaklinks being right or wrong is not the point of this post. Only the possible misuse of quotes to back up a position is the point of this post.

Getting back to the Donnell Hewett quote:
“As can be seen, this sideways force tends to pull the pilot over to the correct side to make the glider turn naturally in the proper direction.”

As a tow pilot I know that gliders designed with a tendency toward roll instability for ease of turning and when towing will lock out at the first opportunity.

A Fire Fly 2B, on the other hand, in laminar air, will climb up and rope soar for an hour with no bar input from the pilot at all.

I watched Gene Stone rope soar backwards, taking pictures down wind while the snow machine was stopped on the ice. As the wind direction shifted the Fire Fly 2B with the Hewitt bridle would not only tend to pull the pilot over to the correct side ---it would actually do it all without any pilot input from Gene.
The Hewett quote can be wrong and it can be right. Did author, Dan, take him out of context?

We should not hold a quote to too high of a standard.
Notice lately that some quotes are no longer hooked to a reference?

Whether we are dune launching in laminar air Oceanside with a tight hang strap or inland cliff launching during a thermal day with a tight hang strap one quote covering one set of circumstances could mislead an up and coming pilot and cause that pilot a great disservice.

I’ve fallen victim to that also: (Example)
2. And thus many of us consider it moronic to go to vertical before entering ground effect.
BCR: AGREED. (ALL THOUGH I WOULDN’T SAY MORONIC.)
I should have said not to go vertical with too much speed in ground effect.

While holding in and switching hands there is a good chance your weight will shift and the nose go up. I don’t see anything wrong with one hand up and the other on the base tube before entering ground effect. Of course there are degrees to how much control this will yield.


2. But it's a lot easier to pull in prone, you can pull in a lot more prone, and I'm guessing that you get a lot fewer gliders crashed by people who stay prone into ground effect.

a) prone pilot can go faster than an upright pilot; and
(BCR: Agreed.)

b) faster glider has more control authority than a slower glider.

Any disagreement with either of those? Anybody?
BCR: Agreed---but don’t forget PIO at high speed.


Because he didn't shift his weight (we're speculating).
BCR: Maybe he did but the inside tip was stalled and he was not pulled ahead far enough even though he may have been over toward the high wing. (Who knows?)
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby TadEareckson » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:34 am

Additionally, if you look closely, I believe you'll see that he had his right hand on the base tube.

Which is why I said:

He was virtually fully upright with his left hand about a third the way up the downtube...

This is a common configuration designed to retain base-tube pitch control.

It doesn't. If a hand is on a downtube it greatly limits the range the pilot can pull in. That's why:

Jim Rooney - 2011/06/12

Most common HG injury... spiral fracture of the humerus.

And, now that I think of it, THAT'S what limits your pitch/speed range - not basetube contact. You can pivot a little if necessary to move the bar back.

If he pulls in as much as possible with both hands he'll do a wingover.

The advantage to having one up and one down is that the pilot can almost instantly shift back to the basetube should that become necessary and it greatly facilitates a quick transition to upright.

So I think it's an error to attribute this poor landing to being upright and somehow not having enough pitch authority because his hands were on the downtubes...

I don't.

...(because one of his hands was on the base tube!!).

Irrelevant.

Instead, I think he simply did not fly a good approach as Miguel has said.

He - obviously - didn't. However miguel ALSO said:

He would have done the same thing prone.

And that's FAR from a valid assumption - let alone statement.

It's easier and more comfortable to fly fast prone than it is upright therefore - while it may be quite POSSIBLE for people to maintain ADEQUATE speed through approach and landing in ALMOST all circumstances upright - you should expect to see more stalls from uprighters than proners.

And I'd predict that if I hopped in my time machine and beamed up to launch, that guy would've had an uneventful landing if I had said nothing more than, "I've got fifty bucks that say you can't land that thing on the wheels."

Also note that, likewise, since it's easier and more comfortable to unhook from the glider to get your cell phone from the stump in the setup area than it is to climb out of and back into your harness, when you're dealing with actual humans you WILL predispose a lot of them to failure to hook in disasters by trying to impose the Aussie Method on everyone.
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby TadEareckson » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:05 pm

"someone:...

Zack.

We should all be careful about the context for which the original quote was made.

Doesn't need any context. It's self standing - and it's wrong.

This quote has been put forward by Tad E. and parroted by others...

1. People who put forward that quote aren't "parroting" ANYTHING. It's freakin' ten year old kid common sense stuff and applies across the board from hang gliding:

Dave Broyles - 1990/11

I talked to a lot of pilots at Hobbs, and the consensus was that in the course of Eric Aasletten's accident, had a weak link break occurred instead of the manual or auto release that apparently did occur, the outcome would have been the same.

to sailplaning:

Bill Daniels - 2006/09/18

I would like to add, however, that at least my reading of accident reports suggest that a fatal glider accident is more likely when the towline fails prematurely. For that reason, I like to stay near the stronger end of the FAR 80-200% range.

Associated Press - 2011/07/17
Hollywood, Maryland

Maryland State Police are identifying a man killed when a glider crashed into trees near Saint Mary's County Regional Airport in southern Maryland.

Police announced Sunday that 55-year-old James Michael Dayton of Mechanicsville was killed Friday when the glider he was riding in crashed into trees near the airport in Hollywood.

Authorities say the pilot was 53-year-old Nicholas John Mirales of Prince Frederick. Mirales was in critical condition when he was flown from the crash scene.

A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman says the Slingsby 49B glider crashed shortly after takeoff when it became disconnected from its towing plane. The NTSB is expected to release a preliminary report of the accident within ten days of the crash.

through really especially to paragliding:

Aart de Wachter - 2009/12/01

In The Netherlands only static winches are used. Every now and then the cable brakes. This is no problem when you're 50 meters high, but below that a cable or weak link break can be disastrous. The worst we had was somebody breaking his neck after a cable failure at 20 meters.

Kliber Pereira - 2010/02/17

The accident was produced by a Home-Made towing device, its seems that the towing line used (yellow nylon rope) breaked at the launching phase, producing a big surge at low, but fatal altitude. Peace to his soul...

2. Parrots don't actually "parrot" stuff. The more I see and hear of them the more I'm impressed with their intelligence. With hang gliding people it's the precise opposite.

...the strong weaklink theory...

1. Which is what?

2. What's the light weak link theory?

3. How come there are no strong and light weak link theories in sailplaning and everybody just uses what the manufacturer specifies for the model (the middle of the FAA legal range)?

The type of towing he was referring to was: Pop starts off of the beach...

You mean like...

Bill and Terry Cummings - 1983/08
Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota

Our 14 ft tri hull boat with 85 hp Johnson is slow to get on plane so Gene held the winch in the free wheel position until Terry got the wind meter on the boat to read between 20 and 25 mph. When it looked like about 140 ft to 500 ft had been reeled out, I shook the sail to signal Gene to release the handle and let the winch go into its pretensioned mode of 150 lbs. The 400 ft of rope allowed enough stretch to keep the starting inertia of the reel from breaking the weak link.

Three steps and I was off the beach.

...that?

You mean like what happens when an aerotowed glider comes off the dolly or a truck towed glider comes off the platform?

...tow rope special ordered from Japan (3/8," diameter, 2,025 lbs breaking strength)...

A whopping one and a quarter percent over the two thousand pound spectra between all Dragonflies and the gliders behind them?

...no weak-link...

Like the ones Lookout doesn't use for all of their flights on all their tandem gliders?

...climb rates of over 1,000'/min., where a rope break or premature release would put you part way into a uncompleted loop.

You mean like this...

Peter Birren - 2008/10/27

Imagine if you will, just coming off the cart and center punching a thermal which takes you instantly straight up while the tug is still on the ground. Know what happens? VERY high towline forces and an over-the-top lockout. You'll have both hands on the basetube pulling it well past your knees but the glider doesn't come down and still the weaklink doesn't break (.8G). So you pull whatever release you have but the one hand still on the basetube isn't enough to hold the nose down and you pop up and over into an unplanned semi-loop. Been there, done that... at maybe 200 feet agl.

...one?

Or back into the runway like these...

1990/07/05
Eric Aasletten
24
Intermediate
2-3 years
UP Axis
platform tow
Hobbs, New Mexico

Reasonably proficient intermediate with over a year of platform tow experience was launching during tow meet. Home-made ATOL copy with winch on the front of the truck. Immediately after launch, the glider pitched up sharply with nose very high. Apparently the angle caused an "auto release" of the towline from the pilot, who completed a hammerhead stall and dove into the ground. Observer felt that a dust devil, invisible on the runway, contributed or caused the relatively radical nose-up attitude. Also of concern was the presumed auto release which, if it had not occurred, might have prevented the accident. Severe head injury with unsuccessful CPR.

2005/09/03
Arlan Birkett / Jeremiah Thompson
North Wing T2
Hang Glide Chicago
Cushing Field
Sheridan, Illinois

Mike Van Kuiken

I watched the glider come almost straight down from about 250 feet. I saw that Jeremiah was doing the take off right from the start and I watched him get pretty low on the tow as the tug crossed the road at the end of the runway. I looked down for a few seconds and when I looked back up, they were released, and going into what looked like a whip stall. After the wing dropped they were in an almost straight down nose dive and they couldn't pull out.

The weak link broke from the tow plane, I'm guessing from the increasing pressure from being that low on the tug. My personal opinion is that the glider was just being pulled through the air in a stalled position and they were trying to push out to get back into position behind the tow plane which slowed them down even more, the weak link broke, they didn't have enough airspeed to fly safely yet, and then a whip stall. The glider basically fell on the towline.

...two?

Don't read any more into his statement than that.

How much more do you NEED to read into it?

It has absolutely no correlation to any of the kind of towing that is being done now days.

None whatsoever. Hang gliding was declared permanently exempt from Newtonian physics by international consensus in 1982. How wonderful it is to participate in the only branch of aviation in which the pilot's belief system supersedes reality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR_4jKLqrus

Jim Rooney - 2011/09/02

Please note that the weaklink *saved* her ass. She still piled into the earth despite the weaklink helping her...

Pay no attention to that glider behind the curtain.

Richard was not a soothsayer looking into the future and seeing the coming of weaklinks...

Mike Lake - 2011/06/18

Any tow flight takeoff, where you are teetering on the edge of losing the line, without warning, during this most critical time and while at this most abnormal glider attitude, has the potential to kill or hurt you. Unlike a crash, a lockout, or all the other random examples people give for a weak weaklink being better for you, YOU SUBJECT YOURSELF TO THIS RISK EVERY TIME YOU TAKE OFF.

The fact that this risk is PUT THERE BY DESIGN I find almost unbelievable.

In the future pilots will look back at this era and wonder why we were all so blind when it comes to weaklink values, just as we now look back and wonder why we ever flew without tip sticks or other dive recovery devices.

He probably didn't think anybody would ever be that stupid.

...bridles made of anything less than one ton capacity...

Like the 2500 pound jobs I dropped in the mail for Zack on Saturday?

...and coming off of a dolly behind an aero tug.

Shane Nestle - 2010/09/17

So far I've only had negative experiences with weak links. One broke while aerotowing just as I was coming off the cart. Flared immediately and put my feet down only to find the cart still directly below me. My leg went through the two front parallel bars forcing me to let the glider drop onto the control frame in order to prevent my leg from being snapped.

Keith Skiles - 2011/06/02

I witnessed the one at Lookout. It was pretty ugly. Low angle of attack, too much speed and flew off the cart like a rocket until the weak link broke, she stalled and it turned back towards the ground.

For we pilots that knew what Richard was talking about it actually sounds to me like, the clock has just struck 13.

Run the bridle to me instead of the control frame and I'll take Richard and Dan and Manned Kiting over Dennis and Bill and Towing Aloft any day of the week.

Only the possible misuse of quotes to back up a position is the point of this post.

I totally stand by any quotes I've used to support me and Sir Isaac and I defy anyone to make a case otherwise.

I watched Gene Stone rope soar backwards...

He may be flying a nice, well tuned, stable glider with a fair amount of sweep and not having to do much but I one hundred percent guarantee you that he is NOT being auto corrected by a Hewett - or any other kind of - bridle. His Firefly 2B was no more lockout proof than any other hang glider.

Hang glider towing is INHERENTLY roll unstable - if he's turned away from the towline such that he's pulled sideways towards a wingtip the glider WILL react by rolling the other way.

Yaw stability - yes. If you're pulled sideways and YOU hold the glider level it will point back towards what's towing it. It's amazing how much crosswind you can get away with on a dolly launched aerotow.

But roll...

John Woiwode - 2005/07/07

At about 30', I drifted lightly to the right with a soft south push. It was a gentle deviation, so I applied a correction that stopped the right drift and eventually brought me back in line with the trailer. I was still climbing ok as the line paid out. It was at this time, lined up square with the road and climbing slowly, that I felt a distinct pull on the glider from the tow line, and a rapid acceleration. My fleeting thought at that moment was that I was ok for a bit because the glider was straight and in line with the tow vehicle. I noted that I was catching up to the vehicle/trailer.

The next fractions of seconds happened in a blur...

And a much milder version of the same thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilD-0Mw_9qg

(Note the windsock and streamer on the truck.)

The Hewett quote can be wrong and it can be right. Did author, Dan, take him out of context?

1. The author, Dan, did not publish that quote. The author, Dan, published in 1974. The author, Donnell, didn't publish anything on towing until 1981/05.

2. The Hewett quote is properly attributed.

Tad Eareckson - 2011/11/13

On Page 5 of the 1982/09 edition of his Skyting newsletter...

In addition to the above mentioned roll and yaw tendencies, there is some sideways force on the pilot due to the body line. This is illustrated below:

PILOT WEIGHT SHIFT
Back View

As can be seen, this sideways force tends to pull the pilot over to the correct side to make the glider turn naturally in the proper direction.

And if you think it's taken out of context I'll be happy to send you the transcription and/or scans.

We should not hold a quote to too high of a standard.

We bloody well should when for the past thirty years we've been basing hang and para glider towing practices, equipment, standards, instruction, and regulations on the theory it's supporting - GLOBALLY.

Notice lately that some quotes are no longer hooked to a reference?

1. I figure that anybody who's been reading me has seen some of these quotes so many times that they don't need the bandwidth wasted with the attributions.

2. One shouldn't have much trouble finding the attributions using a search within the forum.

3. Or I'll be more than happy to provide the attribution if you lemme know what you're suspicious about.

4. But if it's something off the scale moronic Jim Rooney is a pretty safe bet.

5. I'd really like to know the source for THIS:

bobk - 2011/11/13

Look, I'm not just relying on my opinion here. I've asked some of the experts and they have advised me that performing a "lift-and-tug" in difficult conditions can introduce significant risk to the pilot's safety.

Whether we are dune launching in laminar air Oceanside with a tight hang strap or inland cliff launching during a thermal day with a tight hang strap one quote covering one set of circumstances could mislead an up and coming pilot and cause that pilot a great disservice.

More than something like any of these?

Cragin Shelton - 2005/09/17

You are not hooked in until after the hang check.

Rick Masters - 2011/10/19

At that moment, I would banish all concern about launching unhooked. I had taken care of it. It was done. It was out of my mind.

Sam Kellner - 2011/11/07

Preflight, Hangcheck, Know you're hooked in.

While holding in and switching hands there is a good chance your weight will shift and the nose go up.

But if you're skimming in ground effect and wait until the glider slows to trim there's no chance whatsoever of your weight shifting and the nose going up when you switch your hands - unless you get hit by something.

I don't see anything wrong with one hand up and the other on the base tube before entering ground effect.

If you're planning on landing on your feet it's hard to do much better than that.

Of course there are degrees to how much control this will yield.

1. Like I said, from that position it's virtually zero time and hassle to go back down to prone and get all the control you could ask for.

2. If you delay going to a downtube until you're skimming you probably won't be needing to stuff the bar to your knees anyway.

Agreed---but don't forget PIO at high speed.

No, I didn't mean go totally nuts.

Maybe he did but the inside tip was stalled and he was not pulled ahead far enough even though he may have been over toward the high wing. (Who knows?)

...he smoothly flew away from the hill as he assumed the prone position. There were no pitch or roll problems at all as he continued straight out at trim speed away from the hill and kicked his feet into the harness.

He was doing fine in easy conditions and he turned back around and slammed into the mountain. He wasn't ready to be there.
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Re: Fatal hang gliding accident

Postby SamKellner » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:20 pm

TadEareckson wrote:[He wasn't ready to be there.


Drivel :?: NOT :!:
Southwest Texas Hang Gliders
US Hawks Hang Gliding Assn.
Chapter #4
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