Experienced Vs. Safety
How Safety relates to Experience
When experience adds skill it gives you greater control margins and
the potential for greater safety. You can either spend that
margin on flying more often, in a wider variety of conditions, or spend
it on safety—flying in the same conditions but with wider margins.
Safety is related to margins—reducing margins reduces
safety. Launching/landing a 12 mph wind for many pilots is easy but some
will struggle. Launching/landing in an 15 mph wind for many is a near
guarantee of injury but for a few it's quite manageable. You must be
careful about how you get the skill, though, lest the learning be risky.
That's where good instruction comes in.
The increased skill won't make you safer if its squandered by
accepting rowdier conditions. Handling broader conditions may be your
goal but don't be fooled into thinking you're safer. An an experienced
pilot flying in worse conditions is no safer (and may be at more risk)
than a less experienced pilot in mellower conditions.
An experienced pilot who accepts higher risks is no
safer than the neophyte who climbs up to 200+ feet from a wide open
field and only flies in benign weather. Yes, the newbie can get
surprised by weather but that's extremely rare for someone who pays
minimal attention to forecasts.
I know of only two PPG fatalities related to weather. One was a new
and barely trained pilot who took on late morning's tumult. Only one
non-flyer saw it and she reported that the pilot was "fighting it."
Sounds like excessive hand movements—in all likelihood, he was over
controlling. The other fatality launched in conditions that were already
bad—far more experienced pilots didn't want to fly.
High Time Pilot Seriously Hurt
Gabe Jeb seriously hurt at free-flight site, Feb 19, 2007
Sunday afternoon, Feb 18, well
known Torrey Pines instructor Gabe Jeb was injured while soaring at a
popular hill near San Diego. He had brought a group of students to Otay
Mesa in southern California. Conditions were reported to be moderately
windy with light thermic activity. According to USHPA representative Tad
Hurst, he was flying a competition wing, the Paratech P8.
Gabe, a highly experienced acro pilot and instructor, apparently took a collapse
shortly after launch. It spun him around and into the hill. He was
initially unconscious and was subsequently air lifted to a nearby
Gabe has been recently getting into more motor flying and performed
some Acro maneuvers at the Paratoys Salton Sea event.
He suffered numerous broken bones and a punctured lung but is expected
to fully recover. We wish him quick
healing and look forward to his return.