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International Training and Safety Panels Meets in Germany

The OSTIV Training and Safety Panel, held their biennial meeting in Braunschweig, Germany February 11-13, 2000 to discuss issues of glider training, safety, accident data, governmental dealings, and collision avoidance. The SSA was represented at the meeting by Delegate Gene Hammond and Alternate Delegate Bernald Smith.

The meeting opened with a moment of silence to honor the memory of Bill Scull, the founder and motivating force behind the Training and Safety Panel, who passed away just a week prior to the meeting.

Working groups assigned to develop a database of accident information, internet integration, development of editorial material, human factors in sailplanes, and motorgliders reported on their progress. Each group was given continuing assignments to be reported at the next meeting, with interim exchanges to be accomplished through email.

Accident data from each of the 16 countries indicated that in general, there are fewer accidents since the inauguration of programs developed in Sweden and Denmark. Site surveys, mandatory pilot seminars, and on-site notations of equipment and facility problems are the core items in each of those programs.

One delegate reported a chilling fact that in his country, 6 fatal accidents occurred during winch launch with a student and instructor in the glider. The causes of these accidents were not divulged, leaving each delegate to draw their own conclusions.

In an attempt at reducing the number of tow plane upsets and loss of control on winch launches, the J.A.R. has passed a rule that all new gliders and new designs must have a nose hook rather than a c.g. hook. Further, the German Aero Club is lobbying to require retrofitting of older gliders.

Accidents reported by the FAA in the United States continue to show a trend toward increasing slightly. Hammond reported to the group that the Soaring Safety Foundation is aware of this trend and has initiated several programs to reverse the trend; increased pilot safety seminars, more CFIG clinics, pamphlets and videos, and stronger support for the SSAI program. In 1999, one site survey and one CFIG flight conference were held in addition to five CFIG clinics and several safety seminars, including one at the SSA convention. Another seminar will be held at the Albuquerque Convention on Wednesday, March 15, 2000.

Hammond also reported to the delegates that because of an accident allegedly involving inadequate assembly of a glider which resulted in a fatality, the SSA and the SSF are developing programs to further alert the soaring community in the U.S. about the obvious necessity to ensure that proper assembly is attained every time. Proposals will be presented to the SSA Board of Directors at their meeting in Albuquerque in March, 2000. Student training was noted as being required in all countries present at the meeting, including the United States, which has testing on assembly and disassembly required in the Practical Test Standards for private, commercial and flight instructor certificates.

The Danish delegate presented a program explaining the new Danish basic training program, using the log book (also new) to ensure the student and instructor are both aware of progress in training. The program is on c.d. and available from the Soaring Safety Foundation on request, but is in Danish.

The topic of mid air collisions and collision avoidance techniques brought an animated discussion of different scanning techniques, interference in sight lines from panel layouts, rear vision mirrors, knee-mounted GPS devices, and methods for showing other pilots in thermals that visual contact is made.

In response to results from the most recent SSA member survey, the SSA requested information regarding methods and requirements for cross country training in other countries. All delegates reported requirements for such training prior to a pilot earning a license, with advanced training after licensing in several countries.

The meeting closed with the recognition that the aims and goals so frequently stated by Bill Scull certainly identified a direction for the TSP, and continuation toward those goals was desired and necessary to the gliding community throughout the world.

Posted: 2/22/2000 By: General News

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