Flying too aggressively in the danger zone

Aggressive flying using much brake input near the ground is dangerous.  In the advent of a loss of control, the ground is very near and there will be little room for recovery.  The danger zone is 10—200 feet above the ground—-high enough to hit hard and too low to throw a reserve or for the wing to recover.

Recovering on the beach.

Midday on November 20 I had decided to hike up the hill at North Boulder for a sled ride. The sun was too far south and no frontal systems were forecast so outlook was for a smooth glide to the l.z.  That was the plan as I hiked up the hill with a few other pilots.  I launched with a dynamic reverse launch and flew away from the hill.  I was surprised when my vario indicated light and I started to turn above the 3/4 launch.  I turned closely and  sharply towards the hill. At that moment I had an assymetric deflation on the inward side further slowing down wind and resulting in a spin. The glider spun 180 degrees  and I was now facing away from the hill but it dove so sharply that I could not clear the hill. I felt my  legs hit the ground hard.    My left leg was uninjured but my right leg contacted a rock and I felt pain in it.  It was apparent I could not fly or walk down so started to organize a group to carry me down on my back board.  EMS and mountain rescue soon arrived and I accepted a carry down.  Upon reaching the cars, I climbed out and asked my daughter to drive me to the emergency room.  I was still optimistic until an X-ray confirmed that I had broken my leg.

A month later I am recovering and starting to walk but still criticize myself for flying too aggressively too close to the hill and being too greedy for light! I should have been content with a sled ride on November 20th!. Fly cautiously in the danger zone!

4 thoughts on “Flying too aggressively in the danger zone

  1. Two pilots walked up Boulder to fly. One walked down 12-5-12 because he snaged a line. Now I know why some pilots set up there launches like it is a strong wind launch. With there glider high and pilot down the hill, Watch out for rocks!

  2. Granger, just read about your accident today. Sorry to read this & glad you are recovering. I did the same thing over a decade ago at a local micro site & just barely cleared the ground. Never did that again —- prefer instead to try “S”- ing it. All the best in 2012

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