Mid-Feb Hook-In Failure

Please tell what happened and how it might have been avoided. Names should be ommitted. This forum should help others learn from mistakes that caused or nearly caused a mishap.
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Frederick
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Mid-Feb Hook-In Failure

Post by Frederick » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:51 am

"Hook in failure revisited
I did it again. In the setup area I hooked my harness in before getting into it. I separated the four straps (each side for main and backup), put the carabineer around two of them, and locked the gate. I gave two more visual inspections. Yes, two straps going through the carabineer and it was locked. On launch my nose man asked me if I was hooked in. I answered with a firm yes because I was certain. By the end of the ramp I could tell something was weird. I tumbled off the end thinking my glider was tumbling with me. After the motion stopped and I stood up, I didn’t see my glider. I looked at my carabineer and it was still locked. I must have put it around both straps of only one loop. My eye saw what my brain expected it to see. A physical hang check would have caught my error."

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JD
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Post by JD » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:27 am

"Lift and Tug Before You get Off!"

At the beginning of our launch run lift the glider until we clearly feel our leg loops pulling up against the inside of our thighs. This confirms whether or not there is a connection going from our legs to our glider. I have had many acquaintances who did hang checks then slid out of their harnesses in the air and were left dangling by their armpits just like the good ole days of the Batso, Bamboo Butterfly and Hang Loose. Except they were all flying higher than they'd care to fall.

The Lift and Tug hook-in check is part of the launch run. This way if you don't feel the happy tug at your crotch then you know to either abort the run or not even take that first step forward. So simple yet so sadly underutilized.

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Bob Kuczewski
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Re: Mid-Feb Hook-In Failure

Post by Bob Kuczewski » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:19 pm

I'm glad you're OK.
Frederick wrote: physical hang check would have caught my error."
There are several hook-in failure modes. The various "solutions" are all vulnerable to at least one of them.

Any technique that convinces you that you're "covered" is creating a false sense of security.

Use as many as you can (aussie, hang check, hook in check, lift and tug...) but always be fearful that your best efforts might fail you. Then check one more time.

I'm really glad you're O.K. Freddy.
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brianscharp
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FTHI

Post by brianscharp » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:19 am


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JD
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Post by JD » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:27 am

Watch and listen to this pilot on the ramp: https://youtu.be/sG6R5fG5Tzs

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gregangsten
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Hook in

Post by gregangsten » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:28 am

I have a question about this. Did you say you had the harness hanging off the ground from the setup glider before you got into it? You then got into the harness, all without dislodging the caribiner from the straps?

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Frederick
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Post by Frederick » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:55 pm

Sorry for the lack of clarity...I posted this for someone who flies a ton and has launched unhooked before, and just couldn't get the website to work

As my dad and I discussed Monday night, I think it's interesting to notice that familiarity seems to create unreliability with human perception. We're so wired to move our attention on to the new things. (I no longer give conscious attention to moving my leg forward, as I presumable did when first learning to walk.)

I'm interested in "Wow, knowing that, what kind of techniques could I created to compensate for the growing unreliability of my perception as my familiarity increases with something that is life-threatening?" I ride around in this body with all its neurology, and this is a characteristic of how that neurology performs.

greblo
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Post by greblo » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:40 am

My thoughts..
I've witnessed a pilot hoist the glider upwards just prior to launch and, while convinced he was hooked in, he wasn't. Hoisting the glider upwards without a visual inspection can fail and has.

There is no fool proof way to prevent hook in failure, but I believe the following...

Pilots who are confident their system is good and they won't make this mistake are the most likely to do it.

The best chance of preventing this is to make a strong habitual "hook in check" the last thing ever done before starting the run. This is often phrased "within 10 seconds of starting the run". If 10 seconds go by, then do it again. If you do this, you will find yourself making multiple hook in checks for many flights. Just watch Greg Kendall on launch and you'll see this in action. The odds are very low that he will fail to hook in in the future.
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Greg Kendall
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Post by Greg Kendall » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:27 pm

Great, now I'm jinxed.

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Post by brianscharp » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:07 am

greblo wrote:I've witnessed a pilot hoist the glider upwards just prior to launch and, while convinced he was hooked in, he wasn't. Hoisting the glider upwards without a visual inspection can fail and has.
Can you elaborate a little? Did the "pilot" fail to hoist the glider far enough to feel the tug that a connection provides? What convinced him he was hooked in? Was there a connection that produced a tug, but not substantial enough to support full body weight?

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JD
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Post by JD » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:33 pm

brianscharp wrote:
greblo wrote:I've witnessed a pilot hoist the glider upwards just prior to launch and, while convinced he was hooked in, he wasn't. Hoisting the glider upwards without a visual inspection can fail and has.
Can you elaborate a little? Did the "pilot" fail to hoist the glider far enough to feel the tug that a connection provides? What convinced him he was hooked in? Was there a connection that produced a tug, but not substantial enough to support full body weight?
Well, there was this post on an earlier but recent thread in which the poster has never elaborated on how this all played out.
filthy wrote:I no longer use the lift and feel the leg loops. Because I launched unhooked, the rear wires lifted my harness not the hang strap.
It would be interesting to see the poster take the same harness and same model glider and recreate exactly how they got fooled into believing they were hooked in when they weren't. Instead what I see here is the wholesale disparagement of what many consider to the the single-most effective and applicable hook-in check ever devised in the history of the sport of hang gliding.

It's a technique whose invention I had absolutely nothing to do with and one that has been around for over 30 years. I only learned it in the past few years. Meanwhile numerous pilots have performed hang checks and a multitude of other techniques only to launch with no leg loops and no chest strap and have slid out of there harnesses in the air.

The pilot who proffers the claim could easily recreate how he got fooled into believing he was hooked in when he wasn't. What I gather is his Moyes Matrix race harness somehow got draped over the rear wires of his Moyes Litespeed and when he lifted his glider, the rear wires lifted his harness enough to tug at his leg loops. This would be worth knowing more about.

Meanwhile the tens or hundreds of thousands of safe launches that were preceded by the lift and tug hook-in check should all be tossed out along with the obviously worthless method. Meanwhile pilots are often left up on launch alone and in gusty ramp conditions where it's grossly unsafe to do anything other than launch when in proximity to the ramp. Yet it's so easy to allow the glider to rise up or to lift it high enough to tell whether there's a connection between the glider and one's crotch just prior to committing to that run.

Now a hook-in check does not mean you won't somehow separate from your glider. A U.S. pilot in Mexico completely separated from his glider in almost exactly the same way that the Sylmar pilot separated from his in the OP. Both pilots had a false connection between their carabiner and their main hang strap due to interference from their backup hang strap. The pilot in Mexico safely deployed his reserve and lived to fly another day. There have been other documented cases where the hang strap was not properly attached to the glider but was strong enough to withstand a hang check and strong enough to get into the air but was not strong enough to survive flying for any duration and the pilot fell away.

In any of these cases the lift and tug would have revealed only that there was a connection between the glider and the pilot's legs. If a pilot does his job of pre-flight and other maintenance correctly then a lift and tug hook-in check can verify that you are not launching disconnected and it can be done all alone and in turbulent ramp conditions.

In order for a racing pod harness to give a false positive to the lift and tug to the pilot's legs it should also produce downward pressure on the pilot's shoulders due to the see-saw effect of being lifted from the rear of the back plate by the rear wires and tugging against the pilot's legs. The resulting force will be the front of the back plate pressing downward upon the pilot's shoulders. It's up to the pilot to notice this and realize something isn't kosher.

I cannot see this happen if the riser is connected to the glider in which case it should lift the back plate away from the pilot. I have done numerous lift and tugs with my Covert race harness and my T2C and never gotten it snagged on the rear wires but my glider does not have the rear wires pinched together like Moyes gliders. So I guess a Moyes pilot flying a Matrix harness will have to be aware of the telltale downward pressure on his shoulders from his back plate during a lift and tug.

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Post by brianscharp » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:59 pm

NME wrote:It would be interesting to see the poster take the same harness and same model glider and recreate exactly how they got fooled into believing they were hooked in when they weren't. Instead what I see here is the wholesale disparagement of what many consider to the the single-most effective and applicable hook-in check ever devised in the history of the sport of hang gliding.

Yeah.
What I gather is his Moyes Matrix race harness somehow got draped over the rear wires...
I'll concede a remote possibility of the tail of a harness being draped over one wire, which would give a lopsided pitch to the back-plate pressure you described, but I'm having a hard time seeing a harness draped over both rear wires. That said, I can't imagine trying to lift my glider with my harness draped over one rear wire and then not notice it.

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