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ESTC meeting 2014 minutes (english)

EUROPEAN HANG GLIDING AND PARAGLIDING UNION
European Safety and Training Committee
Minutes of the meeting held 14th. June 2014 in Nice, France.

Members Present Representing
Miroslav Fejt. LAA CR Czech Republic
Jens Voetmann. Chairman DHPU Denmark
Jean-Pierre Pouleau. President FFVL France
Claude Bredat. Safety Officer FFVL France
Marion Varner. FFVL France
Karl Slezak. DHV Germany
Laszlo Szollosi Hungary
Rodolfo Saccani. FIVL Italy
Andre Bizot. KNVvL Netherlands
Arne Hillestad. HP/NLF Norway
Par Jonsson. President SSFF. Sweden
Martin Kinzl. FSVL Switzerland
Beni Stocker. FSVL Switzerland
John Lovell. BHPA Chairman ESTC United Kingdom
Dave Thompson BHPA United Kingdom

Apologies Representing
Ewald Kaltenhofer. Aeroclub Austria Austria
Karel Vanderheyden. FBVL Belgium
Raymond Caux. CIVL Safety Officer CIVL

Visitors
Marco Ghivarello To demonstrate new equipment
Angelo Conte "

The Chairman thanked Jean-Pierre Pouleau and FFVL for hosting this meeting and took the opportunity to welcome Par Jonsson the SSFF President as a new member of this Committee.


A. ADMIN

1. FUTURE FUNDING.
In order to obtain funding for future ESTC meetings, the chairman will pursue this by contacting EHPU direct. Action John Lovell

2. FUTURE LOCATION
Discussion took place to determine whether it would be better to establish a regular location for our meetings rather than visiting different countries.
A majority voted to continue to vary the meeting location, but it was decided that consideration should be made to hold meetings in places that would be relatively central and easy to get to.

3. NEW ESTC MEMBERS
In response to a request to consider participation at our meetings by representatives from Poland, it was agreed that they would be welcome to attend purely as observers but that EHPU General Secretary should try to get them to join EHPU and thus be able to participate fully.

B. SAFETY

1. ACCIDENT DATABASE
The accident database is now up and running, and steadily being improved and fine detail added.
The need for privacy is being respected, and although everyone felt that data should be available to all members, obviously some detail, for example, names, must remain only available to Federation Safety Officers. The database construction permits this.
It was generally felt that it would be very useful to include a statistical tool on the database, which, at the moment cannot collate statistics.
FFVL do have such a statistical tool on their database, and Rodolfo Saccani already makes a statistical analysis of the information, which he is willing to share.
However, Karl said that he doubted that DHV would be willing to bear the cost of adding a statistical tool to the database, but he will make enquiries to find out how much it would cost.
Jens would like anyone who spots a trend to report it to all Safety Officers. Karl said that he does already look for trends for himself on behalf of DHV and will continue to circulate this information.

The Swiss would like to be able to present data in French for those who speak French in their country. However it was pointed out that the accepted language within EHPU is English. Nevertheless Marion offered help to them where he could.
Karl said that he already contacts manufacturers when equipment- related issues are reported in Germany and would now do so for the rest of Europe
The publication of Safety Notices on the EHPU website was raised and an agreed system of how we do this needs to be established. This subject is very important and all ESTC members need to communicate their views on how we can establish an effective method.
Dave Thompson pointed out that more National Federations need to come on board the European database in order to increase its effectiveness.

2. FLYING PRACTISES

a) The Standardised European Rules of the Air.
These will have minimal effect on us as these rules are already generally applied in all member States.

b) Rule of the Air specific to our Sport.
Although the rules as defined by each Federation are generally aligned,
It seems that the rules regarding thermalling which have been established in Austria differ from every other nation.
Two things emerged from the lengthy discussion:-
a) Each Country MUST ensure that their website page includes "Rules of the Air for visiting Pilots"
b) Germany will reconsider their alignment with Austria regarding their thermalling rules and will contact Austria with a view to get them to align with the rest of Europe. Action Karl Slezak

3. EQUIPMENT
a) Helmets
The use of ski-ing helmets was raised as Arne reported that pilots in Norway prefer to use them instead of EN966 helmets which are approved for paragliding and hang gliding.
Rodolfo Saccani reported that he had made comparisons tests which showed that ski helmets would be acceptable but could not prove it.
Andre said that a lot of money is spent on ski helmet development, so the product should be safer.
However it is clear at this time that EN966 helmets should always be used in schools.

b) Brummel hooks
David Thompson showed images of brummel hooks with large gaps in their opening faces which have caused several incidents due to separation. These faulty hooks have been as-supplied by equipment manufacturers and not due to wear or strain in use.
The gaps were large enough to allow thin upper cascade lines to become trapped thus creating an extremely dangerous situation.
There are several suitable alternatives; pictures of one, a key-ring connector were shown by Andre.
EHPU should raise this issue with PMA and warn the manufacturers, recommending replacing these hooks with a more suitable product.

c) Gin Carrera
DHV feel that this glider has been classified as EN B incorrectly. They have carried out tests which indicate that it does not fall into this category, and have posted their findings on their website
There is a great danger that relatively inexperienced pilots could well choose this glider thinking that it would be suitable for them, which is not the case.
Gin are most unhappy with DHV as they feel that they are completely open with the test results, but the meeting felt that test results which include videos should be freely available. If some of the bigger manufacturers were prepared to do this then surely others would feel the need to follow.

d) Draft amendment A1 to Test Standard NF EN 926-2
Marion reported that the French Delegation to WG6 feels that these amendment proposals which define the application of folding lines are difficult to apply; specifically in the case of gliders with different design features, for example, air inlet design and suspension line variations.
They feel that the introduction of the folding line regulation is quite a big change in the certification philosophy. It has so far been based on measurement of behaviour after a collapse of a given geometry.With the folding line rules the norm becomes directly intrusive in glider design.
FFVL feel that the amendment decision was made too quickly.
It is important that this issue be raised at the next meeting of WG6.

e) FLARM. (Flight Alarm system)
Rodolfo Saccani reported that there have been many instances of high risk of collision between sailplanes and paragliders.
He said that most sailplane pilots seem to fly with their "eyes in the cockpit" and rely on their instruments more and more. Almost all sailplanes are now fitted with fully functional FLARM, i.e. reporting "SEE and BE SEEN".
FIVL investigated the possibility of using FLARM in passive mode (only to be seen by others, not to see others) on paragliders.
Currently only top level instruments from Flytec and Brauniger can be equipped with the passive FLARM option, FIVL are working with manufacturers in order to build a stand-alone and cheap FLARM option for paragliders and hang gliders.
During the discussion some members said that this is not an issue in their country. However others reported that they have had collisions in the past between sailplanes and paragliders.
In Switzerland about 1200 FLARM units have been sold to free flight pilots. Sailplane pilots report that in some crowded areas this generates a lot of alerts but in general the use of FLARM in free flight has been proved to be effective and is seen as an improvement.

f) Watchdog
Marco Ghivarello and Angelo Conte, the two visiting Italian engineers, gave a presentation of a device (currently under development) which can monitor the degradation of materials used in paraglider and hang glider manufacture.
The device which weighs only 15 grams can be sewn into the canopy and analyses the hours of sun exposure and temperature variations and thus is able to calculate the progressive deterioration of the material on which it is mounted. It has a 7-10 year long-life battery.
Several ESTC delegates were given prototype samples to help evaluate the product. If this device is seen to be useful it could be included by glider manufacturers for a cost of approximately 10 Euros.

C. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

1) Rodolfo Saccani reported that they have established a system of smoke to be used during helicopter rescue operations.
Red smoke to indicate that medical help is required.
Green smoke where medical helpis not required.

2) The next meeting will be held in Munich on 13th/14th June 2015.
Munich was chosen as a direct result of the need to be central, and with the possibility of Munich being more permanent if it means lots of the more Eastern countries turn up.

John Lovell, Chairman ESTC.

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