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ESTC 2012 minutes (english)

EUROPEAN HANG GLIDING AND PARAGLIDING UNION
European Safety and Training Committee
Minutes of the meeting held 9th/10th June 2012 in Grobming, Austria

 

Members present: Representing

Miroslav Fejt LAA CR Czech Republic
Raymond Caux CIVL
Igor Erzen CIVL
Jens Voetmann DHPU Denmark
Marion Varner FFVL France
Karl Slezak DHV Germany
Laszlo Szollosi HFFA Hungary
Attilla Hollo HFFA Hungary
Rodolfo Saccani FIVL Italy
Andre Bizot KNVVL Netherlands
Arne Hillestad HP/NLF Norway
Martin Kinzl SHV Switzerland
Beni Stocker SHV Switzerland
Dave Thompson BHPA United Kingdom
John Lovell, BHPA. Chairman ESTC United Kingdom

Apologies Representing

Karel Vanderheyden FBVL Belgium
Nick Godfrey DHPU Denmark
Chris Borra KNVVL Netherlands
Hanspeter Fallesen SSFF Sweden

Visitors

Ewald Kaltenhofer Aeroclub Austria
Diana David DHV
Laszlo Kerekes President HFFA
Thomas Grabner G-Force Trainer

The Chairman thanked Ewald Kaltenhofer of Aeroclub Austria for hosting the meeting this year.
Ewald expressed his intention to attend in future as the Austrian representative.

The Chairman also welcomed Igor Erzen and Raymond Caux, both representing CIVL.

He also introduced Thomas Grabner who would be demonstrating his G-ForceTrainer
later during the meeting.

Karl also took the opportunity to introduce Diana David, his new assistant at DHV.

A. SAFETY

1. EUROPEAN ACCIDENT DATABASE.

The aim is to establish a readily accessible data base available to all Federations which would be web-based.
Karl stated that an on-line database can be programmed by DHV and provided to all Federations
without costs, hosted by DHV
Each Nation would be able to send their national data automatically to this new EHPU database
It was agreed that the current database is too unwieldy for such a tool due to the large number of fields contained therein, so a group will be set up to establish a reduced list comprising those
fields considered important by each Federation.
This group will be managed by Karl Slezak, and comprise:

Andre Bizot
Igor Erzen
Nick Godfrey
Arne Hillestadt
Ewald Kaltenhofer
Rodolfo Saccani
Beni Stocker
Laszlo Szollosi
Dave Thompson
Marion Varner
These members will liaise with Karl through Diana David who would co-ordinate the work.
It is hoped to complete this stage as soon as possible and progress will be reviewed after a period of
approximately 4 weeks, say by the end of July.

2. PILOT SURVEY

The following information is reported:
Austria 4500 pilots 2200 of which are members of flying clubs.
Belgium 1150 pilots No change reported)
Czech Republic 4600 pilots 4200 Pg., 400 Hg.
Denmark 850 pilots 150 increase
France 23,770 pilots 22229 Pg, 1012 Hg, 13559 Kite surfing, 537 Speed riding.
Germany 35,400 pilots Up 900 ( 80% Pg and 20% Hg.)
Hungary 1,000 pilots Registered pilots.
1,000 pilots Un-registered pilots
Italy 10,000 pilots No change.
Netherlands 2150 pilots 1500 Pg, 650 Hg.
Norway 1,750 pilots Plus 150 Speed flying.
Switzerland 14,675 pilots Including hang-gliding and speed flying.
Sweden 1,700 pilots No change reported
United Kingdom 6,500 pilots 5000 Pg, 1500 Hg.

 

3. EQUIPMENT

BACK PROTECTORS

DHV are developing a new class system for harnesses:-

1. Those with protection only under the seat.

2. Those with under-seat and back protection

3. Those with the above plus side protection.

They wish to conclude this plan before the EN Harness Standard is reviewed next year by WG6.

 

LINE PLAN AND MATERIALS LISTS FOR CERTIFIED GLIDERS.

Rodolfo Saccani reported as follows;

EN Standards do not make it mandatory for test houses to publish this information as part of the test report.
This information should be made public along with the test report for the following reasons:-

1. Such information is crucial for glider maintenance and therefore for safety.
2. Some manufacturers give such documentation only to "friendly" repairers, those they have a business partnership with (for example an exclusivity agreement for a specific area).
3. Repair facilities that have such business relationships are more prone to hide safety issues with materials.
4. Some repair facilities either cannot perform maintenance on such gliders or have to limit the checks they can do. (for example only symmetry checks and no line length checks)
5. There are risks of using wrong materials for repairs, etc.
6. Some manufacturers refuse to give such documentation to Federations for accident investigations.
We strongly believe that transparency on this matter is very important for safety.

 

UNCERTIFIED GLIDERS ON THE MARKET

Rodolfo Saccani also reported that some uncertified gliders have appeared on the market with an EN sticker, for
example, Windtech Zenith and Zenith Evolution.
The same has happened in the past with gliders being marketed before the certification had been completed.
In such cases an EN sticker should not be used because the manufacturer cannot guarantee that the glider is compliant with the stated EN level, or that it will even pass the certification.
Paramania GoFly is advertised as EN926 certified but no certification documentation can be found, and
the manufacturer has refused to provide either documentation, line plan or a list of materials used.
This situation is not acceptable and ESTC feel that pressure should be brought to bear through PMA to resolve these issues.

 

COCOON TYPE HARNESS SAFETY PROBLEM

Beni Stocker reported an Increasing number of accidents with Cocoon-type harnesses:
There have been several incidents lately with this kind of harness (for instance Advance Impress), because pilots forget to reclose their leg straps. This mainly happens after a top landing when pilots open their leg straps in order to prepare the glider for the next takeoff. Then they forget to reclose the straps, as the tightness of the speedbag and the frontcockpit make them feel that all straps are closed OK.
Karl reported that there have been 8 fatalities due to this problem in the last 2 years.
He reported that there are already systems available that can prevent this potentially dangerous situation (for instance: dual ring system by Woody Valley).
ESTC proposes that WG6 should make recommendations for safety measures regarding this type of harness at their EN Harness Standard Review.

 

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT

Karl gave a small presentation of DHV’s data logging system which can be seen to remove the subjective assessments when testing gliders. This could well become a definitive method of glider testing.
We trust WG6 will look into to possible use of such a system in the future

 

4. FLYING PRACTISES

RESERVE DEPLOYMENT

Further discussion took place regarding the possibility of having a deployment handle on both sides to cover the situation when a pilot was denied the use of one hand. Last year Karl reported that the manufacturers say that such a system would be too complicated, but Marion believes that Air Bulle produced such a system in the past.
Marion will investigate this.

THE USE OF 2 RESERVES.

The practise of using 2 reserves ( one with the handle on the left, the other with the handle on the right )
was again discussed in order to resolve the problem of being unable to deploy a single reserve due to
an arm being trapped in lines or high G forces.
This problem has been the cause of fatalities in the past.
Harnesses used for Acro are already fitted with such a system and are widely used.
This is an immediate solution to the problem, but would probably not be popular due to cost and weight
considerations..

ACRO

There are no known issues relating to this branch of the sport at this time other than to issue a warning
that WADA are now taking an interest in our competition scene.
It was stated that more people in our sport are now taking drugs, (not only smoking), than can be imagined.
It can be anticipated that WADA will be making un-announced appearances at competitions soon.

SPEED FLYING
UPDATES

SWITZERLAND.
It is known that Switzerland has had a large problem with speedflying incidents in the past.
Since speedflying there is now officially considered a risk sport by the Insurance Companies, the number
of active pilots has decreased dramatically, with a commensurate reduction in accidents.
But now some speedgliders are being labelled as miniwings by the manufacturers, and therefore escape
the risk sport definition of the Insurance Companies.
Similar names for small foot launched gliders are being developed,i.e. ( hybrid, miniparaglider etc.).
Switzerland is expecting an increase of problems and accidents just as they had with the speedglider.
At the moment a new SHV working group is attempting to deal with this evolution.

GERMANY.
This branch of the sport is not accepted by DHV.

NORWAY.
The Norwegian Federation authorises a qualification but applicants must already be licensed pilots.

AUSTRIA.
It is still being discussed. It is not legally organised, but not against the law.

CZECH REPUBLIC
No one is licensed for this activity, and there are many accidents.

UNITED KINGDOM.
Around 100 people are involved, from a paragliding or parachuting background. A training programme should be ready soon for this activity.

 

B TRAINING

1. EUROPEAN QUALIFICATION FRAMEWORK

This was discussed at some length and it would appear that there would be several problems introducing this.
However it is a European Recommendation which has been in force since since April 2008, with a target for Countries to ensure that this document is used as a reference relating to instructor qualification by 2012. Therefore we have a duty to consider this Directive with regard to our instructor qualifications.

Marion said that it will be better if all instructors have the same level of expertise.

Rodolfo Saccani reported that the Italian Aeroclub had had altercations with FIVL and would not sanction a European framework.

Karl said that he felt the legal aspects woud be insurmountable.

Andre said that having alll instructors on a similar high level would raise the safety level of students. He also said that other sports have made it work.

Miroslav also reported difficulties in the Czech Republic as the government there require extra legislation, such as medicals for all.

In order to move this forward Marion and Andre will set up a working group. Marion will involve Joel Yout of ENSA as well.

 

2. E LEARNING

It was reported that this training technique is now established and in use in Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland.

 

C COMPETITION FLYING

PARAGLIDER CERTIFICATION.

Igor Erzen, representing CIVL, clarified their desire to introduce a new homologation category to embrace gliders only suitable for competition pilots. It was noted that it would take a minimum of 2 years to complete this work.
In the interim it would appear that attempts are currently being made by manufacturers to get competition-type gliders classified as EN-D thus making them acceptable in competition restricted to “Serial” gliders.
Some of the members expressed opinions which were diametrically opposite, thus making it impossible to reach a definitive conclusion.
However the general view was noted that, in the interest of safety, provided the existing homologation categories remain as currently established and are not adulterated in any way, there should be no need for an additional category of glider requiring piloting abilities beyond those recommended for EN-D gliders, which are :-
Paragliders with demanding flying characteristics and potentially violent reaction to turbulence and pilot errors. Recovery to normal flight requires precise pilot input. Designed for pilots well-practised in recovery techniques, who fly very actively, have significant experience of flying in turbulent conditions, and who accept the implications of flying such a wing.
ESTC recommend that EHPU write to PMA and the Test houses demanding that they comply with current homologation classification parameters, and that the support of WG 6 be sought in this matter.

TASK SETTING

Raymond stated that he saw it as CIVL’s responsibility to set tasks that were safe.
Perhaps it is time to consider tasks other than race to goal.
However Igor said that to make competition interesting the tasks will become more difficult.
He also pointed out that you can’t teach all pilots to be sensible.

 

D ESTC NATIONAL REPRESENTATION.

Igor Erzen said that he is a neighbour of Jurij Franko who has represented Slovenia in the past, and he will be happy to represent his Country either with Jurij or alone in future.
Laszlo said he would contact the Romanian Federation with a view to getting their involvement.

 

E ANY OTHER BUSINESS.

Thomas Grabner of G-Force Trainer invited the committee to a practical demonstration of his Paraglider centrifuge which was located close-by.
This was a very interesting presentation of commercial equipment aimed purely at the paragliding community to experience high g-forces such as those experienced when performing spiral dives.
Thomas explained that this equipment enables pilots to improve their ability to handle high g-forces.
Several members of the committee experienced this equipment first-hand, even up to 7G.
The Committee also visited a local paragliding school, Sky Club Austria, which had a well stocked shop in addition to a wide range of courses available to students and experienced pilots alike.

 

DATE AND VENUE OF THE NEXT MEETING.

The Chairman thanked Ewald and the Austrian Aero Club for their kind hospitality in hosting the meeting.

Next year’s meeting will be held in Oslo Norway on 1st/2nd June.2013

John Lovell BHPA
Chairman
European Safety and Training Committee

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