Episode 194- The Spring Tune up with Nick Greece and Russ Ogden

Your host getting a little spring action. Photo Matt Beechinor

This week we dive into spring with the current World Champion and long-time Ozone test pilot Russ Ogden and multiple US National Champion Nick Greece. Year after year we see accidents in free flight spike in spring. Spicy conditions, rusty skills, new unfamiliar gear, heightened stoke, another year behind us, lack of confidence… we explore the many things that might have an impact on why we see the spike and what you can do to make sure you’re not in the data set. Topics include:

  • Spring conditions in general- sharp, cold, boisterous, quick to change…forecasting?
  • How to “ease back in”. SIV?
  • New gear / wing choice. In Spring or after you’re tuned up? What about the new EN C 2-Liners? Are they a game changer or should people still treat them with a ton of respect?
  • Getting older each year- what should we be looking out for? Dexterity, reaction time, fragility…how to assess where we are NOW?
  • Getting in the right mindset- how to do it after a long break? How to know what our current “you” is?
  • Equipment – what should we review/ have in our kit? First aid, inReach, telegram groups, contacts…
  • Dude, this is brutal and I want to land- but it’s midday!
  • Taking on launches or landings that are demanding after a lay off for the winter- the need to tune up on the training hill or…?
  • The value of kiting practice
  • Hooking in- making sure you are connected to glider and leg straps are all buckled (ie the “4 points”)
  • Suitable conditions:
    • blow back, rotor, fronts, etc. 
    • Crowded launch/landing conditions/peer pressure
    • Flying someplace new without getting an introduction with the local “tribal knowledge”
    • Being a savage on launch
  • Physical condition – are you ready to fly?
    • hydration, nutrition, blood sugar, alcohol, drugs, physical fitness
  • Reserve
    • repack, rigging, accidental deployments, how to throw
  • Factors that lead to mistakes
    • rushing, peer pressure to fly, dehydration, distractions, interruptions during setup routine

We also take a look at what the statistics tell us (huge thanks to Chris Santacroce for compiling the data each year!) and the specific recommendations that come out of these reports.

Here’s a nice way to get tuned up this year, Nick Greece is guiding some really cool flying and culinary trips with renowned chef and master pilot Estefano Salgado. You can find their offerings at www.paraglidingguides.com.

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Transcript

Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. I have a really special one for you this time around with current world Champion, Russ Ogden and longtime test pilot for Ozone and Nick Greece, a multiple US national Champion and legend, and former editor uspa and who is now working for the R R G, our Risk Retention Group, insurance arm of uspa. And he reached out to me actually a couple months ago and suggested we should do a show on tune-ups in spring as we're entering the flying season and already some big flights going down.

We wanted to put this together as just a reminder that the, the data says spring is our most dangerous time of the year. So for those of you in the northern hemisphere getting ready to tackle a big season, the, there are some, there are some hazards there that that grab us. You know, we're not very current typically, and then flying a lot in the winter. Conditions in spring are really boisterous and that's unfortunately when a lot of people pound. So we wanted to just review all the things that make spring different.

We get into conditions and forecasting and how to kind of ease back in, even though it could be pretty Spicy. We talk a lot about the new sea wings and the new two liners and gear choices that go along with entering spring. Sometimes we up our kit in the winter and that's maybe not the best time to do it. We also talk about age and getting older and you know, more breakable, less durable, and our reaction times go down a little bit. What should, what we should be thinking about when it comes to age and something that affects all of us, unfortunately, certainly finding it with me.

We talk about a lot more about equipment, but also just what we should have and what we should be familiar with and reach first aid kit, oxygen, potentially sleeping bags, depending on where, where you're going just to remove some of the things you're thinking about. So you've got more access to observation, which is what makes us go big. We talk about the importance of kiting and ground handling and being savvy and savage on the launch. We talk about flying in suitable conditions for where you are and how to identify where you are.

We talk a lot about reserve deployments and S I v Russ has some really fantastic input on this stuff. We talk about repacking, we talk a little bit about trimming potentially, I can't remember, but it's just fantastic. There's a lot here. This was a fascinating one to go through. I've never had two people on a show. It was really fun to see both these guys Russ over in Gordon and France and Nick at home and Truckee where he is, been inundated with snow all winter.

But we had a lot of fun with this and I was really thankful and grateful to be able to do this with two just amazing people and amazing pilots who articulate our sports so well. So enjoy this fantastic show. Spring Tune up with Russ Ogden and Nick Greece and be safe out there. Everybody have a great season. Cheers, Nick.

Russ Legends. Thanks for coming on the show and getting us all tuned up for spraying. I've been excited to do this. And Nick, thanks for the suggestion. Sounds like you got your little one down there bouncing around. We got a little few minutes to catch up here, but thanks for coming on and thanks for, thanks for talking to the audience about all this important stuff.

Speaker 2 (3m 58s): Great to be here, Kevin.

Speaker 3 (3m 59s): Thank you for having us and thanks for doing this as well.

Speaker 1 (4m 2s): So we're gonna be talking about spring and spring conditions and flying and Nick, you've got a little preamble. Can you just tell us about what we're gonna be trying to accomplish today?

Speaker 3 (4m 13s): I think one of the things, you know, where, where we're starting to see and, and one of the, what we're hoping to accomplish today is to look at some patterns. Patterns that we've seen repeated over and over that have led to results that are less than ideal for our participants. Both the rick, the r r g, the insurance company and USBA has, has detailed, and I'm sure the British Hengli Paragon Association as well has detailed logs of, of accidents and the causes of them. And so, you know, going into the, the new season, you know, hopefully this will serve as a, a kind of a template for things that to, to think about as we get warmed up and, and to try to identify some of, you know, these repeatable offenses that we can, that we can steer away from or, or even just draw some awareness to so that if you're steering towards it, at least you're aware that you're going towards this.

Because a as we know, sometimes the right decision is to fly further than to, than to turn back. So

Speaker 1 (5m 17s): Nick, thanks for that. I appreciate it. Let's start with the weather. Why is spring different than the rest of the year?

Speaker 2 (5m 23s): I think in the spring we get cold weather, hot suns lapse rates, temperature gradient are good. So we get very strong thermals, often quite hard edged and the associate thermic turbulence and that coupled with, you know, rusty condition, rusty pilots, rusty out of practice, not flowing a great deal. These are the kind of main influences towards incidents occurring.

Speaker 1 (5m 52s): And can either of you speak to just how to mentally and maybe physically ease back into conditions like that? I mean, typically we may have done a comp or two in the winter, but a lot of times we're skiing and doing other stuff. We're not flying, our mind's not on flying, we're getting back into it. We will talk about gear here in a little bit, but how do we mentally get back to the hill and, and not flail?

Speaker 3 (6m 22s): I, well, so there's a couple things that pop to mind right away. One is just like any other sport, it's about warming up. When you get ready for ski season, Gavin, I'm sure you start dry land training right before you're hitting the hills. You're trying to get the muscles warmed up so that when you're, you know, ready to engage, you know, they're, they're kind of on their way to being stronger. Then when you start skiing, we don't just go start sending on off cliffs right away, right? You're gonna kind of ski a couple groomers, you're gonna get the knees feeling well, you know, you know, loosened up. So same thing in flying, you know, starting at a training, starting with kiting.

So going out, starting with kiting for me, I've had a long layoff. I haven't flown in months, so I'm gonna be looking for kiting, coastal, you know, smoother air conditions, reducing my window of, of, of flying conditions so that I'm gonna be flying, you know, kind of before the day gets going, you know, and maybe having a little bit and landing before it even really tees off or towards the evening, you know, that I'm not gonna be in it to fly for, for six to seven hours and, and and, and going out and trying to, you know, go as far as I can.

But I think really the kiting part, the currency and showing up with the confidence that, you know, regardless of what happens, I'm gonna get off the hill. Well, and that's the first step to any successful flight. The second part that I would say is that when we come back out of the, out of the off season, we haven't seen our friends in a long time and it's really exciting, right? Yeah. You, you have your, I have compartmentalized friend groups typically where, okay, I've been with my ski friends now all my flying friends are coming back. I'm so excited to see 'em that sometimes we, you know, I I think it's a really kind of a warning place where you really need to be careful that to know when the aviation part is kicking back in.

So you're so excited, the, the, the camaraderie, the social part, but then when it comes to going back into your pre-flight, going really into a hard aviation mindset and keeping that space and that for, for, for your checklist and for your bubble

Speaker 1 (8m 22s): Russ, how do we know Nick? You're just talking about, you know, you're, you're kind of preparing, you're getting back into the mindset. How do we know where we are after a long break? You know, the, so much of flying is confidence and, and how we feel and like Nick said, currency, how, how do you assess even on a daily basis, but coming back to it after a long stretch, just where you are in terms, you know, we are, we're also, we're getting older each year. We're getting a little bit more fragile, a little bit less reactive.

We're, you know, our reaction times go down.

Speaker 2 (8m 55s): Yeah, I think it's, it's a, it's a very complex issue because we're all pretty much any, anyone who's been flying for a few years is, is very much aware that the, that the, the tides of spring and how the accident rates do go up in spring because people are, are rusty and so on. And I think it's, and even despite this awareness, there are still accidents. People are still hurting themselves at this time of the year. So it, it's, it's quite a complex process I think, and I, I, the rustiness is one thing, but I don't think it is the absolute be all and end all of what is causing these incidents.

I think over the years, as, as we've seen, I think it's more the, just the strength of the conditions that we start flying in where 20, 30 years ago you couldn't fly a paraglider in these conditions because it was too strong. You'd get blown back and if you weren't getting blown back, you had to accelerate to, and, and the glide would become deeply unstable. So it was conditions that you just were not really flying in. Whereas now with the modern technology, now wings are faster, they're more stable at speed, the window of being able to fly is much higher.

So although the wings are getting somewhat safer, we're also suffering from flying in much stronger conditions than we, than we normally do. And I think this is the, the biggest factor really. Confidence, as you say, is a really important aspect. But so is hubris, so is overconfidence. We can't be too overconfident on the long layoffs coming back without too much practice. We need to be out there ground handling, like Nick says, when we can get as much smooth coastal soaring flying in, any smooth flying we can do on training hills, anything to just get back in touch with your equipment really and get used to it.

And then once we're flying, I think we have to be really self-disciplined, really safe, really, really astute to the conditions that are going on. I mean, especially like down where you, you guys are some valley, these massive big areas which are strong at the, on the weekdays, you know, when you get a good rate day, good strong day in the spring, you are, you are, you're you're gonna have some funky air, that's for sure. So I think the, the, the layoff is, is one thing, but it's, it's a, it's this continuous circle of training that we, we, we, we embark on when we start flying and it never stops.

And we have to continuously be on that curve all the time.

Speaker 1 (11m 25s): Russ, this is a good segue. You mentioned gear a couple times. I, I've been getting a lot of questions on the new sea wings, the new two liners, and maybe we don't take a a full deep dive into it, but Ozone ni gin others are, are, have come up with these, these new very exciting wings. And I've had people contact me that say, you know, say they're flying a, a mid or high B and they're, they're not really what I would, you know, they're not getting the hours that I would say are, are a lot of currency and they see these wings as safer because they have more bar performance and they're more collapsed resistant.

Is that the way we should be thinking to them? And because I think about gear a lot in the spring because usually in the winter we're getting hungry to fly, we start thinking about it again. Maybe it's the time to up our kit. And as we've talked about many times on the show, upping our kit is a risk, you know, is a risk factor, right? It's you're, you're then flying in pretty wild conditions potentially and you're flying in on new gear. So I, I'd love to just hear from you, how should we be thinking about these new wings and just in gear in general when it comes to spring?

But I I haven't really known, you know, they're, they're new, they're, you know, are they, are they something we still need to be very respectful of because it's a two liner.

Speaker 2 (12m 47s): This is a, a, a, a big, big subject that we could talk about endlessly. There, there was lots of questions in that. First of all, two points, a couple few points I'd like to make on it. The two liner part is from what I've seen over the years now, developing wings, two liners, three liners, whatever. To me the, the big, the biggest factor in passive safety is not so much how many attachment points they are, but more to do with aspect ratio, the profile used and the arc used and, and, and several other factors.

Okay? So there's a bit of a stigma over two liners because they're more dangerous than the three liner for the same given design. From my experience, I don't see that, I'm not seeing that at all. In fact, with a modern well-designed two liner, it's, it's as well behaved post collapse as a similar three liner. The attachment points don't really make a big difference in those, in those parts. What two liners do require is a little bit is a different style of flying.

So you need to adapt the way you fly, you fly on the b risers a lot more. For many pilots that's quite intuitive. And for those pilots, it makes flying a wing mildly safer, flying in stronger conditions. For some pilots who don't really quite have those skills, then it's not the right choice of wing to fly. And we shouldn't use a, a certification grade really to assess safety certification does not assess, is not an assessment of safety.

It's an assessment of conformity into the way a wing should and should not behave in carma with no pilot input at the bot. At the end of the day, every paraglider is unsafe and it's just how far you want to go, how unsafe you want to be. The biggest factor in safety's not the wing, it's the pilot. It's their, it's their ability to fly the wing. It's the, it's the ability to not freeze when they're in danger. It's the ability to write the make, to make them the correct input at the right time.

All of these factors can be learned by experience, some of these factors. But an experience is, is, is is very important. But as we've seen, you know, we all know pilots that have been flying for 20 years and they should never, they shouldn't even really fly. And yet I've seen 16 year olds that are doing infinite tumbles and have absolute skill and authority over a paraglider. So you need to make an assessment, a personal assessment of yourself to see where you are on that curve. I would suggest that you don't, no matter how experienced you are, you don't really change where you are on that curve.

You just make yourself slightly better at doing it. But if you are, you know, there's not many people who can do 50 infinite tumbles and be able to have, be copus throughout and know exactly where they are spatially aware throughout doing that. And it's much the same flying high performance paras I think. So I think you need to not really worry about E N C or D or whatever. I don't really care about that. We don't really care a great deal about grades and reading reports and adding up how many A's and B's they got to verify whether one wing's safer or another.

That's just a load of absolute nonsense and it's, it's time we stop doing that because it's just ineffective way of finding out whether a wing is good for you or not. You need to have a deep dive into yourself and say, right, well how good am I? How spatially aware am I, how is my skills keeping any wing alive, open, and how good am I dealing with stuff when it isn't open or it's not flying? All of this is part of the training, but it's also bound to you as

Speaker 3 (16m 45s): A pilot as well. So Russ, I I, I totally hear you about this, you know, the, the certification process and the conformity process. How would you recommend people go about selecting the appropriate glider for their skill?

Speaker 2 (16m 59s): Well, I think the, the most important factor in this is progression through aspect ratio. Taking advice from experienced pilots, taking advice from your instructors, taking from advice from people who know you are flying and who can be frank and honest with you and c your abilities and go from there. There is no need, there is no need to presume that in your flying career.

You have to go from a A to a B to a C to a d I know people who've been flying for 30 years longer than I have, longer than any of us have. They're totally happy and they're totally down with flying e n b rated wings because modern emb rated wings like you fly when you are training Nick, you know the score they can handle on a six months, they can turn inside any competition wing. They, they've got an amazing amount of solidity and forgiveness in the break range and they're a whole heap of fun to fly.

And you don't really need a great deal more performance than what a modern day e b high performance e b can offer. If you are really into cross country, if you really want to, to, to then take that next step, go further. If you have the abilities, then you can consider going up in aspect ratio going and as, as we see, you know, as you go up through the different certification grades, you'll get to the, the higher the grade, the higher the aspect ratio is a general rule that that aspect ratio requires management.

The E N C, the grade is a grade of how the wing behaves, which boxes it ticks, which boxes it conforms to in dead calm air. You throw that into Hong Kong fui, choppy Sun Valley air, and it doesn't give a shit about the certification grade. If you take any wing and you give it a 90% collapse with a, with a super high kink angle and it's recovering into rotary air, it ain't gonna behave like it did above a lake in Switzerland in Cara.

Okay. You can end up easily g wrapped in an e n a wing as you can with an E n C or D wing. Okay? So if you, it depends on you as a pilot, you have to know your own limits. You have to know your own ability to flight actively. You have to know your own ability, how you feel when you get the fear, whether you freeze or whether you actually switch on and become better and sharper. And you have to be a lot more holistic, a much more holistic approach as to how you choose your we.

And the last thing you need to do is actually look a, a list of grades given by a guy who's flown it twice or once, you know, in carme perform two collapses, mostly nowadays, manufacturers we are, we are blunt, we're honest, we, we say it how it is. It's, it's no interest for any manufacturer to have someone flying a wing that's beyond them. It does nobody any good. So read and, and really read carefully what the manufacturers are saying and follow what they say.

I think that's the most important aspect. And yeah, don't worry too much about e nnc grades, em grades or the ab the absolute numbers on each maneuver.

Speaker 3 (20m 42s): So can you explain though a little bit about, so, you know, this is something that I was always looking at. I, and I don't know if I was right, but I was looking at flat surface area and, and weight ranges and I was seeing how it was designed and how it passed and I don't, I don't think that was correct. You mentioned, you know, looking at aspect ratio, can you explain how someone would, you know, investigate aspect ratio and how it would relate to their flying

Speaker 2 (21m 9s): As a general rule aspect ratio? The, the, the longer and thinner the wing is, the more spanner wing has, the less cord the wing has means it becomes more difficult to manage in very turbulent air. And it's in the very turbulent air that you need more kind of inputs to keep the wing open and to stop the wing from stalling. As the aspect ratio goes up, the, generally the stall point comes a little bit e earlier and it's easier to stall part of the wing. So you may be inputting to stop the surge and still manage to stall one part of it.

Also, if you do get a collapse, it's more likely to end up with a collapsing on the outside. If you end up in a spin situation or a stall situation, the GLD will tend to snake around a bit more. You know, for, for two wings, everything else being equal, a lower aspect ratio wing is easier to manage in extreme situations than a higher spec ratio wing. Put them both in calm air, they're both the same, but put them in the, the funky stuff and that's where the big difference comes.

So choose an aspect ratio that you're comfortable with is what I would say. I think most people, that's why en that's why the CCC wings right now, they're like up at seven and you need to be pretty switched on and competent to fly those comfortably and have fun. E n D is a nicer, is a, is a better area for those that aren't quite comfortable on CCC wings. And that's normally high sixties in aspect ratio. And then encs are somewhere between six, six and a half and a kind of pretty more versatile for, for the majority of experienced pilots.

Speaker 1 (22m 52s): Fantastic. Nick, we, when you had the, the idea for putting this show together, we put out the, the questions of what should we, what, what are some of the things we should be hitting on when I talk to you both, and one of them that came up that I thought was really interesting is talking about age. You know, we're, we're all, we're all aging, we're all getting older. Our our reaction times, you know, slow down, you know, for me, I'm, I'm struggling with vision. I've always had perfect vision my whole life and it's, you know, the last couple years has really gone down, which really affects your my ability to observe things in the air.

Do you wanna talk to us about that a little bit? Because I think that's also important. That's important year round, but it's, it's especially important in the spring. I,

Speaker 3 (23m 34s): I wouldn't, no, I don't age,

Speaker 2 (23m 36s): No, he's a young spring

Speaker 3 (23m 37s): Chicken. I wouldn't, I wouldn't, no, no, I, I I think I have the same problem. I have no idea what that's up. Yeah, yeah. I have no idea. I feel great that I feel as good as I did when I was 25. No, I think, I think this is pretty much all I work on these days. I believe that the first step to this problem is acknowledging you have a problem and knowing that there, there are ways to, to try to, you know, counteract it. So physical conditioning, stay your hydration, being deeply honest with your mental state, knowing, you know, when, when you are, you know, going to bring it and trying to utilize some of the wisdom that comes with making it this far in the paragliding, you know, in your paragliding career, you know, rather than relying more on, on sheer kinesthetic body talent.

But I think, you know, staying hydrated while, while flying as well and staying well fed, feeding the mind because we are, we're gonna need more sugar, more electrolytes, you know, being aware that once an hour you're, you're gonna need to refill that. And then being compassionate and gentle with yourself when you're not at the, at, at the peak of your game and acknowledging it and stepping back and to, you know, and, and being and knowing that this is just a, it's okay and you're, this is just gonna make you more hungry for the, for the next day when you are fit again.

So I think that that's what I've been personally doing.

Speaker 1 (25m 5s): Nick I'd, I'd like to also talk about, because I, I think of, and Russ, you know, you were over here for the, for the World Cup in 2012, so you have personal experience with this and we had an experience in that event that highlights this, but how also do you think about gear this time of year? You know, the, when we get back into it, I think it's often we're, we're so excited, we just think about the core kit, but especially flying in in the wild, wild west, I think this is a good opportunity to rethink what's in the bag and, and what's in there.

We need to know how to use it. You know, I'm thinking first aid. What, what are you thinking about this time of year in terms of what you're carrying?

Speaker 3 (25m 48s): Well I've, I've toned back, so I'll start on a b this time of year, you know, I used to just go right to my comping and say, well, I only have one wing, this is the wing I'm flying and, and hike it up all kinds of mountains. Cuz in Jackson we couldn't even, you know, the only way you could go flying is to hike up with your, you know, your comp harness and, and then have at it and just kind of, you know, deal with it. And, and I think I was quick enough with my eye hand coordination to be able to pull that off. So now I'm, I'm on a, you know, a Rush Swift six and a and a lightweight harness and, and trying to just lean into the, you know, that starting off kiting, really having it be about fun, you know, not, not if, if I get up there and I don't like the way it's blowing, I walk down, you know, the kit is light.

It's, it's giving yourself all those advantages so that there's no excuses for the inconvenience part. You know, where you're like, well, my kit's heavy, I don't want, well, I have a light kit for this purpose specifically so that I, I can make the correct decision for the spring. You know, as far as, you know, obviously we, we all use in reaches, you know, but, but here, you know, in the Rockies, it's, it's really difficult. The springs are, are rugged. It is by far the strongest, you know, most gnarly time of year hard to discern if it's the weather conditions or, or the, the mixture of your rustiness and the weather conditions.

But with the snow and the ground being revealed at those two different levels and the lapse rates with the instability, especially out here in Nevada being, you know, the, the mo the most instability will be all year will be in the spring. We don't, we, it gets very stable all summer. You know, we, it's kind of the best time for me to, to be having fun and not be scared. And so a lot of this, this kind of tunes into when safety is a performance progression, right? So identifying that it's actually, if I can, I can increase my safety quotient right here and it will help me get to a higher performance more quickly.

So safety equals performance, right? And so starting to identify those moments and, and there's a few, there's a bunch of them where you can say, well, I'm, I'm, I'm not doing this because, you know, I think it's safe. I'm actually doing it because it will, it will get me to the place I wanna be more quickly.

Speaker 2 (27m 56s): How do you, how do you quantify safety there, Nick? How do you Yeah, that's a good question. Quantify safety in that aspect?

Speaker 3 (28m 1s): Well, in terms of like, well, I'm gonna choose a sa a safer glider, right? I'm gonna choose a, a bee glider versus my d glider, right? And, and that's because yes, the de glider will perform better on a glide. However, my bee glider, because I'm rusty and I'm new, I will be working on turns and I'll be more comfortable and therefore I'll be easing into my progression of, of, to where I can access the performance of a Dee glider. So that would be kind of an example of where, I mean, you know, choosing the safety I put in quotes because after we just discussed, there's a lot that goes into this, you know, understanding.

But, you know, that would be an example.

Speaker 1 (28m 37s): I also think for me, you know, in the spring, because conditions can be quite overwhelming, I think the more things we can make that, that are just padding in terms of our brain, it really helps. You know, so having the inReach kind of dialed and having your contacts dialed and having the telegram groups, groups put together so people know where you are and what to do in case of emergency and who to contact in case of emergency and having a sleeping bag and having water and having enough food.

All these things where if we're going XE that, that you're not in the air going, oh shit, don't have that going right. Or my battery's not working, or, you know, all those kind of things can add undue stress that take away from our observation skills, which usually makes us land anyway. But it's also, you know, here in the, in the west, you sometimes don't really want to be landing at 1:00 PM you know, you've gotta be in the, the right mindset to get to that nice air at the end of the day. And to get there, I think the less things we have to think about and be stressed about, you know, is my oxygen working?

Is it full? Has it, you know, have I done that right? All these little things we can kind of, like you said, compartmentalize and put away can really help us. So we're not overwhelmed, you know, we're it, we we're, it's, it's not the seventh day of a World Cup where we're totally dialed and we've been flying, we've got all the hours and we feel super comfortable on these hot wings.

Speaker 2 (30m 3s): You guys, you guys are crazy. I mean, I'm, I mean, the idea of having to fly across country with a sleeping bag doesn't really happen in Europe. That's not how, it definitely doesn't, it definitely doesn't happen in England.

Speaker 3 (30m 17s): It doesn't happen in my world either. Russell, I've run by the road. It doesn't. I don't, that's, yeah, that's, that's part,

Speaker 2 (30m 23s): No, no. If you're British, all you worry about is whether you've got a miles bar or not.

Speaker 3 (30m 28s): I no Gavin I think that's a really, I think that's a really a st point, and that's something I've noticed as I've gotten older. It takes me a week to prepare for a travel trip, a co you know, a flying trip now, it used to take six hours, you know, and I could be drunk. Yeah. You know, and now it's, it's, it's, it's a very long, methodical process and I've noticed it's that comfort level. And so I think that that's a really, really wise point about having your gear dialed. Ha not being on launch, figuring out anything and leaving the ram open for contemplation if it needs to be breath work, whatever, looking around at the clouds, but not being stressed.

And I think that, that, that is by far, that is one of the things I've noticed. And it's something that I do in competition actually, right? So if I'm competing, I have everything when I get up there, it comes outta the bag the same way it goes on, it goes on my body the same way. Everything is done in the exact same way. And the purpose I do that is to create open ram because it, it goes, it's like a clockwork. And then I, you know, I can, I can walk around and eat pizza and High five and listen to Russ's stories and, you know, all those things, and then boom, be rack back, right back in it. So I, I think that's a really, a really astute point.

You bring up

Speaker 1 (31m 41s): Russ you are flying in a place where it's really year round. I, I'd just be curious, do you have, do you have long breaks or is, you know, have you, have you had times in your career where you, you in a sense struggled with kind of getting back on the horse? Or is it, you know, you, you fly enough that, that it, that's kind of

Speaker 2 (32m 2s): Around? Well, no, we, we, we are flying pretty much every day down here in Goor and, but we've, we've, when we are test testing with our testing work after the Christmas break, after a few weeks off, you really do feel it. You really do notice that, wow, you're not quite there with it. And it normally takes, it just normally takes a few collapses or a few stools or spins or whatever, just to get back into there, back into the, back into that mindset, back into that place.

But definitely, I, I don't have the long layoffs, but I do feel when I've, when was it recently we went, yeah, it was after the super final, we went to the super final, we flew loads in Mexico, we then came back and went straight into a two week holiday. And then when we started again in January, we hit the ground running first day trying to get the photons ready for certification. And it's like boom, chapa appia straight back into it. And I, I felt it then. I definitely felt it then from the testing side of things.

But I think for me personally, I, I've flown enough over the years to not really get that rusty feeling after a few weeks layoff, but certainly for testing.

Speaker 3 (33m 14s): And that's, that's a fascinating, so if Russ is saying that over two, just after two weeks, right? I think there's, there was a study done with a, with the Dodgers a while back, and it was an alcohol study. So as they got the pitcher and a catcher, they, they, they were inebriated. They could still see the, the, the difference in their reflexes 30 days after them being drunk, right? So as you, as you get older, and so that's nothing look into the physiological effects of if you have, you had a tide one on at Christmas, that could be a 20 day, if you're, the older you get, the longer that's gonna be, you know?

So I think it's, that's a fascinating that you could feel it after two weeks, Russ, after, you know, and so imagine us who are six months and don't have a muscle memory of being test pilots, right? I mean, but that's not one of our, that's not in our move. Yeah. So I think that, you know, that, you know, what we used to do, and I talked to Nate today, Gavin, Nate Scales, who we all have flown with or been mentored by or, or laughed at jokes from in the past. And he was, he's getting back into flying this year. And this is something I used to do too every year is go kite and then he is going to Boise to do a 20 mile flight, then he is going to the south side of the point of the mountain right.

In Utah to, to, to ridge. So, and then he'll do his first thermal flight. So this is somebody who has 25 years experience. So I guess for our listeners, yeah, you know, if you have less than 25 years experience, know that that's what somebody who has 25 years experience is doing is is, you know, that that's gonna take him a week. Yeah. Or to, you know, basically to achieve. So that's another thing in the Rockies, which we don't have, like in Goone, they could just boo boo boo, you know, day after day. Whereas sometimes we have to drive six hours to get, you know, just to be able to get off the hill.

But I, I think knowing sometimes it's nice to know that even, you know, the, somebody told me once, well, you know, if you're looking at a paraglider pilot in the sky and they're flying totally straight, that doesn't mean the conditions are good for you. That person could be a world Champion, their hands are moving like crazy. You just can't see it. Right? And it's, sometimes it's good to know that, look, even some of the best in the, you know, but Russ, I would argue is the best in the world at what he does and most competent and, and, you know, does it the most consistently. And even after two weeks he can feel it. So I think giving ourselves that latitude and that, that and, and understanding so that it allows us to schedule that in for our oncoming season and build that into your schedule.

Don't, don't shortchange it. And if you do shortchange it, I think knowing that you did shortchange it and acknowledging that you are still rusty and then picking the conditions appropriately for that

Speaker 1 (35m 50s): Russ. I was gonna say that, the reason I asked that too was I was, I was hoping you'd say something about stalls and just, you know, working as a test pilot that I have found in, in my own flying, that doing some siv spring tune-up has been really beneficial for me to somewhat, you know, to shake the cobwebs, but also just stall a dozen times, you know, in a place that you're comfortable doing it on a wing, you're comfortable doing it just to kind of shake the cobwebs out. I, I found that, you know, some of that kind of mild SIV training and in one case it literally saved my life doing a bunch of SIV training in the spring.

And I had an incident about a week later and I'm convinced it was really critical for that. So I was, I was hoping you'd say that, but I Do you, do you think for the general audience is doing a little SIV in the spring? Good idea.

Speaker 2 (36m 39s): I think doing siv all your, at any stage in your flying career and using it as a continuum, continuum is, is critical to be a safe pilot. I absolutely think you can, you can fly safe, you can fly, you can fly for 20 years your whole life without ever doing an s o v. The next time you go fly, you may really desperately need it. I think to fly paragliders with any modicum of safety and respect for the sport, your family, your loved ones, you should, you should be focusing on SIV training.

You should do that as much as you can once a year, once every other year, once every six months, whatever feels good and right to you. Yeah. I mean, we all know, we all know and understand the, the limitations of the machines we fly. The danger is that they're too easy to fly. And yet the difficulty is that they're extremely difficult to master something. I'm still working on something I certainly haven't done. I train and practice every day to do it, and I'm always learning. I learned new stuff today.

So it's no, I I, I totally, totally endorse training. Getting one early in the spring is good. Getting any time of the year, it's good. You know, it's a continuous process that we need to train and practice with. And going back to what Nick said, I think what Nick said was brilliant and totally down with all of that and how, you know, someone has, has accomplished and competent and talented as Nate is willing to go through that process to get back on the horse, to fly, you know, in the, in the strong stuff where he, where he lives.

I think we can all learn from that. And, and I think a really important factor, especially this time of year, no matter where you live in the world, you know, because everyone's coming out of the, the wardrobes at this time of the year to get out onto the hill and fly. You're desperate to fly. You've made that time, you've earned the brownie points at home. You, you, you, you're using them all up to go out onto the hill sometimes. And the hardest thing to do when you see people flying is to not take off. And there's a lot of peer pressure to fly when other people are in the air.

And when the winds are gusting, when it's strong, when it's on your limits, that's when you know, the wise pilots may not necessarily take off, especially if they've had that long layoff.

Speaker 1 (39m 3s): Nick, you've got some data that I'd, I'd love to go over that, that the Utah Club put together. Let's, let's talk about some of that. So, because it's, it's nice to have, you know, we, we can talk about spring conditions, but it's nice to have some actual facts and data behind, you know, what, what are the common things that come up, trends, pitfalls, you, you share, you shared with Russ and I, yeah,

Speaker 3 (39m 28s): So you and Chris Croci first and foremost has been running this accident review committee, and if any of you get a chance, he does a USPA webinar. It's a very limited, it's only like 150 people can enter, unfortunately. But it's brilliant. And he goes through and, and does an analysis of accident reports. So this comes from that, from Christina Croc's accident review committee, spring webinar. And so for, this is for the point, but, so it's, but it's the top three incident trends. Were riser twist number one.

So how does it happen? Is that,

Speaker 2 (40m 2s): Is that in the air on the ground?

Speaker 3 (40m 4s): Both, right. So co I mean, launching premature launch not hooked in correctly. Yeah. Turning the wrong way. Which is something I see sometimes if I'm hiding. Yeah, right. And so how can that be?

Speaker 2 (40m 22s): We've all done it. We've all done it. Yeah, yeah,

Speaker 3 (40m 24s): Totally. Yeah. I, yes. How can it be avoided pre-flight, right? Doing a solid pre-flight check your turn direction before you're launching three times, and then becoming comfortable turning in both directions, which I think is more common, commonly taught these days than it used to be. What do you do when it happens? Fly straight, get away from the hill, and then fix it once you're away from the hill.

Speaker 2 (40m 54s): Can I just make a couple of points on that? I think it's really, it's really key because that twice the, the, the riser twist business of taking off, being lifted off your feet, facing the wing, this happens in strong winds. It's a regular occurrence. If it hasn't happened to you as a pilot, it will happen to you as a pilot. So I think that's where, going back to the kiting is really important. Ground handling as much as you can, using the rear rises in strong conditions in a safe place. Getting your feet off the ground, lifting your feet off the ground, facing the, the wrong way on the wing so that you get used to not just naturally burying it, using your hands for balance.

You know, we, we balance through our backside, we use our body for balance. We don't use our hands for back at no stage when we para, we use our hands to balance. And that's one of the hardest things for pilots to, to learn and to overcome. I mean, and just getting used to being able to fly the back, the glider twisted, facing backwards is quite a good skill. Easy way to do that is, is when you are super high in the air and you are and you're competent. I'm not talking the beginner pilots, I'm talking to experience pilots here and preferably not in pod harnesses, but you can just untwist and face backwards and fly with your hands up flying backwards when the air smooth, when it's calm to do so, then you can steer and control the glider that way.

That's one way you can do that. But obviously there's a strong caveat of having safe conditions to do that in and so on. It became a crazy what?

Speaker 1 (42m 29s): Yes. I've never heard that one. That's a

Speaker 2 (42m 30s): Crazy, you got it crazy a while ago when everyone started doing the acro tricks. Twisted and backwards. Yeah,

Speaker 3 (42m 35s): Mateus rotten. Remember

Speaker 2 (42m 36s): We started flying back. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. And yeah, we, we, we were doing that at work quite a lot flying backwards. And I thought one day I, I'm gonna do a sat backwards and I started, went into a steep turn and is like, no, I'm not. I'm stopping there. That's very nice. But these are good things that you can learn and if you get bored kiting, just having the wing above your head, then find the stronger day, a little slope somewhere, get yourself lifted off and just be comfortable with it.

Because when you get pinged off a hill somewhere san or somewhere like that, where they have the, the, the, the mountain and the urology has that tendency to do so you have to be prepared for

Speaker 1 (43m 25s): It. It's so funny when you, when you say you talk about ground handling and getting plucked and that kind of thing, Russ, that's, you know, as you were talking I started sweating a little bit more. It's fun. I mean I've done the XOs four times. I've done so much of this kind of training, but right now I'm not tuned in. Right. I, I haven't been doing the ground handling and you know, the thought of flying in really strong wind right now still makes me nervous. And it just, it lends so much to the, the, you know, it's not riding a bike. I, I find that ground handling is something you just, we've gotta just keep taking on all the time.

And I'm not trying to just drive it into people's minds cuz it's cliche, but it's, it's so true that I, I find that it's not something we can do enough. I,

Speaker 3 (44m 5s): And I would, I would postulate Gavin that this wasn't the Gavin I knew 10 years ago, you know, that you weren't the one, you know, this is something that you Absolutely, I would say that you've learned this through the four X Alps through, you know, being on the front lines and that, and that you've, it's, it's, it's, it's awesome to see on the other side where you're like, yeah, the other you, it's, it's just funny. Yeah,

Speaker 1 (44m 29s): Totally. I mean, how much, how much of those launches were luck, you know, and just not, not having those skills and I just, just, holy shit, I got lucky there, you know? Yeah, absolutely. But I mean, I think the, I think the, you know, when I watch a True Jedi on the ground, you know, that, that lends so much to not having an accident because you're the person showing up at launch when the conditions are not perfect, knowing you're, you're not gonna blow a single attempt. You know, you're gonna walk up and you're gonna do it. So that's one le that's one huge less thing we gotta think about, isn't it?

Yeah. It's just, that's, I'm gonna nail this.

Speaker 2 (45m 3s): Yeah, but that's hubris. That's hubris. Yeah, because, because no matter how good you get, you still fuck it up. Yeah. Too easily. We've all, we've all fair enough, we've all been there. Fair

Speaker 3 (45m 12s): Enough. I said one tip, just strategically, if I get plucked off the, the ground, I I, I try to smile and say, well yeah, great. I I wanted to go flying today, here I go, you know, and that, that, you know, and, and then that puts me into pilot mode. So knowing instead of being worried and reacting necessarily to neg to a negative input, to be like, great, I'm flying, this is what I came to do. And trying to, you know, and trying to then deal with the, like, you are flying so instantly, no, I'm, I'm flying, I'm not, I'm not falling, I'm not crashing, I'm not, I'm flying.

This is what I came to do. So that's one trick that you might be able to trick yourself with.

Speaker 1 (45m 50s): Yeah. And I think it Russ you, you mentioned suitable conditions for where you are at, at at the right time. And there's certainly, there's the peer pressure aspect of that too, isn't there? I mean, you've got, you know, is is it gonna be rotary? Is there gonna be, is it coming over the back? Can you do the forward instead of reverse? But then there's also, it's an early season, like you said Nick, you're, you're psyched, you're with your, you're with your buds, you haven't seen 'em all winter and everyone want, everybody wants to go flying and it may not be your day. Both of you comment on a little bit just on those, that side of things.

Cuz that's a big part of the game.

Speaker 2 (46m 25s): I think it's the most important part. And I think, you know, wing certification, experience all of these things aside, the, the decision to take off is, is the most important decision you'll make all day. And if you are roughly, if you are not feeling on it, you've had a, you know, a six week, six month layoff, whatever, and it's pinging springtime, mid-April conditions, it's probably not a wise thing to do to take off in that.

You're better off doing sled rides first thing in the morning, late evening, soaring, building up your time. Be like, Nate, you know, don't, don't be a fool. And, and just go straight at it on the good days. A and that's really hard to do. It's really hard to do when you've got your friends out there who maybe are a bit more in Tune, been flying more, went away for the winter, did a, did a few weeks flight in Mexico, Columbia, whatever, and then they're back and they're flying in the stronger stuff and enjoying it.

If you're not enjoying it, what's the point in doing this if you're not enjoying it? It's a risk award thing. And if, if the risks are much higher than the reward, then then stop and live to fly another day. I think that's the most critical decision and that's what's gonna keep you, if you are disciplined with yourself, you know where you are at as a pilot, you know where you are at with your own currency, then, you know, have confidence in your own decisions and don't look at others too much and follow the, the

Speaker 3 (47m 51s): Issue. And that would be another example, Russ, where safety equals performance. When I'm talking about getting to, if we're, if our goal is to get to be able to fly in larger and larger conditions, the quickest way to get there is to not have the fear flights. It would be to do this, it's what date's doing a progression, a steady progression up. And then you'll, you will, you will achieve the performance quicker. And so that, that's what I mean by safety can equal performance. A lot of times people want to jump the shark and say, oh, well performance means performance.

I'm gonna send it. And that's what performance means. And it's like, well no, it's a, it's a, it's a progress. I guess too, I would like people to know when they're out there that, that they are not alone in their, in their fear and their experience and that it is okay. You know, like that if they're feeling it, I guarantee that if I were there or if Gavin were there, we would be feeling it, you know, no, even with all I've taken six months off, I'm right back to where they, you know, and so that they're not alone. And to, to know that this is normal and that the, the what is safety equal, you know, how, how will, you know, sometimes I'll ask will safety equal performance here?

Well, if the answer's yes, you know, it's kind of like vendi, you know, a a fa or a a diagram. If the answer's yes, well then I'll choose that path, you know, if the answer is no, then excuse me. But the the point is just trying to be aware of it so that you know it's affecting you. That to me is one of the most important bits to just be kind of a, a passenger in this game is where people get hurt to be a active participant and to be in, you know, in charge of these decisions. Even if you're making bad ones. In my opinion, if you're in charge of 'em, I'm okay, great, you're you.

At least were not a passenger and I think that you're, you know, you could be prepared to bring it them. The other thing that I would like people to understand is that when you're up there and you're feeling it, I'm pr I I, if I were there in the same experience, I would be feeling it too.

Speaker 1 (49m 39s): Yeah, good. That's, that's really, that's important and key. Thanks Nick. Do you, i i we pulled you off your data sheet there, there was more to that. Let's get back to that. What, what, what are some more things that came out of Chris's study?

Speaker 3 (49m 52s): Three. So he has for the, it's for, so that the point, they fly mini wings a lot and so, and I know they have a lot, they have a barrel roll as number two. I would say ground spiral we could probably add in there. I don't think that, I think people have finally moved away from the ground spiral and the majority of people anyway. We still have a few, but I, I see very few here. But anyway, how does it happen? Ground impact due to insufficient clearance. How can it be avoided? Victims usually say, I can't believe I tried to throw a 360 there after they are out of the hospital.

Make a deal with yourself. This is a good one. I think I will not 360 if I am below this altitude. 360 s are big life changing choices. So the, the the the point has a lot of, they have a lot of barrel roll accidents. So I, I think just keeping ground clearance, I think we could probably also shift it to that, that there's, there's, you know, early in the spring keeping higher margins for error, not turning, you know, no need to be turning d you know, that close to the hill. Again, back to Russ's, I risk versus reward is always high on my list.

What am I, you know, what, what am I doing? Why am I turn, why am I this close to the hill this early on? You know, this isn't, this isn't part of my ramping up training to performance protocol.

Speaker 1 (51m 6s): Anything else on there that came outta Chris's study that we need to talk about?

Speaker 3 (51m 10s): Top landings number three. How does it happen? Ground impact due to a force landing. How could it be avoided? Do not attempt at sites not normally top landed. Do not attempt at sites unfamiliar to you. Practice multiple approaches. Know that there's always a side of the launch favorable to the wind. Generally avoid flapping.

Speaker 1 (51m 33s): Yeah, I would say too, I, I see I see a lot of pretty bad flapping and you know, there's, there's a clip of me doing it really badly in the 2015 race. This is something that, you know, s i v instructors have, you know, helped me to understand, you know, you need to do this with a lot of altitude over, you know, a safe place. And do I, I learned it from Carlos. Yeah, I saw him remember Nick, you and I bombed out at one of the something down in Mexico and he came in cuz those guys got a land in, in Vancouver corrugated you, it's not corrugated, you know, the horrible fences in co in Caracas down in Venezuela that are all barbed wire and everything.

And he came in from about 50 feet on the ice peak six, just doing these deep, powerful, wham and then let it fly and wham and then let it fly. And there's a right way to, to flap and that's the right way to do it. But these are the things we wanna learn, you know, in the correct e environment. But yeah, that top landing is certainly one of the,

Speaker 3 (52m 33s): I'd like to, I'd like to

Speaker 1 (52m 34s): One, get folks something. Go ahead there

Speaker 3 (52m 37s): You guys I don't top land anymore. I'm too scared to, I am not current enough. I fly across country and I haven't, I've, I've tried top landing once last year and kind of blew it. And I real, I'm like, I, I am not current enough to top land. I think be top landing is a art and a skill that needs to be practiced and have muscle that needs to be utilized constantly. And my kiting, nor my kiting nor my acro, are good enough to top land at this point in my career.

I could not top land in shalan you top land in Shalan this year. I could, I couldn't do that safely. That would be, that would be almo. Yeah. I'd be like, well, I got like a 70 30 that I might not go to the hospital on this, you know? And so look, I won the shalan comp last year. So I guess that's the other thing to, to know, you know, to be, you know, like we're just telling, be honest with yourself, you know, look, look inside, right? Yeah. But, but, and no, like, if you're coming in and you're like, dude, I don't, I don't stay away from top. I don't, top landing is one of the more dangerous things you could do.

Typically, it's thermic, right? And that's the thing with the hike and fly gating and popularity. I, I, I see, I am concerned that people are, they don't quite understand because they see Crego land fly on the wall or they see d Gotti land and, and you know, and they're nailing it and it's because they are the, that guy can do an infinite tumble for a hundred revolutions that, you know, the other one is a complete, you know, acro savage, you know. So I think that a lot, they don't quite realize the real nuance. You know, Carlos, one of the reasons he was a fantastic aerobatic pilot, but also he flew tandems in Vancouver and they had to land every day in a slot that's, it's like a half of a baseball diamond, right?

So, you know, with a fence at the end. So like the, you know, so, so I think that that top landing is one of the most underrated skillsets that of, of a complete pilot. Like that being able to talk is a real, I mean, it's a real art of a fully complete pilot. Not somebody who can take off and land, not somebody who can thermal and pick cross country lines. Not somebody who I could stall a wing, I can helicopter, but I can't top land. So knowing that and, and, and then working up to it, right? So then that would be that progression. Again, I, I, I acknowledge I have a problem.

I am humbled in your, the face of the, the, oh, so difficult top landing. I'm gonna go to Tory Pines and start there, right? I'm gonna go somewhere where it's sea level, okay, back to my roots as well, sea level. And I can, you know, and so, and then building up from there. So I think some of, sometimes what's going on is the full complexity of these maneuvers aren't necessarily avid.

Speaker 2 (55m 17s): Hey, Nick, Nick, Nick, but Nick. But surely if you're struggling with this top landing thing, if you've got this top landing in Gremlin, don't go to Tory Pines. You're gonna be in the water.

Speaker 3 (55m 31s): Love the nude beach.

Speaker 2 (55m 33s): Truth.

Speaker 3 (55m 34s): I just hope I land on the beach. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (55m 35s): Yeah, yeah. I think what you're saying is very true for small thermic takeoffs and top landing areas in mountains, high altitude, thermic conditions, you know, for, for many people in the world that fly at lower level, I'm thinking of British pilots off the top of my head, and people from Belgium and places like this where, where top landing is a normal thing. It's what's, it's what's learned in, in school. So just to make that distinction, I think Nick's talking about, you know, high level, high, high altitude, thermic, light wind, you where yeah, the chances of when you get it wrong are, are very severe.

Speaker 3 (56m 13s): Thank you. Yep.

Speaker 1 (56m 15s): Yeah. And your your point Nick too to, to who is it that you're looking at in the sky? Will Gad taught me that, you know, you could be at a launch in Fiche on a really feisty day and you see somebody doing this wicked tail slide and helicopter and then little touch and go and, and that pilot might be kriegel, you know, the, the stuff that we are seeing these guys do with the fly on the wall landings, you know, so downwind uphill. It is absurdly hard to nail that. And I know that because I practiced it here in deep snow, and if it hadn't been deep snow, I would be in the hospital over and over and over and over again.

And I still screw it up and I screwed it up a lot in the last race. And so, I mean, these are things that, we've saw this in the last Veco fly. They had to cancel the race. And Nick Nan's very competent pilot who, you know, of course they had a terrible accident last year, not in this race, but in the Veco fly, they had to cancel the race because there were so many accidents, top landing. And so the, you know, this is something that, like you said, I I think it's really the premier end of the, of the sport in the wrong conditions. It's really requires a lot of skill and you, you've gotta always have a, have an escape.

But

Speaker 3 (57m 28s): So, and it goes, and I, and I think, and I think it goes back to that, just that list we can repeat again, do not attempt at sites not normally top landed. Do not attempt at sites unfamiliar to you practice multiple approaches, right? That's, that's one thing I do, I, I approach. And then I always wave off know that there's always a side of the launch, favorable of the wind and generally avoid flapping. So anyway, this is a great review by Chris and, and the vacs and review committee. So top, top four common pitfalls. One deflations, maybe we can ask Russ, how do you, how to best deal with Deflations?

Speaker 2 (58m 4s): Well, I mean, we're all a big low down deflation away from hospital, you know, I mean, we, that's always our biggest danger. And no matter how good or experienced you are, no matter how much you fly, that's always the risk, which is why altitude is always your friend. Every deflation is unique and it depends on the, the proportion of the wing that's deflated, the kink angle, the air that the glider is trying to recover in the, the moment where you were at the time where you were in role or pitch.

So every collapse is unique. Hopefully you have a very flat, small collapse and the glider doesn't change direction and you don't need to do anything. The worst one is a big, large, heavy king angled collapse on the inside when you're close to the rock place. All of these collapses require different and unique inputs to get away from safely. And some you can't get away from safely. So altitude above the ground conditions that you're flying in gliders that you are capable of flying and maintaining and keeping open in turbulent air your active flying skills and training the best so that you are in the best position to be able to deal with that situation.

When, when the, when it, when it occurs. Another thing I'm a strong advocate is looking at the wing so you know exactly what the collapse is as soon as it comes in. There's no guesswork, there's no, you know, you, you, your, you your eyes work faster than you'll feel and you'll be able to mostly input most of it you can. And that's another good thing with two liners for competent pilots, you can pretty much stop if you can. Occasionally you'll get a checky Jackie Chan collapse, which just takes the wing out of the air, like watch out and there's, you get no warning.

So they're the hardest ones to deal with. But most of the time you get a loss of pressure, you get a reduction of tension in the airlines, you, you, you get a slight warning where an instantaneous collab input can just minimize it. And if you're, if you're on the bees already, even if you're pushing full speed and 70% of the wing starts to come by the time you input, you've just got a small wing tip collapse. So you can stop a massive amount with, with good active control on the rises or the brakes, depending on where you are, what speed you're flying at.

I think they're, they're the key elements, but we can't avoid that. And, and, and it's, it's what makes paragliding dangerous and it's why we try and make wings that are solid, more collapsed resistant.

Speaker 3 (1h 0m 46s): Russ, you said something to me that changed my flying forever and it was never by a red wig. Oh, sorry. No, I'm just kidding. It was you, you said, you said, I said it was the R 10.2 and I said, Russ, what do I do when it collapses? And you, and, and you said, don't let it collapse. And I know that seems very simple, but it, for some reason, my whole mindset changed at that moment where I went from re you know, reactive to proactive and, and I never flew the same again. And it was just, you know, and I don't know if you know that you did, like that's one of your teaching points or what have you, but I think to me it was very salient because I was, I had come from the comp wings before certification, right.

And I was, you know, flying them in Jackson and Sun Valley. And so I think I was terrified, you know, to some extent deep down. And I was always, what do I do when it collapses? What do I do? And then don't let it collab. And to me, that changed the way I managed the wing forever. Yeah. And so the, the goal was then never let it collapse. Not what do I do if it collapses. Yeah. So thank you for that and, and hopefully that makes sense. Yeah. I don't know if it does to other people, but I mean, we can pass that on.

Speaker 2 (1h 1m 55s): No, it definitely does Nick

Speaker 1 (1h 1m 56s): Keep going on your list. I, I, I couldn't agree more. That was something, I don't know where I picked that up too, but it was, it just was a total mindset. You just, I, you know, now I don't know what people are talking about when they talk about frontals. No, I, that doesn't happen. You don't, you shouldn't have frontal you're on two layer don't have frontal don't, doesn't happen. It helps.

Speaker 2 (1h 2m 14s): They, they, they can and they do happen though. And which is why the training is really important that you're prepared for when it is. But yeah, I think, you know, I I, I often talk to comp pilots who, who complain, oh, I think I'm over inputting the wing, I'm over inputting the wing. And it's like, well, you know what? It's better to be an over inputter and keep the thing open than to not input enough and take the wing in your face every now and then. So I think, I think, and that's where, you know, going back to what you were talking about, the EMC two liners, and I think that's where for the right pilot, having just A and B lines is, is really beneficial to your control of the wing throughout the speed range.

You can achieve it with three liner wings. It's not another world, it's a, it's just slightly better when you've just got A and B lines and you can really control the angle of attack fully when you're accelerating. You can, you can have, you can hold the speed bar at fully extended at full speed and you can just pull the risers, your B risers back to trim speed instantaneously, you know, and so you've got full angle of attack control and coupled with the good, fastest, fastest knee in the west with those two inputs, you can, you can normally deal with pretty much every collapse or, or you can at least minimize the size of the collapse or the severity of the turn and the log

Speaker 3 (1h 3m 41s): Back to our top four common pitfalls, two stalls and spins, Russ, you wanna talk us through how to deal with stalls and spins?

Speaker 2 (1h 3m 51s): Well, you shouldn't really stall or spin modern day wings, really. That's probably rustiness poor training, using your hands to balance rather than balancing through your body. But I would say inadvertent stalling, inadvertent spinning is lack of experience, lack of training, lack of practice. These things need to be addressed. I I, I would, I, there has to be inexperienced pilots doing this. It's very uncommon for experienced pilots to spin and install modern day rings.

It used to be the case when we had really high profiles, high openings in the nose, all of these things, which, which promote quite fast stalls, fast spins or early stalls, early spins, most modern wings. They're, they're, you've got to ignore a lot of warning signs before you get to that place. They still do happen, but it's rarer,

Speaker 1 (1h 4m 52s): You know, Nick, I wonder, you know, it might be, it might be helpful for the audience to understand that this report came from the point, the point is a windy site, it's a coast, it'd be, it'd be like a coastal soaring site in the mountains. And I, I think where people mess up there is speed over ground. You know, they're, they're, you know, when you're coastal soaring and when you're flying at the point you're barely moving cuz there's so much wind and then suddenly you go fly a mountain site and you're not flying in that and you're, you're, you're, you're not flying in that, that kind of breeze and you forget that you need speed to have input in your wing.

And I, I think that that can often lead people to just getting too deep in the brakes. Right. Is would you agree with that?

Speaker 3 (1h 5m 37s): Yeah, I think so. And, and you know, gosh, when have I seen it? Yeah, just people, you know, newer pilots thermally sometimes trying to slow down for traffic, right? Getting worried that they're encroaching if they're, if they're flying with gliders with different speeds. So in vae I've seen, you know, you know, newer pilots, you know, forgetting that again, it's, it's that, it's the balance, it's the hands, the separation and kind of maybe a fear slowing down because they, they're, they're out of the traffic pattern.

So I, I think just being aware of, of your air speed right, is, is kind of the, the, the deal there. So I, I think another place that we see stall sometimes is people confusing. You know, basically when they get a massive frontal and they try to open it up with break and it goes right to stall. So can you explain, you know, should it be renamed frontal stall or is it still a front, you know, how big does a frontal have to be until it's a stall, I guess is my question?

Speaker 2 (1h 6m 42s): Well, it doesn't need any renaming. The Germans call it front stall. That's what they, that's what they've always termed it. Most frontal. Well

Speaker 3 (1h 6m 50s): We need to rename it then.

Speaker 2 (1h 6m 53s): Most frontals, if you most frontals when they come, they open from the center and towards the tip and ref without stall. It's quite rare that you get a frontal that stalls immediately without input. It can happen, it can happen. We've seen that in prototypes and in certain wings. There are certain situations in which that can happen. But the over inputting frontal into stall is, is a rarity. I've done it myself actually.

But if that happens and you've, we

Speaker 3 (1h 7m 25s): See it quite a bit, I would say I see it relatively frequently. Do

Speaker 2 (1h 7m 29s): Wait on

Speaker 3 (1h 7m 29s): In via like

Speaker 2 (1h 7m 30s): On what wings is this?

Speaker 3 (1h 7m 32s): Bees and Cs, CS more C wings more. Yeah, I I mean you, you'll often I'll be like, oh they, they stalled the frontal, you know, when I see people just whips, you know, whip you know, cascading out of the sky usually leads to a cascade, right. Because they realize they Oh shit. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (1h 7m 52s): But I, I would imagine, yeah. But yeah, I'd like to see those incidents. I, I mean cuz what can happen with a lot of wings, and again this is something that certification will never show you or or the grade on the paper will never show you, is that a paralytic can, can, can take a frontal open and end up in parachute store and then redly and that's totally fine for certification. That's, that's got nothing to do with certification. Okay? What contends to happen is people can end up in that situation, they're in Parat and they've applied a little break as a natural input and that's what develops it into a tail slidey situation, which then they put their hands up in the glider shoots and it's recovering in that shitty air that it just took the frontal wrong.

And that's what causes the, rather than the wing just going directly back into stall, it'll probably go into that, that vague area of stall and backf fly and then, which is provoked by another small input from the pilot.

Speaker 3 (1h 8m 53s): I guess I've seen it almost so frequently. I'm on a bit of a crusade to educate people that, you know, to, to, if you get a frontal to treat it, you know, to slap it, but then let it fly, you know, and, and yeah. And be be, you know, be really prepared to be, you know, to for less input less is more sometimes to, to treat it rough at first. Yeah. But then cause anyway, I I, it's just something I've noticed over the last few years where I'm like, well there's another one where they didn't just let it fly. So

Speaker 1 (1h 9m 24s): I, I think this is one of the, this is one of those things where, you know, I, I was flying quite a rowdy day a few years back and I, I think pilots and I, I got into a parachute situation and didn't recognize it. I, I recognized that I, that I needed to let the wing fly, but in my mind, my hands were all the way up. And I think, you know, when you're, when we do a lot of s i v training, we recognize parachuting much better. And, and because our hand, when we get tight and anxious and scared, our hands start coming down.

Speaker 3 (1h 9m 58s): Right? I was hands up. So

Speaker 1 (1h 9m 58s): Here Nick, all these incidents you've seen, I'll bet you anything that pilot will say if you ask him, my hands were up. I don't know why it wasn't flying and you weren't, your hands are down in your ass. And, and I, I think this is one of the things that s i v really teaches us is that cognizance of what really is hands up versus my hands were up man. And you look at the video and they're scratching their their ass.

Speaker 2 (1h 10m 22s): Yeah, but not always. I mean you can also, if the, if a glider frontals and opens and enters that parachute stage, you can have your hands near your shoulders or even even above your shoulders and can still hold it in, in a parachute stall. So I think again, I mean again, this goes back to training, doesn't it, it goes back to, i it goes back to our awareness, it goes back to the, our comfort zones. You know, if I'm, I mean taking a collapse in real life is never a pleasant experience, but if I'm high above the terrain, it's not something that really bothers me because I'm so practiced and trained in it.

And, and I think that's, that's just born from training and practice. And I think that's why this, that's why I'm a great advocate of so, and continuous training so that when you are in these situations, you can, you're in the, you're in the right mindset, you're in the right head space to be able to make the right input to avoid these cascading events. Cuz it's these cascading events that I, I've always said that, you know, the worst thing the air can do to me is, is collapse the week. And as long as you can deal with collapses, everything else should re shouldn't really be an issue.

But it's the cascading event that occurs after the collapse that occurs normally because of a wrong input or, or no input or whatever the wrong action at the time to, to get the glider flying. So again, it comes back to defensive fly and it's like we're saying, you know, you don't let the glider collapse. You don't let the glider go into auto rotation. Auto rotation is a term I really dislike. I dunno, it's become a kind of norm. But I really fight back against auto rotation because there is no auto, you are the pilot, you are always in control.

Okay? So never let the wing rotate. Okay. And don't fob it off as it, it went into auto rotation. No, you, the pilot allowed the wing to go into rotation. Okay. Don't resolve responsibility for that.

Speaker 3 (1h 12m 25s): So convenience is a big one. And this is one we've always talked about being willing to be inconvenienced being a key to safety. So top one of the top four pitfalls, not being willing, you know, not, not wanting to face inconvenience kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Speaker 1 (1h 12m 40s): Yeah. I mean you, you taught me a lot about this, you know, when we started flying the, the Intermountain wide open out here, you know, you might as well land where it's really safe to land. You don't need to just push the gamut at the end of the day and, you know, keep things reasonable.

Speaker 3 (1h 12m 55s): Yeah. I think for me too, there's a style for flying cross country that how I finish is important. That I don't just fly into the middle of nowhere and, and uncertainty and, and kind of just, and danger essentially that I'm gonna choose to finish the flight in a reasonable, logical place. As, as that is part of the fashion of, of flying a successful landing is, is important to successfully completing a cross-country flight. So if I can land by a beer and a burger, even better, it

Speaker 2 (1h 13m 23s): Turns out overrated.

Speaker 3 (1h 13m 27s): No, I, I mean we, I've seen this and I learned this from accident reports when I was editing the USBA magazine, it was the number one reason was people, I want, I didn't wanna land far from my car. I, you know, I didn't wanna walk this far. There was mud over there. There was, it's a constant excuse of reasons, but you know, what I teach in, in some of what I'm guiding is, is to, you know, for people to, you know, lean into the, to the suffering and yell adventure and enjoy that because you'll remember that time when you had to crawl over that fence and through the mud and over much more so than the flight you had for the next decade.

And so, you know, trying to turn it around and saying that is the best place to land, that is the safest place. And especially after long flights, when you're tired, you're dehydrated, you know, maybe it's day five of a, of a course or a, a competition really picking the best place to land. And, and, and I think for me it's, you know, why I don't just fly in the middle of nowhere is cause when I'm tired I want to go over and fly the field a number of times. I wanna have enough altitude that I'm approaching the plays so that I can look for power lines and I can look for water and I can look for all the things that you know and find a nice place to land.

And I think that's really the, the, to me, the crux of it. But you know, remember that just is where the adventure starts is often when you land, especially if you're far out in other countries.

Speaker 2 (1h 14m 45s): Is there anything else on that list? Nick traffic

Speaker 3 (1h 14m 47s): Pattern is number four. Great.

Speaker 2 (1h 14m 50s): Yeah, I was gonna say because I

Speaker 3 (1h 14m 52s): Fly predictably. Yeah, yeah. No late breaking maneuvers. Be aware of who's around communicate. I would add use hand signals and gestures if you're having trouble, you know, trying to really, you know, link up and yell at a per, you know, point and, and then also, you know, be a nice driver. You know, don't be the aggressive, don't be that guy or girl that is, you know, the New York driver. Top six ways to fly safe practice reserve deployments.

Number one, what's your rule of thumb for reserves? Russ,

Speaker 2 (1h 15m 30s): Don't throw them. Don't need to throw.

Speaker 3 (1h 15m 32s): Okay. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1 (1h 15m 35s): Good qualifier.

Speaker 2 (1h 15m 36s): Yeah, I don't mean don't throw them,

Speaker 1 (1h 15m 38s): There's something else coming here.

Speaker 2 (1h 15m 39s): Yeah. Avoid situations where you need to use parachutes. I don't really have any golden rules, rules of thumb for parachutes other than, you know, if in doubt get it out is always a good thing. That's why training is really important because when you train you, you, you, you understand the wing, you, you recognize points where you can recover or more importantly you recognize places where, okay, this is irrecoverable now I can't do anything here.

And once you reach that situation, that's when you just need to get your, your your parachute out. I like flying with two parachutes. The reason I like flying with two parachutes is because my most likely position to be when I need to throw a reserve will be fully cravat with about 15 twists and I'm in a SAT position. These are kind of irrecoverable position places to be pretty much. And in, in such instances it's very common for the parachute to enter into the wing and not deployed properly.

So the idea of having a second chance, a second go at that is appealing to me. Whether it is actually better or not, I dunno, but it's appealing to me. So flying with two reserves, knowing your limits, knowing, understanding glider controls, you can recognize situations that a, you can recover from or b, you cannot recover.

Speaker 1 (1h 17m 4s): While we're talking about reserves, do you Russ do you have suggestion for when we should be repacking, when we should take that on? Is that a, is that a springtime event for you or should it be for everybody trimming and repacking?

Speaker 2 (1h 17m 22s): Yes. I think repacking at least once a year is a very wise thing to do. We've seen with studies that they can create static energy, which can keep them in their pack. But I, I think I'm no expert in this, but I don't often see really clean deployments that result in the parachute not opening normally as soon as a small amount of air catches in one of the skirts, it bangs open relatively quickly With modern designs nowadays, if you have an undereat reserve, it's good idea to not habitually sit down on your harness on it all the time and crush it.

But I think the biggest influence in the opening times is, is is whether it goes into your wing or not. So deploying it in such a way to, to reduce that chance is, is your best option. But I, it's, yeah, most manufacturers will recommend the six months or an annual repack annually I'd say. Is, is the,

Speaker 3 (1h 18m 24s): And how many reserve deployments have you guys seen in your career and how many people have been injured from them?

Speaker 2 (1h 18m 33s): I, I've seen a lot of reserve deployments cuz I used to teach siv, so I've seen quite a few there. And, and when you spend a lot of time in OERs, you see reserve deployments almost every day from people. I've also seen a lot in the testing in the, in the certification process and in the testing world, we, we, we get it occasionally and also from acro looking at a lot of ac you can you, that's where you are most likely to see reserve deployments, but I don't think I've seen many injuries of people landing under parachutes.

So it's, it's, it's, it's always a good idea to to, to get it out nice and early. There's no point in fighting a loss, you know, when the sick, when the, when the ship is sinking, just jump off.

Speaker 3 (1h 19m 22s): I think I've seen over a hundred easily in just in competition. I saw, I, I wanna say I saw 10 or 12 at one British open in Peter Heto once in a week. I mean the bri they were just getting them out anyway. I've never seen anyone injured. I tried to impress that on people that they, they work really, really well, shockingly well in my opinion. And to, and again, to get, get it out early. If, if if you're, if you're going down and you don't know what to do, get your reserve out.

Speaker 2 (1h 19m 52s): Yeah.

Speaker 1 (1h 19m 53s): Russ, can you refresh everybody? You're in that, you know, massive cravat, twisted up scenario. You're in a pretty violent auto rotation. How should you throw it?

Speaker 2 (1h 20m 8s): I don't know. I don't have a great deal of direct experience here. So I'm working on a anecdotal stories from acro friends and people who've been in these situations. I think the most important thing is a, to locate your handle very quickly. If you look on the, if you look on the internet, Dr. Wilkes has done a really good, Matt Wilkes has done a really good study on it. And how we naturally hand position goes down to our hit.

So first of all, you need to know exactly all times where your reserve handle is. If you're swapping and changing harnesses, then make sure you, you really know exactly where your handle is praxis going for your handle blindly. And because what's really important, and this is something I've learned recently, is in very high G situations, once your hand goes down to the reserve, if you miss it and your hand goes down lower, it's not coming back again. You can't lift your hand back up again unless you can reduce the G.

Okay? So it's important that you get your handle first time every time and then it's, you just have to do the best you can to throw it into clean space. But I'm not the most qualified to really comment on that. I'd say

Speaker 1 (1h 21m 32s): I was, I was told that I, in that situation, you know, best to recover the auto rotation first, obviously, but if can't, you know, the, that you throw it down, you throw it basically at your feet as hard as you can try to get it, that's the cleanest air, right? If we, if we throw it behind us, like we're taught, that's where it can, it can, it's more likely to go into the wing if we, as opposed to throwing it down. But then also, you know, we have to think about the, the, the space that we're in when we're in our auto rotation.

You can think of it like a sat right? And I think, I think the down is is the thing, but it's, which is counterintuitive. I I think that's where people screw it up is, you know, wait a minute, I'm throwing this down. Yeah, but I, I, I believe that's the, someone can correct me, but I believe that's, well

Speaker 2 (1h 22m 18s): That's, I think that that is counterintuitive, but I think that's pretty good. It makes total sense. So thank you for that nugget Gavin, thank you.

Speaker 3 (1h 22m 30s): Practice ground handling, which we've, we've discussed trim your glider and look after your equipment so you know, after a season or you know, it says 30 hours here, that seems short to me depending on your glider, but I think still inspecting your glider, you know, treating it like an aircraft and, and going through all that. What do you think about trimming gliders there Russ for, is there,

Speaker 2 (1h 22m 57s): I think trimming gliders is, yes, it's important, but it's not the difference between having an accident or not. If your glider's slightly out of trim, you can't blame that on an accident. Correct. You know, there was something else that caused the accident that's not gonna cause you an accident. It just means you lose a little bit of top speed, a little bit of trim speed or maybe the handling's not quite as good as it or sharp as it could be. But you know, it's, it's a bit like smashing someone up the rear end in your car and blaming the fact that, well, you know, you'd worn your brake pads halfway down, you know, that was nothing to do with the incident, it's it.

So yeah, no trimming in the wing is important, but there's very few wings. I know modern wings that will be out of trim in terms of safety or causing an accident.

Speaker 3 (1h 23m 47s): Avoid water, landings, hug a tree. All, almost all tree landings are happy endings. Ditch and ditch. Well pretty good advice. Who doesn't like a happy tree landing? Yeah, yeah,

Speaker 2 (1h 24m 2s): Yeah. Happy ending.

Speaker 1 (1h 24m 4s): Yeah, I think, you know, Rob Spore talked about this when I had him on the show that one of the, one of the things he sees lead to a lot of accidents is people coming into the LZ and you know, blowing their final and forcing it to the grass rather than hugging a tree. You know, so, so just doing a last minute low turn or high G turn to try to, because your peers are there and you don't wanna look like an ass and you just forget that trees are really pretty nice in general

Speaker 3 (1h 24m 37s): Forecast your weather is the last one.

Speaker 1 (1h 24m 40s): Guys, we've covered a lot of topics there. I I think that was fantastic. Is there anything we missed? Anything summary or anything you guys wanna, wanna end on?

Speaker 2 (1h 24m 51s): Yeah, I think, I think it's just important, like we've sort of said earlier, it's really interesting listening to Nick's to the report there. I'm surprised that ground spiraling even makes it into a report like that because it's not something that is generally done unless it's done by very competent pilots. But I think the major causes of accidents are, are certainly rustiness, poor training, lack of experience and flying conditions that are just too strong for us.

And I think if, if there's one takeaway from this whole discussion is that, you know, every day it's flyable doesn't mean it's flyable for you and especially this time of the year. And let's all be a little bit more like Nate and build up to it gradually get the timing under our belts, get the trading, identify where you are rusty, identify your weaknesses. You have to do that as a pilot. If you don't identify your own weaknesses as a pilot, you, you'll not have a long and successful career.

And as soon as you identify weaknesses, then that's, that's the first hard step. And you can always make measures to improve it, but never be scared of not taking off.

Speaker 3 (1h 26m 8s): I'm gonna, I'm gonna reach out to Dylan Benedetti right now.

Speaker 1 (1h 26m 11s): Yes, there you go. That's a nice thing to do in the spring. I appreciate you both, as does our community. Thank you so much for your time and your wisdom and sharing between the two of you. How many years, my goodness. A lot of experience here. So thank you very much. I I really appreciate it and I know our audience,

Speaker 3 (1h 26m 30s): Thank you Gavin. This is an amazing resource and I, I hear constantly from people in the community how grateful they are for it. So keep up the good work.

Speaker 2 (1h 26m 38s): Thanks. Thank you Gavin. Thanks Russ. Thank

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Speaker 0 (1h 29m 1s): Thank you.


Comments

2 thoughts on “Episode 194- The Spring Tune up with Nick Greece and Russ Ogden

  1. Dudes! I am guilty. I learned to fly with Chris Santacroce and Shane Denherder.
    And, a couple of years later, I found myself living in an old trailer at the Southside Point of the Mountain.
    Getting divorced and shit.
    Progressing, feeling like I’m becoming a good pilot.
    And I’m plenty high over the top of the ridge, and I’d been learning to thermal, and turning lots of circles.
    So, “I just thought I’d throw a big circle over the ridge” and nail my top landing.
    And I did.
    I was feeling like I was some kinda hero and that was my new signature move.
    And then Chris Santacroce wandered up. And said, “So, let’s debrief this morning”.
    Awe shit. Mucho humble. Learned a lot. Probably saved my life a few times.
    Gaw Damn, I love that guy.
    And I had a hard time with him early on in my learning process. He’s not just easy, ya know?
    Just saying, The learning process is ongoing. Especially if you are open and humble. And I aspire to be.
    Stay humble and keep learning people.
    And listen to the folks who really know some shit.

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