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Letter to the FAA

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Old May 25th 17, 02:46 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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Default Letter to the FAA

What a lot of people obviously do not realize is that there are some applications where ONLY a Schweizer (not "Schweitzer") release is FAA approved. Getting authorization for a Tost may not be so easy.

And, yes, asking the FAA for advice can have very negative results. The owners Centrair Pegase 101 gliders were hit with an AD that limited them to a 3,000 hour life because of a "question" posed by a potential buyer. It took nine years of effort to get that resolved. (Sort of resolved, anyway.)
Old May 25th 17, 02:54 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Yep you want to really make things better, start getting STCs for Tost hook installations. Then people don't have to shop mechanics and fsdo's to get 337's approved.
Old May 25th 17, 03:09 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Charlie M. (UH & 002 owner/pilot)
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Make the numbers matter, do a world list, I wonder if we would even break a dozen broken ships even worldwide.....let alone fatalities.

Open canopies probably break more gliders.
Old May 25th 17, 03:51 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Dan Marotta
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Default Letter to the FAA

....Or those who don't want to fly without another FAA regulation could
simply quit flying and let the rest of us make our own decisions.

And, in anticipation of the most often argument I've heard, no tow pilot
is forced to fly a plane that he's not comfortable with.


On 5/25/2017 7:09 AM, wrote:
Self-regulation is a really good idea. So, Wallace and Burt (and the
others), how many of your tugs have Schweizer releases? What plans do
you have for replacing them with Tost - or, at least, inverting them?

In your own time, without FAA mandates, without bureaucratic
interference, without your tugs being grounded, during the slack
season, of your own 'self-regulating' free will?

No dates even pencilled in? Better write that letter, Walt.

Dan, 5J
Old May 25th 17, 04:08 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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If you get the Tost Tow Reel mod (that IS approved for Pawnees) you get a standard Tost release thrown in for free!

We have one Pawnee with the Tost Reel and one with the old Schweizer release. Guess which one is used more.

Guess which one is scheduled to have it's tow system upgraded (parts already in hand).


St Louis Soaring Assn.
Old May 25th 17, 04:40 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Paul Agnew
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Default Letter to the FAA


The British Gliding Association keeps tabs on tow upsets, but here in the US we tend to sweep these events under the rug lest we find ourselves being scrutinized by the FAA. The SSA should be taking on the role that the BGA has, but once again, nobody wants to upset the apple cart. I'd love to see an SSA ASAP system for reporting safety events for review without putting anyone in jeopardy for self-disclosure.

Walt has a legitimate concern based on events that were potentially fatal to him, the tow pilot. In reality, there are very few options to get anything done about it. He lost his job over his concerns for his and other tow pilots' safety. Think about that for a few minutes. He had two major tow upsets, one at very low altitude, and is now compelled to investigate and report the failings in our current systems and practices. Will it amount to much from the FAA? I doubt it. Why? The NTSB only cares if there is blood on the ground. The FAA only cares if someone can make a name for him/herself for taking a noticable action against an operator (in my opinion.) The NASA ASRS reporting system is a nice, feel-good program that accomplishes nothing. Scares and almost-accidents do not get much attention unless it makes the news.

The fear of the FAA reading one report and suddenly deciding this is the issue of the year to be resolved is naive. Until there is a pattern of fatalies, it will not get much attention. It's our responsibility to periodically re-evaluate how we do things and make the changes ahead of the FAA, not in response to the FAA.

I would think the Soaring Safety Foundation would be interested in a comprehensive dialog about this issue. I'm perplexed that the proposed solution to a mechanical design flaw is just "more training". Let's shed the emotion and take a serious look at the facts in these events and properly investigate whether it is a significant safety issue or not.

Paul Agnew
Old May 25th 17, 06:06 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Charlie M. (UH & 002 owner/pilot)
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Default Letter to the FAA

I, and likely others, understand that there is a potential here for problems.
Yes, there are fixes, some cheaper/easier than others.
Yes, being on the wrong end during an upset can make a person more adamant about fix. You ARE the PIC, so you have a say in every flight. If it's wrong for you, then don't do it.

Maybe SSA or SSF need to do a blind survey (similar to a NASA report) to find out how many "close ones" there were along with actual incidents, fatal or not.
Then you have some numbers to work with.
You would also have some ammo to at least "strongly suggest" at least inverting a "poor hitch" to lessen the issue.

To get the FAA involved, regardless of intent, I feel is wrong. There are times to get them going, I don't think this is one of them.

Old May 25th 17, 07:19 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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Default Letter to the FAA

In other words, your saying, let's not talk about Seminole Lake Gliderport terminating poor Walt for bringing up safety concerns after 2 near accidents. That's clearly a deflection to avoid embarrassment.

If you want to deflect the conversation, then let's talk about how contestants violate airspace regulations and get penalized 1,060 points. What lessons can we learn from that too??

Perhaps a letter to the SSA is in order to block contest sanctioning to gliderports that have a know history of disregarding legitimate safety concerns. Maybe there are safer operations available that can host the 18M nationals?
Old May 25th 17, 07:55 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Rich Owen[_2_]
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Default Letter to the FAA

We don't know your name and I'm sure you won't email me to find the real story. When Walt brought up the issue we researched all factors and then made the decision to switch to Tost release systems on our towplanes. The safety of all the pilots that operate out of Seminole Lake, which includes our employees and staff, is our number one concern. Walt made a good case and we thought he was right. The Tost hooks are on back order but we expect to have them our ships within 4 weeks. We have spoken to our instructors and reviewed our procedures for losing sight of the towplanes/out of position on tow. We had the same conversation with our tow pilots. The staff here are professionals and take there job very seriously. They also read Rec Aviation Soaring and are getting frustrated that a small number of anonymous posters make comments that sully their reputation. I hope you do write the SSA so you will finally be out in the open. Our employees would like an opportunity to discuss the good we do for the sport.

Rich Owen

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