is it time?

Published by: monty stone on 23rd Jul 2017 | View all blogs by monty stone

is it time to banish complacency ? not in any way blaming this as a cause for rebs accident, a possibility only. in my own february 'incident' the big 'C' played a big part in my costly , and painfull rollover, i wasn't really concentrating on what was happening around me. after all, i was only repeating what, and where i had taken off umpteen times before! i was COMPLACENT. and paid the price! as in all of lifes 'negative' experiences it would be nice to delete and re-do the causes, as yet, we don't have that 'app'.  so, how and what can we do to continue and enhance our 'floppy wing flying things' addiction? over the years we've discussed 'safety', and for a while we tend to tighten up our act a bit, more thorough pre-flight, etc, etc. but i know in my own case i get a bit 'complacent' and don't pay as much attention to the 'details' as i should. when a tragedy like rebs accident happens it's a wake-up call for ALL of us. if it can happen to a pilot like reb, it can easily get us 'lesser' pilots. so what can WE do to enhance our being able to still be flying these 'contraptions' in our 90s, (not too far ahead for some of us!). so, as has many times before been suggested  don't fly where you can't land, if the big fan behind you quits! don't fly up the center of  box canyons, close to mountains or over water , deeper than a wading pool! or over a wild animal park at feeding time, or over hunters during 'opening day' (lest we are mistaken for geese!) . or over a jealous husbands house, (i'm not explaining that one!). don't rely on a puny 'lap belt', only,  shoulder belts do help!  i've missed many other obvious 'donts', no doubt you smarter homonids have  your own safety 'credos' ranging from your favourite prayer printed on a grain of rice, duct-taped to your visor , to the 'lucky' rabbits paw hung on your ignition key ring. (it wasn't too lucky for the rabbit, but maybe it'll work for you!) i would also like to see, somewhere a wing grading system/chart listing from one to ten a particular wings ease or difficulty of control and training requred to fly it with a degree of competency, this would be a fairly straightforward task for the gurus , they have the the experience of flying various different wings and us 'mere mortal' trike drivers could then become over-night wing eggspurts!   lastly, how do we, trikers stack up, accident wise, fatal and non with other non comercial 'air-beaters', general av, rotary wings, gliders, balloons etc?  are we in trouble?  if so, what can we do about it?                                                                                                                                                                                                                      frazier nutsoff



  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 4 months ago
    Very nicely written. I have thought about wing grading system in the past as well. When paragliders and powered paragliders have a wing rating then why can't​ Trike wings have a rating.
  • Doug Boyle
    by Doug Boyle 4 months ago
    Thought-provoking Monty! Reminds me on the hang-gliding days when we'd try to ensure nobody took off without being hooked up! Seems like common sense, but senseless things happen to common people.
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 4 months ago
    That kind of trike grading system is/was in use in the UK for check pilots (it needed a suitably qualified pilot to take it for a flight to measure if it still flies like it should). I had to do a certain number of hours flying in each category to be able to check-fly someone else's aircraft.
    Basically there are three types
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 4 months ago
    I like the concept of rating wings, but in my opinion there are two problems. Here's an example: in my opinion the venerable Airborne Wizard has to be one the easiest, most pleasant, joyous and most fun wings ever made. However it can get quite squiffy in pitch, and isn't a great wing for predicting the result of varying throttle settings when flying at high angles of attack. Is it safe because it's so easy to fly, or dangerous because it has a non-linear pitch response curve? Unlike some wings, it hasn't been vehicle tested for pitch and load - how should that affect its rating? The Streak III is stiffer and slower to control and faster, but is completely vice free - how should they compare? Second issue: if you can fly a Wizard wing properly, with proper technique, it's just a matter of altering the degree of input, and not learning new techniques, to fly a Streak/M3-S/Bionix/whatever. So I think it's not the trike so much that needs rating as the pilot - if the pilot is genuinely capable of full control of any given trike, it's just a matter of adjusting the amounts of the various pilot actions (pitch, roll, throttle) as opposed to learning anything new when transitioning between trikes. So, I believe safety relies far more on training than trike type, and rating the pilot rather than the wing is more productive because it addresses the item most likely to be behind any accident: the pilot.

    The standard way of overcoming complacency in aviation is checklists and decision points. If you make every action based on conscious decisions as opposed to boating around aimlessly (e.g. you decide to: begin a takeoff roll opposite the marker boards, to abort takeoff if you haven't rotated by the time you're running over that dead rabbit on the runway, to check your temps and pressures at the 500 ft turn, to make the next turn with a 45 degree bank and test your coordination throughout the turn, to fly on the upwind and up-sun side of that ridge, to keep questioning the weather, to be constantly choosing a farmer's daughter to drop in on should the engine decide to take a nap, to drop to idle at such-and-such a point and altitude on approach, to touch down opposite the where that generous looking Australia shepherd is frying lamb steaks on the barbecue, to roll off the runway opposite that scantily-clad blonde waving positive proof that her father owns a craft brewery etc. etc.) then skills tend to improve, complacency can't get the upper hand, and you get more steak, blondes and beer.
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 4 months ago
    Even my fridge came with a 'grading' numeral on the back enabling choices to be made between units that have various 'efficiency' grades. I guess I'm becoming a member of the 'gimme' generation, but a fridge can't dump you on your arse because you didn't practice opening the door properly! Even my $7 alarm clock came with info in seven languages, including Swahili, though I'm not sure why a 'swahilian' would wanna get up early. ( or at all!) my apologies to all our swahilian trikeing buds out there!
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 4 months ago
    Well, any mains-operated fridge has lethal voltages in it (flying any trike has hazards). We could make the fridge safer by making it more tamper proof and and giving it extra electrical insulation (we could make the trike safer by making it slower and reducing its response to certain control inputs). We could safety-rate the fridge by judging how hard it is to electrocute yourself by poking around its innards with a screwdriver and sidecutters (we could safety-rate the trike by judging how hard it is to miscontrol)...

    ...or, we could learn to unplug the fridge before we poke around its electrics (we could get the training to fly properly). In my opinion it's better to say that any trike can be flown dangerously, and (almost) any trike can be flown safely. I'd hate to see a 'blame-the-trike' attitude become widespread, or become the first factor looked at in an accident. There are no 'safe' trikes; we can and do lose pilots flying the most docile aircraft because of poor techniques and decisions. Safety is primarily the responsibility of the pilot, and the manufacturer can't make decisions or control inputs on our behalf.

    Monty, why do YOU need an alarm clock???
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 4 months ago
    dear old fruit, my blog was initially intended to wake us up, that when you do something repeatedly, over and over there is a distinct possibility of 'complacency', 'blase', done there, been that, or similar mental 'unaware-ness settles in. i frequently drive solo the 1600miles to my 'shack' in arizona. in 2-3 days. i know i'm not 100 % focussed on where my front end will be, real soon! stand up all those who haven't nodded off at some time on long boreing voyages. we usually wake up before we run over that priceless jugo in front of us. it's not a 'fault' that USUALLY manifests itself in a public manner, except when you fall off your trike , like what i done! but, or, like what you done, truss, ( by the way how is dottie shearer? still 'visiting') where was i, oh yeah, unpluging the fridge before poking around is a great suggestion! you see! it's sharing info makes us all a bit safer. getting the 'proper' instruction is another. in WA state we have 2 m/cycle licence levels, up to 500cc and beyond. thank goodness , so far, trike flying isn't as closely 'regulated, slowpoke s.s.w.'s and all others, but for good or bad big bro' will step in if our 'beloved media' has more 'ultra light crashes' to shock and awe the 'proleteriat' viewer out there. ANY thing that can be done to reduce this 'bad news' is worth persueing . i do understand the risks are there for the taking any time i 'challenge' gravity and usually don't result in 'media frenzy', but without further 'ramblings' , i'm setting my $7 alarm clock for a 'nap'.
    by PHILIP QUANTRILL 4 months ago
    I get what you mean Monty and to some degree I agree. No matter what area one looks at, motorised or other the same comments can be put forward. I used to be an avid biker, riding my bike summer and winter, hail and shine, more hail in the UK. Having passed my test on my BSA 250, we had a 250cc limit prior to full licence, I went and bought myself the all singing Suzuki 1000cc without any further training. I recon I was lucky, the transition was smooth except for many many pairs of underwear soiled. I hear comments of faster, active, racey wings and that transitional training is advisable. These days with an older head, pride takes a back seat and humility the front. It is not easy to say, "I may need help, I might not be up to scratch, but it's easier than family and friends around a grave. I have commented before that if I do not fly for an extended period I take a short "pleasure flight" with my instructor, not because I have to but because it is prudent, and it keeps the wife happy. I don't know how to one could further control, advise trained pilots to accept that we are not invincible. Sadly, some will enter the sport/hobby with a finger firmly pressed on the self destruct button, all we can do is hope and pray they only kill themselves. Monty, you are showing online and have been for the past 5 hours, maybe more, have you fallen asleep at the keyboard and began to dribble on it ??
  • Doug Boyle
    by Doug Boyle 4 months ago
    I recall a newly-minted pilot and trike owner in Florida, with passenger, perish as a result of lousy ADM. Having flown out for breakfast they mounted up for the return flight despite the gusty winds that came as forecasted (15g30!). The passenger was a CFI in airplanes; first trike ride. Very difficult to "armchair quarterback" the thought processes behind those collective decisions!
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 4 months ago
    hi phill, yes, those short ( 5hr) naps ARE refreshing! i thought the 'dribble' was that durn cat again! (then i remembered we don't have a cat.) hugs ,cuddles and farts, monty
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 4 months ago
    Monty, have you seen the movie Star Warts?

    (Scene: Yodel's office in downtown New York. Loop Skyfaller is pacing the floor. An alarm clock rings. Yodel slowly wakes, rubs eyes, wipes dribble from laptop.)

    YODEL: Sorry about that. The cat it was.
    LOOP: Yeah, no worries. What cat? I thought you didn't have one. Hey, Master Pointyears - how can I make sure I don't wrap my X-wing up on takeoff again? I think I got bit by complacency....
    YODEL: Think ahead you must, young Loop. A Jedi pilot is always thinking ahead of his aircraft.
    LOOP: Huh?
    YODEL: Before rolling, your rotation point you must pick. A line you must envisage in your head. Each step you must foresee. And attuned to your wing you must be... as you reach your rotation point and pitch up, you must PHEEL THE PITCH PHORCE against the palms of your hands. All of your takeoff must be in your head before you roll. That way if wrong it is going, you know early and abort your takeoff you can. Have abort plan ready in your head.
    LOOP: Why do you talk so funny?
    YODEL: Hey! I'm British and living in the US! Expect something weird you should!

    When Chuck Lindbergh was preparing to fly across the Atlantic he had a smaller rudder put on his 'plane. He figured that waking up to find the Spirit of St Louis was in a spin, at night (The Dark OutSide?), with a marginal rudder, might be a sporting way of avoiding complacency. Of course, he was a bit weird.
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 4 months ago
    Yea glider ratings would be great. Love to see it - someone go for it.

    Again, COMPREHENSIVE training in appropriate aircraft with basic ADM will eliminate most accidents.
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 4 months ago
    Hey tress, isn't 'fart wars' a kiwi reality program?? Goodly done!
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