Total Freak Accident

ShawnC

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LONDON (Reuters) - Two people were killed in a freak air collision over
central England on Saturday, when a skydiver smashed through the wing of a
glider sending it crashing to earth, police and investigators said.
"A freefall parachutist crashed into a glider, ripping its wing off and
there were two fatalities," a spokesman for the Air Accident Investigation
Board told Reuters.

The collision at over 2,000 feet (610 meters) occurred on a sunny afternoon
at the Hinton-in-the-Hedges private airfield in Northamptonshire, he said.

Northamptonshire police said the one man glider had come down in a field
alongside the airstrip and a police helicopter was currently scouring the
surrounding area for any wreckage which might give clues as to how the
accident occurred.

Despite being considered a dangerous sport, skydiving has a relatively good
safety record.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_2020000/2020889.stm

Stragest accident ever!
 

Smoove Ride

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not a completely freak accident...

it's happened a least a few times before. it's almost always fatal for all parties involved. most folks don't put too much effort into spotting anymore with the advent of gps... but spotting goes a long way to prevent accidents like this. -sr.
 

eaglefly

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Gps ? In a glider ? Any idea how difficult it is to see a free-falling skydiver (about the area of an average sailplanes vertical stab and rudder) in a 6000 FPM vertical flight path. Come pal, get off it.
 

ShawnC

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The problem is you have two things that are hard to spot in one area.
 

Huck

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In the states the drop zone would have been notam'ed, and the jump pilot would have been making calls on local freq. As you say, though, this has happened here too.
 

flint4xx

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It's been awhile since I did any jumping, but I remember opening well before two thousand feet. I would like to think I would be looking down too...
 

00Dog

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Eaglefly- Smoove is talking about GPS in the jump airplane. The jumpers let the pilot tell them when they're over the drop zone rather than looking for it themselves when the jump pilot is using a GPS.
 

avbug

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No civillian jumpship drops without the senior jumper, or the licensed jumper calling the dive in the door, giving corrections and approving the spot. I certainly don't know anywhere that relies on a pilot looking at a GPS to figure out where to start the first stick.

It's always a jumper in the door calling corrections and getting his or her line, calling for the cut, and deciding when to get out based on observed winds and judgement.

There was a case not long ago of a jumper who struck the empennage of a Cherokee, and survived. The cherokee broke up and caused two on-board fatalities.

Part of the job of a jump pilot is to be clearing the airspace below, and coordinating the drop with local traffic and ATC. A big part of the job of the PIC in both aircraft is looking for traffic, and this responsibility extends to the jumpmaster for the load, as well as each individual jumper.

Every jumper knows that he or she needs to be looking for traffic in freefall; above, horizontally, and below.
 

AWACoff

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Skydive Chicago is one of many DZs that use GPS as the primary spotting aid. The jumpers have virtually no control over the spot as the pilot has already determined the spot and entered the spot into the GPS. A light in the back alerts the jumpers when to exit. On a different note, I launched my first full altitude jump (10k). We went for a 4 way but one guy was unable to fall slow enough. I still got in on the 3 way though:D
 

Smoove Ride

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eaglefly, oodog is right. i'm talking about gps in the jump plane. i'm not trying to place blame on either party here, just saying that at many dz's the art of spotting is losing some ground. the dz i learned at taught it to all new jump students, but it was a small cessna dz, and we didn't have gps. now with the larger dz's (eloy, perris, etc...) they drop them like awacoff described above (btw, was that your first 3 way? case of beer!) also, i failed to mention it's really hard to look down for planes when you're not belly flying. i'm guessing that maybe the accident victim was doing a little free flying at the time. you talk to people all the time who have their cypress go off because they lost track of their altitude (hard to see the ground upside down). tracking dives, i imagine also pose more of a risk now to planes and gliders as well. folks who thought they were well clear of the dz could still enconter jumpers even miles away from it. birdman suits will continue to improve. the sport of skydiving has and is changing rapidly, hopefully the current system in place can cope with the changes safely.

like someone has said before... "we rely on the big sky theory". -sr
 
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skydiverdriver

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I'm wondering if the sailplane even had a radio? Perhaps he was just floating around, perfectly legal, and had no idea he was near an active DZ. I don't know much about sailplanes, but if they are composite, would they show up on radar? It's possible that everyone was doing something perfectly legal, and just bad circumstances led to an accident. I know that jump pilots and skydivers are supposed to look for traffic, but you don't always see them. I'm sure a skydiver's primary focus is on his altimeter, and his fellow jumpers which are his primary collision threat.
 

ShawnC

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Oh they show up on radar, but most don't have transponders.

Now as far as radio, if it was a x-c ship then it had it, but if it was just a local flight/training ship it most likely didn't have any radio.
 

NEDude

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The same type of accident occured a few years back in Lebanon, NH (KLEB) during an airshow. A skydiver hit a biplane. The plane went down behind a nearby shopping center and the skydivers body, chute opened and all landed, without his head, right in front of the spectators. Very sad accident.
 
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