Incident during the Summer Series

Incident Report of collision during May 22, 2016 Race

Last Sunday, I was party to a collision between two yachts, Diva Gorda and Adagio, during the Second race of the summer series.
This was my first time aboard the Diva Gorda.  I was assigned the position of main trim. The skipper gave me a safety tour and explained my position.  He made it a point to tell me, “be ready to dump the main”, because of specific characteristics of the boat.  I felt comfortable with his instruction and told him that I was clear.  
Prior to the start we made a few practice turns.  At this time my performance with the main was slow and the Skipper warned me about dumping the main.   During the start, the skipper changed course to duck below Adagio, I ease the main at  the traveler but did not ease the main sheet, until it was too late to avoid a collision.  I believe, that,  had I dumped the main shortly after the turn had been initiated, we would have avoided the collision.  
The overall cause of this incident was my inexperience with the boat and crew.  The team had obviously worked together and were quick and knowledgeable of their positions, the boat and communications.    I cannot claim ignorance of main sail trim, only inexperience at the position, on a boat this size.  I expect that given a little more time, I would have learned the boat, crew and position.
A contributing factor to the incident was poor situational awareness.    I was focused on the main sheet and traveler while “staying low”,  to avoid obscuring the skippers field of view. As a result, I did not have a mental picture of the start and did not anticipate the skipper’s intentions.   If I had looked around”, I would have understood where the skipper was going and would have known how far the main needed to be released.  Not keeping an eye on the race was a fatal mistake.
I believe hindsight is valuable.   Used correctly, it will prevent future accidents.  Unfortunately, it cannot change the past.
I apologize to the skipper and crew of both boats for my part in this incident.

888 Shell Creek

Nice.  Clear sky, light wind, no glitches. 

One hour 5290 ft. MSL
900 ft/min vertical decent
280 /min vertical ascent
30 miles
Music credits:(first records revived from my vinyl collection)
Jazz in the Troc Live     Elitch Gardens 1967
(I was in attendance with my Great Aunt Rose, age 12 and feeling very grown up.  I believe this was my first Gibson Concert, if not, then it was the inspiration for Dick Gibson’s lifetime work.  I had the pleasure and misfortune of working with Mr. Gibson during the 90’s until his death in

Leon Redbone 

A god time was had by me. 🙂

887 Placida

Short Flight.  The wind was blowing just over my comfort zone so I put Beau on 50 feet of line and set up the wind sock.  My  phone rang and I spent the next 45 minutes talking while the wind and sun came down.  By the time I hung up, the sun was almost touching the horizon, there was just a hint of wind blowing from the West which fortunately, was right down the runway.  There was no time for the GoPro, iTunes, Earbuds, FlySkyHi or anything else that I liked to play with prior to flying.   
I grabbed the ear-cups, strapped in and launched.    I flew west toward the sun and tried to climb fast enough to keep the sun above the horizon.  Its possible, but not at 14 mph ascending at 250 ft/min.  I did however,slow it down a bit.
The landing was sweet.

884 Gasparilla Island

Mike was ate the field when I arrived.  I followed him up by 5 minutes.  It would have been quicker except that my battery had gone bad and I was forced to jump it with the baby booster.

There was Smooth air coming from the SE.  Mike and I flew over the causeway and partly down the island.  There were plenty of bumps over the island and I choose to go back to the mainland.  Over the gold course there was lift so I stayed there and played while waiting for Mike.
No drama.  I expect ally liked landing on the road and greasing it for a long way and taxiing over to the truck.

882 & 883

So …. It’s been a good week for flying.  

Sunday night and Monday morning with Tommy, in his WST.

Then that evening and the next two mornings back in the Falcon.  
Yesterday AM I went to 3000ish feet mostly because there was a strong breeze and I didn’t want to get caught downwind.  Nice flight.  

                         Building a dragon

The battery was acting up, it had barely enough power to do a cold start, even after spending the night on the charger.  I stopped at Batteries plus, where they checked the battery.  It’s good and it’s getting a charge from the motor.  So, it’s possible that my old charger has failed.  I was going to say “shit the bed” but there might be children reading this some day. :)….. Anyway … I picked up a new charger.

This morning I launched into nill wind and didn’t start feeling the SSE breeze until 100 feet up.   I crabbed over to the Track and Trail with the wing in full reflex and then went “all closed” for the return flight.  Acending to 2500 ft where I stayed until I got over the field.  It should be noted that I exceeded 300 ft/min climb at 3500rpm this morning.  The ground was warmer than it has been and there wasn’t a thermal layer as a result.  It was a nice change, flying low.  I did spot a large house that looked like either fire or the hurricane had totaled it. 

Tech note… The new Beat Studio Wireless headphones are not appropriate for aviation.

The airstrip is low.  My toe is touching the northern edge.

879, 880, 881 Shell Creek and Tom Spiers visit

This was a lot of fun!   Tom Speirs stopped by on his way to Beach Blast.  Splitting his time between family in Naples and Punta Gorda worked out well.  In just a few days he managed to get in several flights and a day on Paradiso with the whole family.  I flew with him twice and even got in the pilot seat and taxied up and down the runway.  I never seriously considered learning to fly a Delta WST but this has certainly wet my appetite.  There  are FAR 103 Deltas so ….Who Knows?

My flight this evening was one for the Dumb Chute File.  …..I noticed that the reserve container had partially opened when I was flying over the field at 500 feet.  Tom and I had been talking about repacking the reserve last night and I guess I didn’t put it back together properly after we opened it up to check the safety pins.  Dumb Sh*t …. The reserve is going back on my pre-flight check list!
I almost didn’t fly.  The first burp was that the key had been left on, draining the starter battery….. I had the emergency battery.  Then the winds were strong from the WSW, making for a sharp cross wind take off.  After 15 minutes and some kiting the breeze started to moderate so I laid out and launched without drama.  The air was pretty bumpy but above 150 feet it was warm and the sky was beautiful.  A couple of times I got into some good lift and was able to climb with the Generac at idle.  
The spell was broken when I glanced down and saw the reserve flapping in the breeze.   Even though the Velcro grabbed right away I immediately turned back and landed.  Total airtime was 30 minutes and it should have been over an hour.

Shell Creek #878

Got out early. Launched from South end of runway.  Climbed to 6100 and flew to Tracks and Trails.

Landing was exciting. When I got back to the LZ, it was starting to pop. At 300 ft I was being tossed around pretty good and had to go around twice before I could get on final at an appropriate altitude.  Seems like I kept getting lifted just as I was finishing the base turn and was too high for final.  Then I encountered sink on the runway and to flare very quickly to avoid a hard landing.

Tom Spiers arrived from Colorado yesterday.  We were lucky to hook up with Richard at Shell Creek because he was happy to let Tom hanger his WST in his hanger.