I flew a 2:52 19.4-mile XC from Sylmar yesterday and had 3 occurrences of twin engine aircraft coming within 1/4 mile of me including the business jet in this video. Altogether we counted 7 powered aircraft in the same space we fly at Sylmar in a 2 hour period. I had 2 more over Mt Lukens, downrange. And then there was this Mylar party balloon on top of all that. This many encounters is extremely unusual but stresses the point that we need to remain alert and vigilant when we fly. Please watch the video at 720p or higher and in full frame if you can.
IIRC - A year or so back, there was a Coast Guard Sabre Jet that buzzed within a few hundred feet of an HG in the GA area that was caught on video and a frame still was posted. A few weeks later, the same jet had crashed in FL killing everyone on board. Turns out the pilot was a known hotdog.
In the future, plan on taking , my AV transceiver up to launch in case it's a good idea to call Burbank tower to let them know if we are higher than normal. Our activity is on the FAA sectionals but we are rarely higher than 4500' MSL.
That was cool how you instinctively became a "camera man" and immediately turned the glider to capture the passing plane. Quick thinking. _________________ $!><
Live while you are alive.
Way back when, I was taking private pilot flying lessons. That came to an abrupt halt when I found HG.
There was a poster on the wall of the office at the airport, that showed a view looking out through the windshield of a twin-engined airplane. It showed a Cessna 150 turning away, right in front of the viewing airplane, and the caption was : "Is this your FINAL approach?"
Here at Crestline we regularly see airliners passing through at altitudes as low as 7K. Most seem to be Southwest Airlines planes. Pilots in the LZ make jokes about it, as though it wasn't serious.
Jonathon reminds us to be vigilant. That's all well and good, but my experience, and the experience of other HGers I've discussed this with, indicates that by the time you see an airplane, and airliners in particular, coming towards you at your altitude, there is probably nothing you could do to help matters much.
It's probably only luck alone that will avert a collision with an airplane at your altitude. The most you could do would be rolling up into a steep banked turn to show some wing area, in the hope that the pilot of that airplane is looking out the windshield, rather than at the instruments.
I personally feel that we HGers need to take a pro-active approach to this very real threat. We should make a poster like the one I mentioned, with a view from just behind the Pilot and Co-pilot seats of an airliner, looking out through the windshield, with the back of the pilot's and co-pilot's heads in the frame, and a Hang Glider or Paraglider flying right there in front of the airplane, with the caption "Is this your FINAL approach?"
We should print these up, and distribute them to pilot's lounges and ready rooms at all the SoCal airports. It's obvious to me that having our sites designated as gliding sites on the sectionals is doing little good, if any.
It amazes me when I hear fliers joke about watching an airliner fly by them, at the same altitude, only a 1/4 mile away. They don't seem to understand how close that is. Hell, even 2 or 3 miles away is too close. By the time an airliner pilot sees an HG or PG directly in front of him, it's way too late to try to do anything about it, in fact any move is is likely to make things worse, not better.
We will lose one pilot, or two if it's a tandem ride. But they're gonna lose an airliner with one, or two, or even three hundred passengers, and who knows how many folks on the ground that get showered with flaming wreckage.
But who will get the blame in the press?
Honestly folks, this is no laughing matter. If we make an effort to publicize the problem now, then if it does happen at least we'll have a leg to stand on. If we don't, the public will demand an end to our freedom to pursue our hobby.
But if we could prove that we had made a good faith effort to alert the airplane pilots ahead of time, that will go a long way to protecting our rights to the airspace, not if, but when there is a collision.
You know damn well it's only a matter of time. Let's get pro-active now, because being re-active after the fact will do no good.
Our sites are on the sectionals. If yours isn't, get with the FAA and get that situation rectified. These airline pilots that are trying to save a few gallons of kerosene by gliding low over our sites are a very real threat to our flying freedoms, just mark my words. They have no business threatening us, and they are subjecting their passengers to risk they don't deserve.
When I fly the powered harness near the coast quite often will get some curious GA pilots come over for a closer look for a lap of honour around me then continue on their way. As soon as I see one approaching I'll show them the bottom of my wing for max visibility and give a friendly wave.
The best I've seen was a Christen Eagle pull up beside at 6000ft so with the motor off I did some wangies then he done a hell big loop and pulled up beside again. So I done a spiral then it was his turn and this when on until I landed, cool 8.)
The motor does make it harder to hear them coming but just need to be more aware and hasn't been a problem but these are smaller aircraft here, none of the big fast stuff. _________________ You only live twice
Sonic 190, Sting 154, Combat 2 14, Explorer, Mosquito NRG and a Falcon 3 195
My experience with flying the fringes of the congested airspace of socal is that there is some real benefit to knowing and monitoring your local approach frequency. Going east from kagel is 135.05 I believe.
This way you are not needing to constantly scan for that pinpoint spec that is almost impossible to see and often leads to frustration and eventually non attention. Instead you listen, and you will in many cases know the approximate direction distance height and speed of most of the aircraft coming toward you often even several minutes before it is even possible to see it. It is somewhat of a game (although a serious one) to turn the controllers words into a mental image of the arriving aircraft.
On rare occasion I have also contacted socal approach (127.25 in the Crestline area) and stated my altitude and type of aircraft. This usually leads to my requesting "traffic advisories if able". But being professional and polite is imperative if you decide to transmit. This also means that you need to balance the overall picture. If they are busy with large aircraft not directly near you then it would be counterproductive to overall safety if you distract them with your request. Not sure if the average hang glider pilot is competent for this task.
The ghost of christmas future is all of us flying with transponders. This unfortunate christmas vision might just be within mode C veils in which case Kagel would suffer and not Crestline. Or maybe it would be for the entire country.
In the meantime, we play the odds.
:[ IIRC - A year or so back, there was a Coast Guard Sabre Jet that buzzed within a few hundred feet of an HG in the GA area that was caught on video and a frame still was posted. A few weeks later, the same jet had crashed in FL killing everyone on board. Turns out the pilot was a known hotdog.
The Coast Guard has never lost a Jet. The Coast Guard jets are Falcons. The jet you are referring to was a Navy trainer. Trainers have orange on the tail and wing tips very similar to Coast Guard. I doubt you would ever see a Coast Guard pilot doing any kind of hot shot maneuver due to Corps value and being a life saving service. Honest mistake.
We should print these up, and distribute them to pilot's lounges and ready rooms at all the SoCal airports.
I agree with raising awareness but will be careful with the way to go about it. We are not high on the FAA priority list and will most likely be the ones making the sacrifices instead.
It just frustrates me that our site is marked on the maps but the airlines just ignore it. They're increasing the risk of an accident, but if/when it happens we'll get the blame in the press.
We'd be better off if we could point out that we had at least tried to prevent it.
"It just frustrates me that our site is marked on the maps but the airlines just ignore it."
Airlines generally do not use aviation sectionals which depict HG sites and others useful info.
I'll second that. I hadn't seen a VFR sectional in 10 years, that is until last years Team Challenge.
I believe it will only take a close call with an airliner to bring hang gliding to an end in the LAX basin as we know it. I'm sure there have been numerous close calls from a HG perspective. When there's one with a the wrong airline/pilot (meaning-he/she thinks it was close too, which means he/she was looking out the window---unlikely) is when the FAA will turn its attention on us....hang gliding.
Just so you know, we (airline pilots/jet operators) are flying complicated arrival procedures with crossing restrictions that we sometimes don't do too often (I haven't flown into LAX in months). Everything that we have to satisfy is found on the instrument panel in front of us, not out the window. Sometimes we are then required to speed up or slow down for an arrival that was already planned with a certain descent profile. Jets either come down or slow down, not both. Throw in a late runway change or arrival change and the workload goes up quickly.
And yes, the auto pilot does everything and we get hot coffee whenever we want. :