Glider Flying Site Risk Assessment (USHPA)

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1 Glider Flying Site Risk Assessment (USHPA) Date: 1/15/2014 Location: San Francisco, CA Flying Site Name: Fort Funston GPS: Safety Coordinator: David Kiesling Site Manager: NPS/Golden Gate National Recreation Area Try to identify the risks. Look at the site from a spectators, an inexperienced, and experienced pilots point of view. Take your time in analyzing the risks and try to determine the vulnerabilities. Note significant risks under Risk Detail and Risk Assessment. Collect Risk Mitigation options that mitigate the risk in goal setting or in current application and evaluate them as one plan under Risk Mitigation. Risk Identification Risk Detail & Risk Assessment Risk Mitigation Sign Off Road or Trail Access A. Are access road conditions appropriate for vehicle traffic B. Is/should access be secured by gates or locks C. System for maintaining secure entrances D. Have there been any incidents during vehicle entry or exit? Are they preventable? E. Pedestrian/Vehicle concerns F. Is appropriate signage in place G. Appropriate emergency vehicle access A. Yes, paved road, parking lot. B. Open public access. Gate is locked at night. Under control of National Park Service. C. National Park Service (NPS) locks gate at night. They make sure all vehicles leave before they lock the gate. D. Cars all drive slowly. E. We are on alert for pedestrians constantly and have taken measures as outlined in sections further below. E. Other park visitors regularly walk or drive in and out of the public park. Pilots do not have exclusive access to any area that is off-limits to the general public. F. Short road. Park signs are in place. G. As of 2013 we no longer permit pilots to double park in areas where they may block a fire truck from easy access. We have issued a few reminders. G. Emergency vehicles can easily access the setup area and main LZ. The beach LZ is accessible from Ocean Beach. Some pilots were double parking and blocking easy access by fire trucks. 1 of 10

2 Vehicle Parking Area A. Can vehicles or personal property be damaged by unanchored fly away gliders B. Is/should the parking area be depicted clearly with signage or markings C. Adequate separation between parking and setup, launch, landing, and tear down areas. A. Setup area and LZ is near parking lot. On very crowded days gliders can be set up all the way up next to the parking lot. Gliders do flip on occasion. B. The parking area is paved, and the edges are blocked by logs and concrete stops. A. We issued reminders in 2013 about gliders flipping occasionally. Pilots have been asked to watch out for each other s gliders as well in case it is parked poorly or the wind switches, and take action to move the glider if the glider s owner is not immediately available. C. Vehicles can t access the setup/breakdown area without going clearly off-road onto nicely groomed wood chips. The LZ is uneven, full of bushes and holes, and can t be accessed by a 2WD vehicle. Gliders can land in the LZ with plenty of room, without the parking lot being a problem, but occasionally gliders do crash into the parking lot due to major pilot error. C. New pilots are given extensive site intros to mitigate the risk of parking lot landings. In 2013 we stopped issuing helmet stickers by mail to pilots who have not flown Funston before. Pilots must show up to receive a site intro before receiving their first helmet sticker. In 2012 H2 soaring was suspended after a H2 crashed into the parking lot. H2s must glide directly to the beach. In 2013 a list of approved H2 sponsors, all USHPA instructors, was created. Spectator Areas A. No flight path within 50 feet B. Are/Should spectator areas be clearly marked and easy to understand by spectators C. Adequate separation between spectator areas and setup area and launching areas D. Is the spectator area enforced E. Are/Should spectators be allowed in setup areas unescorted A. Rules prohibit flight within 25ft of anyone on the ground. However, our flight path in close proximity to the ridge while ridge soaring makes us unable to keep this distance at all times. B. Observation deck and setup area have signs. The setup/launch area is delineated by cones that pedestrians generally abide by. Sometimes pedestrians walk out to the edge of launch. Pedestrians are all over the LZ at times. C. Spectators can walk into our areas freely. We do not have exclusive access. D. We verbally keep back spectators when A. Suspensions and warnings were issued in 2013 to pilots who violate this rule by divebombing pedestrians, launching when a pedestrian is too close, or landing too close to one. B. A few years ago we put up new green cones to better delineate the area. C. See other risk mitigations. D. We discussed this at a 2013 meeting and reiterated the necessity to keep back spectators from the launch area when a glider is launching. 2 of 10

3 gliders are launching or landing. They are cooperative. E. Spectators may freely walk in the setup area, but most of them have a sense that it is the hang glider area, when active, so they tend to stay out. Pilots in the setup area keep an eye on spectators, particularly while there is a launch or landing going on. Overhead Power Lines, Trees, Towers A. Launch points separation 50 feet - Marked B. Flight path separation 75 feet C. Landing zones separation 100 feet Marked D. Do these distances need to be modified due to unique conditions of flying site E. If closer, what methods are used to minimize chance of collision with Power Lines, Trees and Towers No power lines, trees or towers are in the way. n/a Launch Areas A. Clear 50 feet forward, 30-feet rearward, and 30 degrees either side of take-off direction clear of personnel other than flight operation staff. B. Ground obstructions that may cause trip and falls C. Is/Should launch area be clearly marked D. Site launch information communicated to all pilots before flight activities - method. E. Are tie downs appropriate and adequate F. Appropriate launch assistant qualification and equipment guidelines A. Yes. Pilot is not allowed to launch until it is clear. C. It is clear and obvious to pilots. There are traffic cones delineating the area. D. Site intros are given to all pilots, and a copy of the rule sheet is available on site in the box. E. Not needed in launch area. F. Other pilots are usually available to assist anyone who needs wire help. Non-pilots do not ever assist. A. Suspensions were issued in 2013 when necessary.. 3 of 10

4 Landing Zones A. Landing zones separation distance 50 feet from ground personnel, vehicles, structures, in use roads, and spectators B. Other hazards (trip and falls) C. Is/Should spectator area be designated, marked, barriers, and/or signage ' D. Are tie downs appropriate and adequate E. Ground handling guidelines F. Appropriate wind indicators A. LZ is adjacent to parking lot and road. Pilots rarely misjudge so badly as to land in parking lot. Spectators walk through LZ, mostly on designated paths. B. There are bushes and uneven ground, but there are also good paths. The field is maintained by the NPS, and native plants are allowed to grow freely. The launch and wood chip LZ area is groomed very flat by pilots. After hundreds of dumptruck deliveries of wood chips, the chips started spreading down the access trail to the beach. C. Described above A. Described above. B. In 2013 we began organizing work parties to clean the wood chips from the beach access trail and succeeded in cleaning it up. It may be an ongoing process as existing wood chips migrate down again. We have also stopped all deliveries of additional wood chips. C. Described above needed in LZ. Pilots walk directly to setup/breakdown area. On the beach, tie downs would be lost by constant sand movement and are unnecessary. E. Pilots clear the LZ after landing, as is standard at all sites. Pilots regularly help others walk gliders through the bush rotor. Other Area Activities A. Do other activities use same area: Example (Radio Controlled aircraft, model rocketry, skeet shooting, or kite flying) B. How are multi-use activities managed to avoid possible mid-air mishaps F. Wind sock on observation deck and multiple streamers in LZ and launch area. Pilots are taught the dangers of bush rotor in certain conditions and what the streamers will do. A. RC gliders, RC planes, and kites are frequent. B. Described in A. A. Hang gliders are not allowed to launch when RC aircraft are in the air. Kite flyers are informed of the safety hazard they present and respectfully requested to move out of the area. B. Described in A. 4 of 10

5 FAA Recognition and Communication A. Do glider flight operations interfere with flight operations of general aviation, commercial aviation, or agricultural aviation aircraft B. Is the local FAA office advised in writing of glider flight activities C. Are NOTAM s published for this site D. Are there conflicts with Terminal Controlled Flight areas (TCA) E. General aviation airports locations and landing pattern conflicts (non-controlled) F. Tandem operations in compliance with FAA rules and regulations G. Towing operations in compliance with FAA rules and regulations A. No B. The FAA has designated Fort Funston as a hang glider location on aviation Sectional charts. C. Pilots monitor FAA communications for relevant NOTAM s D. In certain conditions we may gain enough altitude to enter class TCA airspace. Pilots respect TCA boundaries with the help of altimeters, sectionals and club rules, and there have been no known recent incidents. E. No F. Yes G. No towing G. n/a Organized Events A. Flight Safety Coordinator on site B. Strictly designated and enforced spectator area C. Strictly designated vehicle parking area D. Separation distances between flight operation areas and spectator areas marked and enforced E. Tie down systems use for organized events F. Is demonstration equipment or flight simulators at events under direct supervision until disassembled G. First Aid First Responder resources on site and available A. The Fort Funston Air Races has a Meet Director and a Launch Director. B. Spectators are strictly restricted from launch and landing areas during the event. C. Parking lot is managed by the NPS D. Yes E. Not appropriate. G. None 5 of 10

6 F. One pilot usually sets up his glider as a flight simulator. The flight simulator is always manned. G. Tandem pilots and instructors are trained in first aid. There is a first aid kit in our box by the setup area. A call box is close by. Safety Coordinator A. Risk Management Awareness B. Knows Incident reporting process and follow up C. Oversees Site management plan for events D. Obtains Historical data available to use when recommending the modification of site guidelines and rules E. Procedures to close site due to hazardous conditions or situations F. Procedures to restrict flight operations to a singular pilot if necessary to avoid potential accidents A. Yes. The club Safety Director is also the USHPA Safety Coordinator and regularly deals with safety issues. B. Yes C. Is present at the Air Races D. Some historical documents are available. Some issues are discussed with longtime club members. E. All club officers have the authority to close launch due to conditions. This is rarely needed, and there is no issue with pilots being uncooperative in this regard. F. If a pilot is on launch, other pilots inform him of other gliders in the air, often including the height and location. Pilots only launch when they can safely do so. Pilots in the air watch for any glider moving towards the launch area and remain clear of launch when appropriate. Beach landings are always an option if the ridge becomes too crowded. There have been no issues. D. In 2013 we began a site crash history log summarizing crashes involving injury or major glider damage, including some incidents from previous years that we remember or were somewhat documented. The log is useful in identifying trends. 6 of 10

7 Information Communication A. Flying site rules and guidelines are appropriately communicated. B. Signage clear and understandable to spectators and pilots C. Management contact information available at site D. A method available for input and suggestions to the site management team E. Emergency communications plan Training and Experience A. USHPA training guidelines followed for training taking place at site B. Each launch and landing zone appropriately rated for pilot proficiency level and special skills required. C. System for verifying pilot ratings, special skills. D. System for managing access by pilots holding appropriate ratings and special skills for site. E. How does the site management team encourage and enable appropriate training and experience A. Members receive site regulations when they sign annual membership application and receive their helmet sticker. Some rules are broken. B. Signs are maintained on an ongoing basis. C. A sign is in place. D. Website has contact information for all club officers, plus monthly club meetings E. Medical emergency call 911, all others contact appropriate club officers. Emergency procedures are in site rules packet. A. Yes B. H3 site. H2 pilots may not soar and are only allowed to launch under certain conditions and supervision of an instructor. C. Pilots must present current USHPA rating card to receive their annual helmet sticker. D. The helmet sticker is placed on the helmet and has a different color for each year. However, most pilots do not check each other s helmets, or they trust that experienced pilots renewed. In 2013 two pilots were found to be over a year expired in their USHPA dues, and one did not have a 2013 FF club membership. Completed forms were found in the box with no member signing off on verifying the pilot s USHPA membership. Many pilots have access to the stickers box that A. Members were suspended in 2013 when in violation of club rules. C. A new sign was installed in B. H2 rules are currently under review by committee. C. The issue was discussed at a recent club meeting. The system is being reviewed by the Vice President to explore modifications to the system, including revisiting the recent change of keeping stickers in the box instead of batches of stickers assigned to designated sticker holders. D. One H2 and the pilots who helped her launch were warned against future soaring against club rules. The next H2 to soar was suspended, along with his sponsor. E. The incident was discussed at a club meeting. Better communication will help ensure this doesn t happen again. 7 of 10

8 has a combination lock. Additionally, in 2013 two H2 pilots soared the site against club rules. Emergency Action Plan A. Is there an EAP at the flying site clearly posted at launch and landing zones. B. Has the local emergency responders been notified of flying site location and access C. What first responder resources are available on scene - ex: first aid kits D. Does the site management team sponsor First Aid and CPR training annually E. New H3 pilots perform one or more demo flights for a club officer until the officer is satisfied and the pilot may fly freely. One new pilot in 2013 made a bad approach on his first flight and crashed into the parking lot. A. Signage is inappropriate at launch area. The LZ is adjacent. Emergency plans are included in the site regulations given to each member. B. Yes. They are well aware of us. C. First aid kit is in the box next to the setup area, which is next to the LZ. 911 call box is nearby. Tandem Flying A. System for monitoring and enforcing compliance with USHPA FAA Tandem Exemption at site. B. Launch areas free of obstructions to the guideline of 75 feet forward of launch area. D. No. However, instructors who have CPR certification, as well as two or more medical doctors, are often at the site. Emergency crews can arrive at the park quickly. A. The appointed Tandem Administrator conducts a check of all tandem pilots and their equipment before allowing them to fly tandems each year. B. Yes 8 of 10

9 Glider Tie Down Systems A. In areas where climate or conditions are present that could cause gliders to become loose and inadvertently take uncontrolled flight and cause injury or damage are tie down systems available for use. B. Are guidelines for tie down use at site communicated effectively to pilots A. No. The large bush upwind to and directly against the setup area provides a significant wind break to where this is not an issue. Severe conditions will not invite many pilots out, so it is easy for pilots to park their gliders safely closely against the bush. Dust devils do not occur at this coastal site. B. Tie downs are not appropriate. Other Risk Considerations A. Man-made risks B. Natural hazards C. Environmental risks D. Local response E. External locations F. Weather conditions G. Potential risk of impacts H. Experiences that happened in the past I. Vulnerability J. The current preventive measures that can be taken fast K. Towing (fuel storage, maintenance, licensing, access, clearances) identified. B. The small plants in the LZ may present a hazard if they grow out of control in the coming years. Right now they are ok. identified. D. Good, fast response. Rangers are sometimes on site, and first responder crews regularly come to Fort Funston to practice drills on the cliff edge. The site is well known as a hang glider area. F.. Weather conditions are under constant observation. The ocean is monitored for white caps, the wind sock and streamers are monitored for wind direction and strength. Fog is also an issue. Pilots generally fly safely and avoid dangerous weather conditions. G. The bush rotor, cliff edge rotor, and wind gradient have helped cause some accidents. H. A number of crashes have happened over the years for various reasons. Crashes are discussed openly at club meetings to get ideas from members on how to avoid them in the future. They are also discussed more privately by the Board. Despite some accidents, we do not crash into other park visitors. We take the risk very seriously G. None H. Frequent ongoing discussion by the Board and at monthly club meetings. I. Frequent ongoing discussion by the Board and at monthly club meetings. J. None K. n/a 9 of 10

10 and frequently review procedures to help avoid it ever happening. I. Despite some accidents, we do not crash into other park visitors. Landing approaches are frequently observed by other pilots, and a suspension of any length is issued if a pilot poses a perceived or actual risk to a spectator. We have club rules that help ensure our vulnerability is low. J. Pilots involved are talked with to ascertain the causes and to help avoid repeats. If appropriate, pilots are suspended on the spot for up to one week by any club officer to prevent him from flying again immediately. There has not been a problem with enforcement of suspensions. K. No towing at this site. 10 of 10