.

.

All things hang gliding. This is the main forum. New users, introduce yourself.

Moderators: sg, mods

User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#401823
Peter Holloway posted the following (publicly) on Facebook today:
The following post concerns Emma Martin who is well known to all my hang gliding friends, however some of my non hang gliding friends have also met her and this post is for their benefit.

I am just writing a few words to try to help people reconcile and explain what happened to Emma last Saturday evening.

There have been reports in the press that suggest that that Emma was having a problem with her glider or was in distress some time prior to her accident. In other words that she knew she was in peril minutes prior.

Let me be very clear, this is totally and utterly false and has caused extreme distress to Emma’s family and friends.

I am not suggesting that there was deliberate misrepresentation or falsification of the facts, simply that the press articles were poorly written and poorly fact checked. I would have hoped for better.

Here is what we know so far from the expert accident investigation.

Emma was competing in the Annual Forbes Flatlands International Hang gliding competition. This competition runs for 8 days and involves more that 60 world class pilots from Australia and overseas. Emma was an advanced pilot and was equal to this task.

The day in question was not a practice day but the second official competition day. The competitor’s in Emma’s group were racing from Forbes airfield, 70 kms north to Peak Hill airfield. Competitors launched by being towed aloft to 2000 feet by a fleet of special tug aircraft and then they used the invisible rising warm air thermal currents to gain as much height as they could before gliding towards their goal looking for another rising lift source on the way as they slowly glided downwards.

In order to get to Peak Hill they would have been expecting to repeat this climbing and gliding process several times over a period of 2-3 hours. All competitors carry special parachutes and have sophisticated electronic equipment with them to help them know when they find rising air and to navigate. They also have radios to communicate with each other and people on the ground. The gliders they fly and well tested and strong.

Emma was nearing the goal at Peak hill but probably needed one or two more good thermals to get there. Unfortunately she was unable to locate the needed thermals and correctly had chosen to land quite routinely in a farmers paddock. The paddock she had selected was ideal, being large, relatively flat and with no obstructions. She would have been aiming her glider into the prevailing breeze (to give as low a landing speed as possible) as she had been taught. Emma was meticulous in her landing approaches and always followed correct procedures.

She had radioed her intention to land just prior to another pilot high above and had indicated that that everything was fine. There was absolutely no indication that she was in any difficulty (if she had been, she was trained to use and would have used her special emergency parachute). There was no suggestion that she was expecting anything other that a routine landing.

It would seem that Emma got into difficulty within the last few seconds of her landing approach and within only a very few meters of the ground. It is presumed that a strong random swirly gust of wind temporarily turned her glider away from pointing into the prevailing wind and before she could turn it back into the wind her glider impacted the ground facing down wind at a shallow angle but unfortunately at a high speed. This has been determined from expert analysis of Emma’s glider and examination of the crash site. Emma would have been immediately rendered unconscious and would have felt no pain.

We are hoping the GPS data logger she was carrying will give some useful data and allow us to see her speed and position over the last 3-6 seconds.

There are no know witnesses to the accident on the ground and no one on the ground called emergency serviced prior to the accident.

The fellow pilot high above did not see the actual landing but within seconds of the landing became concerned when he could not raise Emma on the radio and could see the glider laying in an odd position. He immediately spiraled down, landed, rushed to Emma and began first aid. He had been trained in emergency resuscitation techniques.The emergency services were called immediately by this same pilot with Emma. They were called a second time by an experienced ambulance officer standing next to me at Forbes airport. Her location was known exactly as she was carrying a “SPOT” (gps) tracker and we could see her location on my phone.

The accident investigation is on going and will take a fair amount of time but we would be very surprised if any of the basic details described above change.

If any of Emma’s family or friends want to talk further please FB message me and I can give you my phone number.

Peter Holloway.
This is just so sad... I didn't know Emma but tried to find some meaningful words to share commenting on Peter's post... My thoughts are with her family, friends, and all that had the good fortune to know her...
User avatar
By dbotos
#401829
Ryan - thanks for the clarifications.

I did not know Emma either. From the small world department, I was one of her 11 YouTube subscribers. I had seen one of her videos many months ago (likely at a time when I wasn't doing any flying myself), thought she looked like an interesting pilot to follow, and subscribed.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSqCSU ... nQwv4sO0Tg

She looked pretty happy in the pictures I saw on the various news sites. Hopefully she had a good run in her 31 years. She got to experience something a large percentage of the world's population never does in their lives and I think we all know how special that is.

Emma won the Sport Class at Forbes last year. There is a nice picture of her holding her trophy a little ways down this page:

https://www.moyes.com.au/articles/moyes ... nuary-2017

Here's a list of the guys' butts she kicked in doing so:

https://www.forbesflatlands.com/results ... ults_sport
User avatar
By NMERider
#401833
dbotos wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:01 pm
....Emma won the Sport Class at Forbes last year. There is a nice picture of her holding her trophy a little ways down this page: https://www.moyes.com.au/articles/moyes ... nuary-2017

Here's a list of the guys' butts she kicked in doing so: https://www.forbesflatlands.com/results ... ults_sport
She beat all those Geckos flying a Mailbu 2! That takes the cake. Sad for the loss of any hang glider pilot or passenger. Really tragic.

How come nobody mentioned Niki Longshore's tumble, deployment and destruction of her glider? We almost lost two young and promising female pilots. Niki nearly got decapitated like Brad Koji with her reserve bridle around her neck. Isn't George Longshore a poster here?

Hopefully, something helpful to other pilots will come out of both of these incidents.
User avatar
By dbotos
#401834
I hadn't heard about Niki's accident. Glad she's alright. Were the parachute troubles due to the way the chute bridle was attached (like with Brad's accident) or was it just a freak occurrence? That was cool of Jonny to land with her.
User avatar
By Bateleur
#401853
This is very sad. Condolences to her family. Remembering her wonderful and gentle soul will forever remain in our hearts. May she rest in peace!

From an investigation point of view, I would be interested to know the details of what happened for novice pilots such as myself to maybe gain an understanding of how to possibly avoid such an accident, but I understand this is free flying and that there are risks involved. It is very unfortunate though that these accidents happen.
User avatar
By Bateleur
#401855
dbotos wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:43 pm
I hadn't heard about Niki's accident. Glad she's alright. Were the parachute troubles due to the way the chute bridle was attached (like with Brad's accident) or was it just a freak occurrence? That was cool of Jonny to land with her.
Here is the breakdown and update for anyone interested from Niki about her tumble...
She is unsure how and why it happened, one speculative answer on the comments section was;" maybe you hit the outer portion of a cloaked UFO and your instruments stopped 10km short due to the interference the cloaking signals was transmitting. You abrupt stop, flip and fall was the down draft the UFO was producing trying to hover above the ground. Just a thought, due to a lot of unknowns and questions you have to think of every possibility even the ones that you think aren't possible." :?
User avatar
By jlatorre
#401873
My condolences to the family.

I can totally understand how this could have happened. In my days flying the Sandias in New Mexico, we'd often encounter dust devils upon landing (maybe even triggering them). I think that there was a fatality directly related to that in the Sandia landing area in the early 1980s, just after I left there. It doesn't take much for a gentle headwind, or no wind at all, to become a hellacious crosswind or tailwind. And there's no predicting it at all. It's just one of those random, one-chance-in-a-thousand things.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

Visiting Wallaby 2017

Loved it and was grooving to the soundtrack. Thank[…]

OK, I have a better video now of a practice Fly On[…]

That was very cool to watch, thanks! Reminded […]