Erik Boehm wrote:Well, the ludicrously low wing loading argument wouldn't be a good one to make, because it goes doubly for PGs. Also being tail-less doesn't make something pitch unstable, it also goes doubly for PGs, and some HGs do have small tails.
but your basic point is still valid
The point is that it seems awfully silly to us "real" pilots to hear hang glider pilots bagging on paraglider pilots when both aren't much more than a leaf blowing in the wind. And I bet it seems awfully silly to a commercial transport pilot to hear me calling myself a "real" pilot.
Incidentally, PG's are very pitch stable because they are basically pendular. Hang gliders are basically pitch unstable because your hang point is extremely close to your center of pressure.
First, don't take my arguing with you as support for the "PGs are death traps" argument, sometimes I just like to argue (I just want to make sure my position is understood)
My initial point was that is wasn't a very good argument to point out an area where HGs may be deficient, if PGs are more so in that area (ie wing loading), then its simply a matter of arguing what the threshold is.
Also, I'd argue that PGs aren't aerodynamically pitch stable. Their pitch stability does not come from the wing, but rather from hanging a mass far below the wing, which doesn't really help much for small changes (and could also be done for any shape wing - indeed most aircraft have their mass relatively closer to the wing than hang gliders do, but that doesn't mean they aren't pitch stable) - indeed I see beginner PGs "porpoise" more so than HGs (before they've learned to control/prevent that with proper application of the brakes)
But in the end the fatality rate is roughly equal as far as I can tell, so everything else is just arguing about how we get there.
I can't tell that they are roughly equal, I can't tell that they aren't equal. In the absence of convincing evidence that they are unequal, I don't conclude equality, I simply make no conclusion.
Anecdotally, at Ed Levin, I've seen many PG accidents. I've also seen many that were do to pilot behavior, and can't really be blamed on the craft (the most recent fatality there, the guy was flying closer to the hill in a place I would never have flown in my hangglider, he did suffer a collapse, but I'm not sure a HG would have fared any better given it was probably in rotor on the lee side of the ridge, with some punchy thermals and sink[for Ed Levin]). I also don't have any empircal data on the relative frequencies of flights there. I'm likely to overestimate the HG share of flights, because I'm more likely to show up when its good for HGs (which may be blown out for PGs)
As I've posted multiple times before:
Put an ABS system on a bunch of Taxis, and tell them they have ABS - accident rate doesn't change, even though you've made the cabs "safer".
I'd wager if you told someone they had ABS when they didn't, they accident rate would go way up, and if you told someone they didn't have ABS when they did, it would go down (until such time has passed that the drivers are familiar with their brakes capabilities regardless of what they were told).
It seems even if one craft is intuitively "safer" than another, statistics won't bear that out because of the way people behave.
The most important factors are how well each group asses the risks, and how much risk each group is willing to take.
You can make a craft more and more "unsafe" as long as the people flying them remain well aware of the limits of the craft
Besides, I have a VERY hard time believing that the big reason for the hatred of paraglider pilots is because hang glider pilots think they're flying more dangerous craft.
I won't argue with you there.