sg wrote:Hogging the air in front of launch for too long is rude and annoying.
But launching into and flying right at another pilot is just dumb and risking life and limb.
Lets not confuse being considerate with right of way rules and good airmanship.
But isn't the whole concept of having right of ways are that they're a way for us all to be guided well in advance
in the correct way of being considerate and having good airmanship? If things progress to the point where a midair is about to happen without strong evasive action then we don't simply pull up right of ways to determine the correct deviation, although it still must be considered in making the call as to what to do. Every tight situation is unique and no set of rules can guide the pilot as to what is the best action. Right of way rules are often very gray, and often even contradict each other. In split second maneuvering intended to avoid a catastrophy the pilot should do whatever is necessary to maximize the odds of a safe outcome.
The right of way rules are more for guiding the pilot that should yield as to communicating an appropriate time in advance that he will indeed yield. It all boils down to being predictable.
Perhaps even the name "right of way" is misleading. The word "right" can connotate a simple and unmistakeable attribute suggesting a pilot should hold steadfast to his "rights" regardless of the fact that it is leading to a narrowing of options. Maybe we should call them something like "guidlines for predictable manoevering". This means that the intent of our flying should be that others around you can tell just by your location and bank angle, what you are likely to do next.
I also believe the whole goal in flying around others is to fly in a way that as much as possible allows others to fly as if you we not even there while still manoevering to work the lift to maximize your soaring. Like the indian that can walk through a forest and not leave an impression.
Here's the personal challenge I find. First I start with the premise that I should feel that if I have made another pilot uncomfortable I may have perhaps flown in a way that I need to change. But we all have our own personal comfort zones. It could be that the pilot who felt discomfort that I was there would be uncomfortable unless I was more than a mile away. So the trick is to accommodate others up to a point but at some point, their inability to join into the flow of traffic is something you just can't help, so don't feel as though you made an error. For example, if lift permits, I'll widen a circle to let someone into the lift, but I also expect a fair amount of ability of this pilot to see and take the opportunity I am giving him. If he isn't taking the opportunity, due to his discomfort at getting that close, well at least I tried and I don't feel bad that he is uncomfortable that I am there. With sensitive enough equipment, even the best indian's trail will be visible.
I gotta say some of the most enjoyable flying I've ever done is when a tight group is flying well together. Here is a link to a report on perhaps the most profound example of this in my 33 years of flying. I apologize if that I was flying a bag that day offends anyone. What is a bag? It's a type of hangie that folds while flying instead of after flying.