Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 20:13:49 -0000
From: "Tad Hurst" <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Passing para gliders

All good discussion. Please let me add my 2 cents worth and try to
answer your original question directly.

I fly PG and HG. The biggest wake generators are the heavy tandem
PGs, then really heavy tandem HGs, then PGs and lastly HGs. The more
high performance HGs wake less. Of course, if the Hangie wangs one
right in front of you, the turbulence is immense.

When I am on a PG, I don't worry too much about the HG wakes - its
the PGs I am looking out for.

When I am on a Hang, I try to pass the PGs on the ridge side.
Sometimes this is not possible. I sometimes dive under them. You
never know where an inexperienced PG may go, but you can be nearly
certain that is cannot dive! I (alsmost) never pass on the side away
from the cliff, because the PG may turn at any moment, and yes those
darned PG pilots (oops, I are one!) are often blissfully unware that
there may be someone moving up from behind them.

The other thing I do when overtaking a PG, and I cannot pass on the
ridge side nor dive under, is to simply turn back early before the PG
turns. There is a real advantage to this - if you pass the PG, then
reach the end of the ridge, you turn back and you have to pass them
again. If you turn first, no passes are necessary.

On a short ridge, with a PG and HG that are coordinating this with
each other, both pilots can use 75% of the ridge with no passing.
The lead guy indicates that he is ready to turn by looking back at
the trailing guy. The guy in the rear immediatly initiates a turn,
and the lead guy follows back the other way. At the other end of the
ridge, the other guy initiates the process.

Oh yeah, remember those hearvy tandem PGs! At Torrey, we give them
the ridge side no matter which way they are going. There are two
reasons for this: first, it is polite. They often need to stay in
the lift band more than the solo gliders do. Second, if you take the
ridge side, you will get the snot waked out of you, and you will be
near the ridge when it happens.

Once I was flying a HEAVY tandem PG and another very light solo PG
was also flying. We were at about ridge level or slightly above, and
the solo pilot insisted on passing on the right according to the
standard rules when we were approaching head on. After we both
landed, she came over and said to me "You waked me very badly 4 or 5
times". My response was "Yes. Why did you let that happen?" If you
fly out and give me the ridge, I cannnot wake you." The light came
on for her - the same light that did not come on after the first,
second or subsequent wakes. SHE could have avoided the problem, but
she kept flying into the wake. BTW, if you are going to deviate from
the standard rules, make sure that it is obvious that your are doing
this. Turn EARLY and signal your intentions. I often point to my
own head, and then in the direction I am going to fly. If you just
point, it is not clear whether you mean "I am going this way" or "You
should go this way".

So maybe the lesson for the HG/PG case is this. If the PG pilot is
concerned about your wake, and is aware of your presence, and you are
approaching from behind at the same level or slightly lower, then the
PG guy should move out from the ridge and allow you to pass on the
ridge side. Nobody will get waked, and the slightly lower HG can use
the lift!