Monday, March 07, 2011

Gate Check

So - I was was one of those pilots with an "interesting" launch yesterday, and I want to take responsibility for taking off without one of my risers being correctly locked into my steel carabiner. No two ways about it - I got lucky. The carabiner completely unhooked from the riser as I was launching from Kahana low launch, in brisk conditions. I didn't get very far off the ground, or from the hill, being that one side was hanging by the speed line connection only, and so I landed safely, although a bit embarrassed by my demonstration of carelessness. One item I'll be adding to my pre-flight check in the future is to thoroughly check my carabiner "gate" to ensure it is closed completely and locked with the riser inside. That's my lesson.


Duck said...


Good Lesson! Glad you were not injured. You can be sure I'll be double checking everything. Thanks for sharing the experience.

Thom said...

goes for me too. you always think you got a good check list then you get a little push like this to reallllllly make sure.

Thanks for the lesson Jim no more demonstrations to get your point across though.

Unknown said...

Jim...I'm glad your OK. It takes courage to admit ones mistakes. By relating your experience you are helping others. My own biners do not currently shut automatically--I will fix that. I shudder to think of the consequences if you had flown out farther from the hill before your riser disengaged. The margin for error in this sport is slim with potentially devastating consequences.

My story of that day began with Gary taking the time to show me his dialed-in equipment set-up. Scrappy sharing his knowledge with me on the hill and then running with brother Steve to assist Jim. At the end of the day, when I had hiked down feeling forlorn, Duck and Alex both shook my hand and tried to make me feel better. Thanks guys for the many examples of character traits I hope to emulate. is a measure of your character that your willing to share your story to help others. Thank you.


Anonymous said...


I have those exact biners, and recently have noticed that in snow/cold they do not particuarly like to click/lock closed. Will all the winter flying I have been doing, I also have really slowed down and made ABSOLUTELY sure to methodically go through the check list.

All's well that ends well, and it sounds like you got a freebie lesson.

Jon Malmberg

Anonymous said...

so glad you lucked out Tom
My ppg has twice as many carabriders to mis-lock . If someone disturbes me when I'm doing my safty check, I restart my s/check .

DaveZ said...

Thanks for sharing that. It never occurred to me that the speed system line would hold you up. Wow. That's kind of an eye opener to keep that system checked and in very good condition.

How the heck did it fly like that, half the wing on full speed bar! Wild ride I'll bet.


Dave Z

Anonymous said...

Another reason not to disconnect.