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Man Bails Out Of Broken Glider, Parachutes To A Hospital

A pilot suffered only minor injuries after the wings from his glider sheared off mid-flight. But that's not the amazing part. He managed to parachute safety on top of a downtown Reno parking garage that just happened to be used by the St. Mary's Hospital. Robert Spielman took off from the Minden-Tahoe airport in search for some lift to keep him busy during Easter Sunday, only he didn't make it back to his planned destination. ( More...

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paul trubits 5
Hope he walked into a casino and bet a whole lot of money on black.
Club Jet 1
First I thought, lucky guy. But give it some more thought and I gotta wonder why he was wearing a chute in the first place. Regs would require it if he was doing aerobatics. Poorly executed aerobatics would also require it - albeit for different reasons.
doug staab 1
It states right in the article that these pilots always wear a chute
sparkie624 1
I was wondering the same thing... Something doesn't quite add up.
Parachutes are worn as standard equipment in high performance sailplanes. As a matter of fact, there is no seat per se, just an impression that will fit the parachute so it is used as the cusions.

My Dad's sailplane broke-up over Minden in the '70s for just the same reason. Fortunately, the parachute saved him as well. Sailplane, not so much.
Club Jet 1
Huh, I had no idea. Got my private in an sgs-233 about 25 years ago but haven't done anything with it since. What's the reason for chutes in HP gliders? Actually, what defines a HP glider?
rgoubitz 1
Club Jet, I don't know of any high performance gliders that are operated without a parachute nowadays.
Even in Europe it is not unsual to wear a chute in a glider.
sparkie624 1
At least he is alive to tell his story...
The skuttlebutt I heard here in Reno is that the sailplane exceeded red line speed after the pilot became disoriented in zero visibility. We all know what comes next when combining excess speed with turbulence, and there was a lot of turbulence that day. From clear skys, the clouds moved in very quickly. The gusting winds were so strong at ground level that cars on the freeway were affected. Sure glad he had a parachute.
sparkie624 1
He was lucky in more ways than one... The wind blew him to exactly where he needed help.
Frank Harvey 0
Will be interested to read an actual report on this. I sometimes wondered about the nut tension when the wings were bolted on (without a torque wrench) after trailing to the launch point. A limited panel and greater wingspan demand attentive airmanship, especially as its often turbulent, and can be cloudy, in the areas you find lift, and more so if others are soaring nearby. You're suddenly in a cloud wondering where the horizon, and the other sailplanes, went.
rgoubitz 1
Uhhh Frank.... FYI these wings are not "bolted on". They are secured to each other and/or the fuselage with huge pins through the spars which are then safetied. Torqueing them does NOT come into play and there is no "nut tension".
sparkie624 1
Very good point, and I have seen people preform what is commonly German Slang term known as "German Torque" or should I say "Good'n Tight" or the use of a so call Calibrated Elbo :)
Paul Ahkolik 0
Silly pilot...he should've aimed for Reknown Medical Center ;-)
He planned the whole THAT's skill! :)


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