Oh what a breath of fresh air. I’ve been listening to a few glider pilots that insist on blaming the Netjets crew. That jet’s flight path was easily known hours in advance. It was in a very predictable location on a published approach corridor. They were using their radios, their transponder, I believe the NTSB report said they had TCAS. They most likely had their lights on. Making much effort to be visible, by all rights.
The closing rate means the jet crew had to be looking at the exact right spot in the sky and probably had just a few seconds to see the aircraft. As we all know, a collision course means the glider was not moving within the field of view. A glider head on looks like a sheet of paper from a distance. Visually, our eyes are not the best equipment we have for seeing other aircraft, and in this instance, definetely odds are stacked against it.
A glider up that high, with no lights, apparently not talking to anyone (though that isn’t factually established yet), transponder not turned on, in an approach path for a busy airport that is apparently posted on a bulletin board at the glider’s rented location is taking a huge risk and not being fully responsible, in my opinion.
The only thing the jet pilots may have done wrong is not ‘see and avoid’. But when the other aircraft isn’t making much effort to be seen nor avoided, that makes it difficult. Descent at that point is a busy time for all crew members. The pilot not flying has many more responsibilities than just peeking out of the cockpit. We all must trust one another to make all effort possible to make the skies safe. As I see it, the glider didn’t do that.
The glider, though apparently in a legal place for it to be, could have made significantly more effort to be seen. Or simply avoided that busy area. Some have said the jet should avoid the area, but that is up to the FAA and the airport to reroute and change a known and predictable flight path.
Remember that regulation? It states something about being knowledgeable about all factors affecting the safety of flight? The netjets crew presumably should be knowledgeable about a high glider traffic area, and the glider pilot should have been knowledgeable about the busy corridors into a large airport nearby and the safer places to fly. Also, probably should have been communicating with ATC about their location and potentially had their xponder on at such a high altitude. Even the flight schools website, which has a LOT of suggestions that had they been followed this mishap would have been avoided, suggests having the transponder on in that area at that altitude: mindensoaringclub.com/int2/i … e&Itemid=1
Oh my, this rant is over, but holy crap it’s nice to read people that can see that “right of way” rules mean nothing without see and avoid, which means nothing if you aren’t seen. Make yourself seen. Guess the NTSB final report will be interesting. I’ll shut up now.