Reserve toss at Woodrat June 21

Well the practice day was fine, until I got to toss my laundry for my first time ever ;)

On glide for Prospect Peak.
Started out pretty uneventful with a bunch of us deciding to get going on the the task early (since it was a practice day and wasn't going to count anyways.  Out by Grant's Pass we (Marty, Bill B, James, Eric, et al) were crossing the valley west to Prospect Peak.  On about 2/3 bar when I had a big frontal which horseshoed and fell back behind me.  The tips clapped together (which is a bad thing on the IP6) and the left one threaded its way down the lines for about a 40% cravatte.  The right tip came out OK, but I had a couple of riser twists and the glider was winding up to the left with only abut 1200' above the ground.

Grant's Pass
Now I've been flying for 13 years and have never tossed my reserve, and prided myself on that track record.  It was actually getting to the point where I was starting to wonder if, when the time came, I would actually toss in time or wait too long since, up to now, I've always been able to deal with it, and didn't want to ruin my to-date spotless track record ;)

I'm happy to report that despite never tossing before, I can still recognize a tossing situation and do the deed ;)  My reserve came out no problem and I felt the reassuring tug on my shoulder straps indicating the velcro had unzipped and I was hanging down properly.  The problem started after that.  The glider started downplaning and twisting up even more so I now had something like 6-7 twists between me and good lines, and I couldn't reach past the 6-7 twists with my short arms.  So I had to hand-over-hand climb up and past the twists until I could reach the good lines and get my glider under control and into something stable that wasn't interfering with the reserve.
Where I ended up.  Haven't moved my gear yet.

Finally got the glider under control and saw I was coming up to the ground so I decided to hold the configuration I had (it was staying stable) and ride it to the end.  I was coming up to a property with a big barn and it looked like I was going to land on the roof.  It was a big slanted roof with a 20' drop off the edge and I didn't want to land on the roof, slide down it, and fall the last 20', so I put my hand out to push away and landed on the ground next to it.

It was a pretty nice landing all things considered.  I came down a bit hard on my heel and my wrist, spraining (I think) the wrist and bruising the heel.  My glider landed next to me, not a scratch on it, while my reserve got caught up in the tree about 20' overhead.  The reserve ride took maybe 20 seconds, with 15 of those working on getting my glider under control and stabilized.

After ascertaining that I was unhurt for the most part I radioed that I was OK to the circling pilots and phoned HQ to report my position along with my SPOT message (I chose to use the OK message and not the help message as I was pretty much OK and already in cellphone contact).
I was really glad to not hit the barn!

The lady at the house was very nice and helped me pack up just in time for Hawaii Pete to show up and cut the offending branch down with his polesaw.  Looks like a 12" rip in one panel but that's it, fixable I think and in any case it looks like I've got a couple of rain days to get a temporary replacement sorted out.  I have a spare reserve and deployment bag at home, but I neglected to bring them, d'oh!

Pete cutting the tree down.

I think if I hadn't been on bar at the time I would have been able to keep the tips from clapping together.  This glider seems to behave quite nicely, but the tips clapping together is its Achilles Heel.  BZ tossed his laundry today too (at SIV) trying to frontal his IP6 and had a similar (60%) cravatte.  So IP6 pilots, do what you can to keep the tips from clapping together!  I've had to keep them apart before in frontals, but this time they clapped together so fast I didn't really have time to prevent it, and I was too low to want to spend time dealing with it, especially with the glider winding up.  I'm glad I tossed, but I really hope it's another 13 years before I have to toss again ;)


  1. Holy crap Nicole! The dreaded "kiss of death" that was. Glad you're okay!

  2. I listened to Cross Country magazine's podcast on the Rat Race but didn't realize you were there representing Canuckistan. Glad to hear you are okay! Thanks for sharing the experience.