Tree landings

Notes from a webinar hosted by Topher Mira
New England Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association
March 9, 2021

Avoiding trees is dangerous in order to land in a postage stamp!  Fly into the trees and grab the densest one. – John Gallagher

Topher Mira is a professional tree technician and has accomplished many rescues of pilots who were forced to land in trees.  Here are some vital tips to memorize in case YOU wind up in the trees!  Carry a100' of small line in order to lower a weight so you can pull up a rescue line.  Floss can break!

  1. Pick the target  You want as dense a grove of trees as possible.  Lone trees must be avoided at all costs.
  2. Aim for the middle of the tree that you have picked in the grove, not the branches.  The most solid green part of the tree is the safest.
  3. Slow down  Let the wing overfly the crown of the tree.  In other words go to min sink.  If you do a hard flair you may drop out of the tree!
  4. Get small, into a ball for safety.
  5. Cross legs to protect your vitals.  A scraggly branch could tear a vital artery and you could also get neutered!
  6. GRAB the nearest branch as quickly as possible and pull yourself to the center of the tree and secure yourself so you don't fall!  As the glider settles into the tree, it may slip off the branches and down you go.
  7. DO NOT SELF-RESCUE!  Wait for help to come.  Get comfortable, calm down.  You do not want to fall out of the tree – your biggest danger at this time.

Yours truly is a trained cave rescue technician but I would not rescue myself because my task saturation level would be extreme, like being drunk.