Additional relevantly-excellent info snipped...
> If such a tail gust DOES hit you, it is vital that you push the nose
> down and dive at the ground. This will feel VERY uncomfortable but
> is the one thing maneuver you have at your disposal. Failure to do
> this WILL result in a stall/spin low to the ground, which is
> non-recoverable, so avoiding this outcome is the top priority (this
> happened to Shmulik). Note that you will already be dropping fast
> when this happens and the ground will be rushing up at you, so your
> instinct, which must be fought, will be to pull up on the stick. An
> important thing to remember is that close to the ground the vertical
> air motion will flatten out and your vertical down rate will cease,
> although you will still have a tailwind. You will also have ground
> effect in your favor (if you are within a wingspan of the ground).
> The area of a microburst is small, and you have a good chance of
> flying out of it.
Just a 'somewhat anal' modification to the excerpted bit below,
most-explicitly the sentence-ending phrase following the "...and...":
> An important thing to remember is that close to the ground the
> vertical air motion will flatten out and your vertical down rate will
Murphy's a powerful guy, and inertia is real. Ask the smashed bugs on
your vehicle's windshield how well object-induced flow-diversion worked
My point in picking this nit isn't to nitpick, but to attempt to do all
I can to encourage fellow glider pilots to analyze the meteorology &
physics of downbursts (aka 'microbursts') ruthlessly-cold-bloodedly,
before willy-nilly accepting some over-simplified and demonstrably false
personal rationale justifying the risks they're taking by indulging in
FWIW, I happily, willingly - and, eventually, ruthlessly-coldbloodedly -
enjoyed XC soaring (mostly in the intermountain western U.S.) for 37
years, which included encountering 3 downbursts in landing patterns -
and 'getting away with it.' After the first one (on a
not-real-high-cloudbase, local-survival-only, sort of fall soaring day),
I became a "virga coward!" who actively strove to land only after days
went quiescent...and yet, I "got targeted" two more times. I was luckier
than Shmuel in that each encounter with the downbursts occurred when I
had >2,700' agl ground clearances...with zero subsequent options for
waiting for the situation to improve.
It appears to me Shmuel Dimentstein was less fortunate than I was. (See
also Tom Serkowski's "It happened to me!" downburst-encounter tale
earlier in this thread...from which I concluded Tom came about as
knowingly close to downburst-associated-disaster as any
adrenaline-junkie pilot might wish for...and he ain't that sort of pilot!)
While - in *some* instances - change in the air's direction from
vertically downward to horizontal may save your
downburst-encapsulated-bacon, to therapeutically count on it doing so in
*all* cases is to be accepting a demonstrably false rationale as gospel.
Fervently wishing something will-be true won't make it so. And if that
ruthless-cold-bloodedness helps any Joe Glider Pilot to be less
complacent about his virga/T-storm/downburst-avoiding philosophies, it
will - IMO - improve JGP's future chances of avoiding/surviving any such
I did not know Shmuel Dimentstein, but from everything I've read about
him and his accident, I place it into the rare "fate bucket" (as
contrasted to the far larger/more-filled "stupid-pilot-tricks bucket").
A "There but for the grace of God..." sort of accident. May he RIP and
may his family and friends gain what comfort they can from its
circumstances, which appear-to-me to leave his reputation as a pilot
free from after-the-fact "coulda-woulda" second-guessing.