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Taiwan blocked from ICAO summit

China has the (rotating) presidency of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and has used this position to pursue it’s political agenda of isolating Taiwan from the international community. China has been intent on preventing Taiwan participating in world bodies such as the WHO for years now. Aviation safety is one of those areas of endeavor that simply has to be above political interference. J Michael Cole here explains the move. China is so determined to isolate Taiwan that delegates to the summit were warned their microphones would be muted if they dared to defy orders not to even mention the country by name. I don’t think I have to explain to other pilots why shunning Taiwan, with two international airlines and a handful of domestic and regional carriers, is short-sighted and dangerous. Ironically, one of ICAO’s current slogans is “No country left behind”.

Diving the north coast’s ‘Secret Garden’

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Pilot death at Puli

From local news reports a 52 year old Taichung pilot died on August 27th at Puli’s larger launch area. Apparently he had encountered turbulence shortly after take-off, had a collapse and not been able to recover before hitting the ground. The reserve parachute was not deployed. He died on the spot from head injuries. Local media report states the pilot had two years experience prior to the accident.

Saipan diving 2015

Back to Saipan for another round of drink and dive shenanigans…

More tandem accidents in Taidong

A tandem operator ended up in tree with his passenger on May 5th after launching into very strong and gusty winds. Those with a sharper eye may recognize the glider as a competition model which is not rated for tandem operation at all and definitely requires expert skills in handling, even in the best of conditions. This error is then compounded when they get to hospital and the pilot doesn’t mention at all that they fell out of the sky, but instead claims they had something like a hiking accident, involving falling down a mountain slope. This is common here because ordinary travel insurance explicitly excludes paragliding from a list of covered activities. Avoiding any mention of paragliding in police reports also protects the pilot population in general from investigation by authorities or result in someone’s semi-legal tandem business being disrupted.
News video of the whole sorry story here.

Wanli site closed

Site closedAKA Feitsuiwan and Green Bay, this long-established site has been blockaded by the land owner. This site was founded by a group of ex-ROCAF pilots who had traveled to Europe to learn the then-new sport of hang-gliding. They were lucky enough to have a spot of land on a hill near Wanli and even had British pilots come scope it out for a suitable flying site. Since then of course hang-gliding has almost disappeared and paragliding (which is much easier and faster to learn) has become much more popular. This has been followed with a spike in the number of tandem operators, many of which have poor safety records and use very inexperienced pilots to run. Has ‘The Colonel’ finally had enough of the cowboy tandem operators up there and closed them down? People forget the launch site is on private property, and the owner is the one taken to task every time there’s an accident (which is often) or when pilots overfly the Patriot battery right behind it.

News video here (in Mandarin)

Pilot dies in Puli

Now News news item on pilot death near Puli
Apple News on same accident
The news item says the 57-year old Hsinchu pilot, surnamed Wu, crashed in the river bed near 塔洛灣橋, which is close to Chingjing Farm. This is a very dangerous XC route with no safe landing places for several kilometers in very steep terrain. Wu had had a tree landing on January 1st, also while flying at Puli. Condolences to the family and friends of the pilot.

Korean pilot dies in Saichia

Apple News report

A 51-year old Korean pilot named Lee died on January 5th at Saichia. Reasons given for the crash are pretty speculative right now, with some witnesses suggesting a mid-air collision and a locked spiral dive led to the fatal crash, while others suggest a collapse and recovery gone wrong.