Glider Pilot Confessions – 2 Turns that Almost Killed Me

Glider Pilot Confessions – 2 Turns that Almost Killed Me


hi it’s Bruno as I think back on 23 plus years of flying sail planes and gliders over the mountains I’ve done tens of thousands of circles right over mountain peaks and spines and all of those turns were done relatively safely except there are two that come to mind that I still shudder when I think about them I came very very close to hitting the mountain and dying on those two turns so good news for you is I actually was videotaping during both of those and I wanted to share them with you and kind of talk through what I did wrong and show you how close I came and hopefully this will be a good learning lesson for some of you when it comes to flying very close to terrain and and mountains so here we go this first video I first of all both of these videos are some of our more popular videos and you might have actually even watched them before and didn’t even think anything of it I I was good in the cockpit of just keep flying and not mentioning oh I just almost killed myself so this first video is from a video called something like elevator ride up a mountain and it was a spectacular day and flight if you look just going straight up the spine of this mountain without turning the winds were perfect and the lift was perfect everything was perfect right up until the point where I almost killed myself and I when I get to the top of the mountain I think I’ll just do a single turn just to kind of show the audience I don’t know the surroundings or something and I make the turn and Here I am what you notice is you know the wind is coming very strong from the West hitting the mountain and I don’t adjust my turn in my circle for taking account the wind check out what happens so there you go I just keep flying make make no comment of it but what did I do wrong so let’s go back and let’s look at what I did wrong here so when I turn out from the mountain I’ve got the wind now facing me blowing me towards the mountain peak what I should have done is I should have leveled my wings for a few seconds at least if not more and flown instead of a circle I should have flown more of a elongated oval so I’m flying out into the headwind to get me further away from the mountain peak because that wind is constantly blowing me in towards the peak and so had I done that I then would have had more distance from the mountain when I then made that full turn so again just one last time looking at this just you know I make a perfect circle which was perfectly right into the mountain so what what saved me in this case was that I was high enough that I was able to fly over the peak and over the crest of the mountain instead of smacking it had I been even a couple hundred feet lower when I started this turn I I would have likely hit the mountain the other thing that I was doing was that I was not looking over my shoulder enough to then see the mountain coming towards me when I did finally see it I guess you could say last minute reaction was that I was high enough but it was still way too close one of the other things that you’ll notice is that I actually put my nose down towards the mountain right as I see that it’s coming up and it’s way too close because I wanted the airspeed to maneuver at the last second in case I needed to do an extreme maneuver the second video is again one of my oldies but goodies this is when I landed in a tall wheat field so this is during a national competition and the the lift had just died now they’re way earlier and and I was I was still I think in shock of I am about to land out I cannot believe that I’ve gotten low the days died where did the lifts go kind of a thing so my mindset was one of disbelief and not accepting my fate and if you see I’m I’m pretty low on this Ridge and I’m still trying to to find any kind of little bubble or something that could miraculously get me up so I should have been focused on finding a good field and landing but instead I was trying to find little micro bubbles in this in this mountain range so I go past this Canyon and there was a real optical illusion so I did several things wrong here but I find you know a little bit of something that I think might keep me up and of course as you can see it’s not keeping me up so I turn out away from the mountain and now I’m turning and that Canyon is blocking my view of where the mountain really is in fact if you look here I am a complete idiot I actually roll out straight because I I think I’ve got enough room and so I’m now flying straight towards the mountain but you know but you know into the canyon and now when I turn I mean look at this it’s it’s way too soon so again in States cut in and what you’ll see is I’m now diving towards the treetops to pick up airspeed so that way I have enough airspeed – then you know maneuver just feed over those treetops had I pulled back on the stick that would have been you know I wasn’t all that fast that’s the scenario where you then do a stall spin so I guess instinct you could say kicked in here and by diving towards the treetops instead of trying to avoid them I was able to then have the speed to maneuver to away from it but I mean way too close I don’t know her looking at this video I I hope the pilots that are watching this do the same thing too because this was this was a bad mistake so you know again looking at it let’s just look one more time at this so you know I turn out and I’m circling and instead of my turning my head and looking over my shoulder to see where the the mountain really is I think I know where it is but I am being blown towards it and then again straightening out completely the wrong move and had I been looking to the right in this case it’s not even over the shoulder anymore I was just looking straight ahead wrong thing to do you should be looking and really finding the the mountain as soon as you you know you it comes over your shoulder I was just looking straight ahead and you know as soon as I saw the mountain the right thing to do would have been not to continue the turn because I had that mountain valley in front of me I could have turned to the left and completely avoided it instead of just barely skimming the treetops so again thanks for for watching these with me and I hope it scares you as much as it scared me it’s interesting thousands tens of thousands of turns and these are still on the forefront on my mind and what this shows is that you can be having a great time in my first video carefree and really mess up and in my second video your highly under stress you’re about to land out and you’re just tunnel focused and you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing so I think two good examples of messing up in many ways the same kind of way of just allowing myself to turn too close into the mountain and luckily both times instinctively douve to pick up airspeed and was able to avoid the the treetops in both of them but way too close so again hopefully this was helpful it’s fun to share both the the fun experiences but also the mistakes you know that’s what this is all about is we have amazing experiences up there but we want to stay safe so thanks for watching and really look forward to seeing your comments on maybe some of the mistakes that you’ve made or what you think about these mistakes that I made here so cheers and thanks for watching

100 comments

  • Adolf Galand

    It's ok you could have slided down the mountain.

    Reply
  • freshnelly

    Always turn away from the terrain #1 ridge soaring rule jeeeez!! (paraglider pilot)

    Reply
  • kyle robinson

    I watched the whole video thinking to myself "why didn't he turn left?"
    The mountain was on the right. Then he said it.

    Reply
  • Marco

    I dont know why you did not instantly stoped the turn in the first situation, when you saw that you were to close and continued in the direction with lower terrain in the opposite direction you were flying before. That was the second mistake during that maneuver if you don't take into account that there was still enough space below you and you could have still pulled the elevator there was also some space left to stall speed. In both cases the question is why don't you look over the shoulder into the turn direction, because you seem to know to do so but seemed to look straight ahead… i hope you do and did different the other thousand turns before… no "bad" critics but the main things i see critical about the decisions made and i have difficulties to undersand because of your long experience. It is a good thing that you analyze it yourself and realize that there were things going wrong!

    Reply
  • noam biard

    IDIOT

    Reply
  • ƑƦeaƙøϜυʀѰ

    never flown anything, accept flightsims, but i love flying and all types of aircraft…These mistakes are very informative and kudos for pointing them out, especially in a life and almost death situation..Glad that didn't happen!..head must be on a swivel at all times——I enjoy your vids and commentary about soaring in general. My good buddy use to soar and had almost the same ship as yours without all the bells/whistles, so he keeps my soaring "jargon" current :)….Keep those vids coming and fly safe!

    Reply
  • Walter Wilkins

    There be metaphors here . . .

    Reply
  • Lewis Johnson

    I’d certainly rather you land in my wheat field than die…

    Reply
  • Bill Meeh

    STAY AWAY FROM MOUNTAINS!!!

    Reply
  • Erwin Oberkofler

    Do you have a Pilot School ?

    Reply
  • John Rambo

    What idiot!

    Reply
  • Stefan Söderbäck

    Many talks about luck and skills, I'm pretty sure that you'll need a shitload of luck to be great 🙂

    Reply
  • fladave99 Mills

    Here's is plane with no motor. LETS TAKE THAT!

    Reply
  • Facts Matter

    Thanks for posting this. I don't think there's any pilots who at some point don't make a mistake and have regrets and question their judgement. The difference is wether they have the presence to recover and learn from their mistake if it's possible to recover. Airspeed is crucial, it seems counterintuitive but when you need to gain lift the only way to do it is by increasing airspeed which usually means pointing the nose of your aircraft down not up!

    Reply
  • Jeffrey Perkins

    My Cherokee 140 glide slope somewhat better than a Corsair? I did a simulated engine out, departure. Estimate lost 350 feet doing a 180 as if turning back to runway.

    Reply
  • StealthyMonk

    I hope you wore brown trousers that day, sir.

    Reply
  • Jacob Pichette

    You are very lucky! Thanks for the good lesson.

    Reply
  • Chris5685

    Oh dear god. If I ever get to own a sailplane, I'll definitely go for a self launching/sustaining one. At least I can limp back to the airfield with one of those 😀

    When I saw that second video, I had the same feeling as when I almost killed myself in my car during winter. I was late, and went into a left turn that tightens up WAY too fast on a slippery road surface. I tried to turn in while still on the brakes, but the steering wheel just went light and numb. Lost all traction at the front wheels. Woods right next to the road too. So instincts kicked in, I release the brakes, and decrease the steering angle. I managed to get back enough grip to make it through the turn, but it was probably one of the scariest moments in life I ever had. Five seconds of self- induced hell that could've been avoided with a bit of foresight.

    When it dawns on you that you've put yourself in a terrible situation, and there's not much you can do to avoid it, your heart sinks, your face cramps up and goes numb… Yeah, exactly what I felt just right now when you turned back towards that mountain, and lost airspeed. Thank you for the video and the advice!

    Reply
  • FlopOfShame

    If you had hit that snow covered mountain, you’d be a dead man

    Reply
  • John Quest

    Why the hell would you fly a plane with no fricken engine! 😕

    Reply
  • 400 MILLION BY MONDAY

    This footage is awesome man keep loving life 100

    Reply
  • Veterans Cannabis Advocacy Group

    & No Traffic Signs in sight 👀😇

    Reply
  • Honest Abe

    You are awesome

    Reply
  • Terran

    The reaper will have his due one of these days. You got away twice.

    Reply
  • 舒克

    纯粹的飞翔

    Reply
  • James Holmes

    I wanna be in a fuckinggggg glider rn flying

    Reply
  • Arup Bose

    With great powers comes great responsibilities and with no power comes even more responsibilities!

    Reply
  • Sikisan

    How much are these gliders? Always wanted to learn

    Reply
  • jack masters

    School boy mistake

    Reply
  • Witgang Younotube

    oh man, i'm no pilot but if if i was watching that video i'd knew that you did something bad there, either a mistake or got cocky with your flying skills if there's one thing i can understand is that with power'd planes you can afford to loose airspeed and altitude in places as long as you got power to pull yourself out of those situations but with a glider… well you are mostly at the mercy of the winds and must have quite decent margin for error i'm glad you got out of those situations and lived to tell the story, sometimes close calls like this are building the experience in ppl you can have 10000 hours in a glider spinning and doing whatever , if you do them all in open space and from high alt that doesn't make you an experienced pilot, you can't really appreciate the abilities of a glider without having a close point of reference . and from what i see that glider can take quite tight turns!

    Reply
  • Edmister Enterprises LLC

    Im surprised Glider Planes dont have backup engines. Nothing crazy. Just enough to fire up and get a bit of thrust in potentially life threatening situations.

    Reply
  • Ryan 88

    How are you flying that so gracefully when earth is spinning over 1000mph. are we really spinning 🤔

    Reply
  • Pabz Analleba

    What is the purpose of that tiny rope infront?

    Reply
  • jantestowy123

    but you stayed cool, that what saved you…

    Reply
  • Corey Wood

    not a pilot but even i freak out as you turn towards the mountain and ground in these two clips jesus.

    Reply
  • Michael Sulkey

    My heart was pounding!

    Reply
  • Bill G

    Second event would have turned out like the "hold on Ronnie!" crash, had he not used all the available altitude to first gain speed, before making an evasive maneuver.

    Reply
  • superstarrr121

    What the hell is wrong with you ! Your married and your doin this shit!
    Shame on u .

    Reply
  • Knewt Knight

    Ever see bigfoot??

    Reply
  • Pew Live bibingka

    I'll be at your back shouting: Woot woot! TERRAIN!

    Reply
  • Su Amigo El Ilegal

    Looks like ur grabbing ur winner 😂😂🤣

    Reply
  • C.A. Long

    Jesus dude. Why? Thats the real question. Glad physics was on your side bud.

    Reply
  • C.A. Long

    Tunnel focus? Focus on not becoming mop liquid.

    Reply
  • JK E

    I've just completed 14 solos and am looking forward to maybe doing some x-country next year shortly after I get my full license and a little more experience. Some good lessons to pass on. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Cody Barricks

    Ur a idiot just fly a plane

    Reply
  • Bob alloo

    DARN it. I wanted to see you land in the wheat field. Never mind…found it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJgSL4X6L-Y

    Reply
  • Discover TJEN

    I wouldn’t even want to try anything like that in a sailplane no matter how many years experience I have. Unless I have an engine I’m keeping a lot of distance between me and the ground until I’m ready to land! 😁

    Reply
  • Alex Adam

    too bad it didnt happen🖕

    Reply
  • DaToNyOyO

    I don't feel like several hundred feet in front, and several hundred feet above, is close.
    That's a long way away.

    Reply
  • You Tuber

    I know an easy fix for those situations. get a plane with an engine!

    Reply
  • Naboth Anyang'

    Scary

    Reply
  • jacklayton34

    As a former glider instructor and current 777 captain, I think that training saved you, not instinct.

    Reply
  • Charlie1821

    Head on a swivel

    Reply
  • T Sclly

    Good points.. You seem to be very instinctive as to what you glider will do, that is pointing the nose down to keep airspeed and very aware of what you glider will do if airspeed is not maintained.. As a power airplane trained flyer with not enough current time, I probably would not opt for the speed, but maintain that altitude, thus staying to close to minimum airspeed , thus limiting my maneuverability.. and ending up on the wrong side of the mountain ridge and not being able to potentially get back over to the right side. My question is if carrying some water ballast, could a dump give you the lift and are your ballast tanks slightly pressured to do a dump that would give lift?

    Reply
  • Agdaan Ahaan #1 - CS:GO, Giveaways, Tutorials

    you lucky you survived!

    Reply
  • MrKarty01

    Cool dude, no drama and analytical response to change .

    Reply
  • SWC Mid

    Pretty cool, live and learn heavy on the live part.

    Reply
  • SteepVisions

    Mountains be sneaking up on pilots like : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XslcgQJMZaY

    Reply
  • Christopher Dounis

    Thanks for sharing your videos. Your experience and instincts clearly helped you recover these turns. Glad you're still here to tell the story…

    Reply
  • Pilot 301

    I've been in that position just out of Calistoga, Calif. "Never turn towards the mountain even if you think you have room. Old memories. (H-301).

    Reply
  • John Ayres

    I am no expert and have done very little gliding but this guy seemed to leave a very small margin for error here https://youtu.be/0tIGLZUFHIQ

    Reply
  • T K

    crazy, you are obviously a good pilot.

    Reply
  • Simon Jones

    Just don't fly anywhere near mountains. It's asking for trouble.

    Reply
  • voci ferus

    Those mountains should get a stern warning to stop creeping up on people like that.

    Reply
  • jerry sanders

    Great video 👍

    Reply
  • mybluebelly

    I`m sure all pilots experience these types of situations from time to time.

    Reply
  • Тупо Наука

    Your voice is very similar to Giovanni Giorgio (Daft Punk).

    Reply
  • Aikidophile

    Great video! Thanks for being humble enough to learn, and help us newer pilots to learn. Glad you're still with us! Keep going!

    Reply
  • Qishi Li

    Does this make you want to fly airplanes with an engine instead?

    Reply
  • Adnan lexus

    Hey great pilot. One question is the earth flat thank man

    Reply
  • Ieudkdi iduxkekr

    I thought he would be hitting trees and shit

    Reply
  • Simon

    just add a propeller to your plane dude

    Reply
  • Martin Sachs

    first rule in slope gliding:
    NEVER turn towards the mountain!
    the whole idea of a full cirle is thereby false.
    instead one performes a second turn away from the terain and fly a figure-eight.

    Reply
  • Blasian ZX

    The first one I was like…oh yeah quite dangerous. Second one…holy kryptonian ball sack that was close.

    Reply
  • AwakeAmericanow.

    As a long time pilot of both gliders and power, kudos to this guy for demonstrating that of all the activities we get involved with, only in flying, and maybe arguably driving too fast, the window for correcting a mistake can suddenly shut.

    Reply
  • u235u235u235

    will be fun when a vehicle this size can easily fly into space, fly to other star systems in 5-10 min, you fly on alien worlds and then fly back for dinner.

    Reply
  • Elwood Blues

    Don't fly into mountains.
    Got it.

    Reply
  • Robert Kilar

    What's the purpose of the Compaq Ipaq palmtop in there? I'm noob, just curious, what runs on it?

    Reply
  • electronicsNmore

    That was very bad. Lucky you made it out of that turn.

    Reply
  • Joe Cordero

    Thank you for your stories, keep flying.

    Reply
  • Djamal Adib

    Yes, alpine gliding can be VERY complex…….after all we neither see all these complex turbulences…………as a general rule, we should always turn away from the mountain, not towards it…………….glad nothing bad happened……………..amazing videos bro!

    Reply
  • Giles Lloyd

    I’d give up flying mate

    Reply
  • Neomaya Davila

    is that a compaq ipaq?

    Reply
  • Roger Turner

    I was watching your vario and at the same time pulling up on the pole in my computer chair. Very honest of you sir! Regards.

    Reply
  • X Gen

    I'm no glider pilot but it was still interesting to watch and learn something about it. Glad you had a couple close calls to learn from and live to keep doing what you enjoy.

    Reply
  • Kyle Fpv

    looked fine to me

    Reply
  • blacked mirror

    This guy knows what the people want. And what do the people want? Almost blood.

    Reply
  • Andrew G

    Holy crap, haven't seen a Pocket PC in years…

    Reply
  • Aa I

    Everyone is so hyper focused on the near crash that I'll bet nobody noticed the sasquatch.

    Reply
  • DOSTGOYEVSKY !

    At least you didn't do 9/11

    Reply
  • Skorpius

    I fly over mountains. Granted, I'm flying a powered aircraft with a low wing loading. It's not a sailplane but it isn't a brick either. However, I have never thought it was a good idea to do a 360 over a mountain peak and I have power to get me out.
    I would suggest getting some STOL training to improve your low altitude operations.

    Reply
  • urmo345

    The second one is really scary, saw video with a light plane which entered into similar situation, having not enough engine power and speed to fly over mountain they turned right, but because they did not gain speed it was not enough and they landed into forest. Thankfully they survived.

    Reply
  • Matt Murphy

    Nice video, thanks for sharing, I’ve made many mistakes, will keep making mistakes, but if we work hard, share and learn I hope the mistakes will be small ones.

    Reply
  • kidd venison

    Holy moly. I'm no pilot but I've got loads of hours in sims and sheesh. I don't think a lot of folks realize how close of calls these were. You're a good pilot. Good footage and explanations. Stay safe.

    Reply
  • RESPECT MY AUTHORITY

    I wrote a comment on the video, about being to close to the mountains, and how I wouldn't be able to do that.

    Reply
  • Ryan Oakley

    You live and learn

    Reply
  • Michael Weil

    Pucker factor 10

    Reply
  • Brian Greene

    Finally someone who uses his mistakes to educate others! Thank You! We need more of you!

    Reply
  • peter hopkins

    Why ?

    Reply
  • PJ

    I know nothing about flying, but know this much, fly away from the crest, not towards it! A good pilot focusses on flying, not making u-tube videos!

    Reply

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