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Was this a close shave?

Guest Cralis

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Hi guys,


I took my frequency scanner to Caboolture on Sunday to listen to what was happening and see what is meant by building a mental picture of where aircraft are based on their calls. Quite interesting... I'm battling with '5 miles North West of the field'. I'm thinking in my head - how did he know that!? Look at the compass, and work out the reciprical value, or something? Need to brush up on my quick maths! :)


Anyways, I saw a powered glider doing his downwind pass. Behind him, not very far back was a normal glider. I heard the powered guy reporting that he was on downwind. Thene there was a 'hiss' on the radio as if someone was about to speak - lasting maybe 4 seconds, then nothing...


The powered guy entered left base, and reported. Glider had closed on him a bit. Then the glider entered his base turn, and again.. a hissss.... and nothing.


By now, I was watching intensly, as it seemed the glider was catching the motorised glider.


Motorised guy turned and reported for finals. Then, about 5 seconds later, this hissss... as the glider followed him... They were now at a distance that I thought the powered guy may have been towing... but surely not!


I watched as the powered guy landed... and timed it.. and measured that 3 seconds later, the glider landed behind him - same runway. There was no tether! :ah_oh:


Firstly, if this is normal - disregard. But I just thought that it looked like an accident in the making. The glider seemed WAY too close. 3 seconds.. count it ... is pretty close, no? And he was cathing all the time... OK, maybe the slowing speed makes the time gap remain the same, but the distance reduce... but... it seemed fishy. Also, the fact that I never once heard the glider report his position... strange.


So, as a novice, I can guess at the fault: The gliders mic wasn't working. Was he perhaps broadcasting, but as there was an issue with his radio, no-one heard him. Especially the powered glider ahead of him. He may have had no idea he had a glider behind him, and I guess a glider can't do a go-around - but without the powered glider knowing there was someone so close behinf him - he was just cruising in as normal.


Or, perhaps the powered guy knew about it, and maybe this is what you do when you know another aircraft has a comms problem? Fly close?


I saw the glider had his spoilers up from quite far out... so he was trying to go slow... but as I say, it seemed to get closer and closer... dangerously so.


Any ideas? Seems srange eh?


My second question would be what IF the radios were working. As the powered guy seemed to be going slower (somehow), could the glider warn him that he is a glider, and to hurry up - which would then maybe get the powered guy to abort, climb out and go around for another landing? The glider really has no option except to slow down. But he can't go-around... he's basically commited to the landing. What happens in this case?



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Guest Cloudsuck

This is a problem we face at my local airstrip as well. You will soon learn that unpowered craft have right of way. (Paraglider, Hang Glider, Sailplane etc). At my local air strip, we find that the glider boys have;


a. Radios that go flat before they land, and


b. The worst airmanship of any in the aviaton field (thermallig up through downwind on the live side etc).


All you can do is keep your eyes outside and assume that every glider in the sky is trying to kill you. If you hear a hiss, think "HELL, GLIDER SOMEWHERE WITH A FLAT BATTERY TRYING TO KILL ME".


To answer your question, had both radios been working, the powered glider would have powered up and gone around. You will do this many times at Caboolture during your training.



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Cralis, I guess you have never seen a gliding competition with say 50 gliders parked wingtip to wingtip and being launched each a few seconds apart and then seen these same 50 gliders coming home from the task and sweeping across the field at around a hundred knots and a hundred feet in bunches of up to half a dozen within a period of 30 seconds.


They then may have to land on a single strip if the wind strength and direction requires this and it is not uncommon to see three or more gliders on base and final at the same time.


The leaders will usually land long and off centre and the others take the other shorter and opposite sides of the strip.


In the heyday of gliding we had 60 gliders and 7 tugs operating off a strip of 120 metres fence to fence width.


I have seen 5 tugs in line, on final at about 100 metres spacing with a 30 metre strip to land on and that was with no radios worth using but those tuggies knew what each of them could do and they just operated like that right through a number of competition days, launching gliders.


When thermalling in competition it is not unusual to have a glider or two a hundred feet above or below you and sometimes on the opposite side of the turn as you wind up in the thermal.


The glider that you saw was not using it's dive brakes to slow down.


The speed has to remain relatively constant for safety.


The glider comes in high to the extent that a high performance glider would overshoot the strip before getting on the ground in most cases.


The dive brakes are extended to increase drag and reduce lift on the wing and doing this leads to an increased and controlled rate of descent, not a reduction in speed as the pilot compensates for the increased drag by lowering the nose to maintain a constant airspeed, a critical element when landing a glider.


So where were you located relative to the runway where you saw this happening?


Were you close to or underneath the flight path to judge whether the powered glider landed off centre and the glider landed the other side or were you some hundreds of metres away and made an assumption without taking into account the difficulty of judging precise clearances and differences in distance when seen from some distance away.


I know I certainly have that sort of problem in still judging exact clearances between aircraft when a few hundred metres side on from the action and I have been flying since 1959.


On radios, yes that is an ongoing problem with gliders and new batteries and some discipline is needed to enforce the need to charge batteries at the end of each day's flying, which is not always at the standard it should be.


Glider radios cause almost as much trouble as the radios in our LSA aircraft with the Jabs, including Microair and X air radios just leading in terms of radio problems at the moment.


On discipline in flying around the field, I do not approve at all of gliders winding up in thermals in the circuit area but I understand the pschychology that drives this.


After you have paid $30 or more dollars for a launch and drove around looking for a thermal without any luck and watching your mates getting away, only to find a good one on the downwind leg, there is an almost irresistible temptation to grab that thermal to get out of there.


Power only pilots have trouble handling this attitude but pilots who have skills in both sports are far more understanding as they have experienced both the temptation and the pitfalls of gliding in a power pilot's domain or at least what a proportion of the more righteous and self important power pilots believe is their personal domain


That is not a crack at any pilots here but it is an attitude I have seen far too often amongst GA pilots and the very occasional commercial pilot.


From my experience, there is fortunately amongst nearly all the Ultra Light pilots, a much more tolerant and understanding attitude as they, like pilots of every type of non GA flying machines are in it for the joy and thrill of just flying as well as the element of good mateship.





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So where were you located relative to the runway where you saw this happening?Were you close to or underneath the flight path to judge whether the powered glider landed off centre and the glider landed the other side or were you some hundreds of metres away and made an assumption without taking into account the difficulty of judging precise clearances and differences in distance when seen from some distance away.

I know I certainly have that sort of problem in still judging exact clearances between aircraft when a few hundred metres side on from the action and I have been flying since 1959.

I was standing about 20 meters from RWY06, ... around 100 meters up from the threshold... The powered guy didn't land very long, but he did peel off one way, and the glider peeled off the other. I don't think the powered guy knew he was there, and the flat battery sounds like that was what happened. Bu as far as timing, it was definitly no more than 3 seconds.


So, my lesson is .. that hissing sounds with no one speaking could be down to a dead/flat bettery?



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Without knowing the exact circumstances and speaking to the pilots, the fact that the powered glider went off a little to one side would indicate to me that he knew he had someone on his hammer.


Gliders generally, unlike most but not all power aircraft, have much better visibility around , overhead and even partially behind and look out is stressed in the gliding game as you just never know if some character will spot you in some reasonable lift and arrive quick time at your altitude and spot in the sky.


Usually makes for a heart beat skip if you haven't spotted him coming in as he may be bloody close when you do spot him so life has less surprises if you keep a good look out.


It sorta becomes automatic after a while to keep a wary eye on all concerned when you are heading home in circuit as if there is a stuff up you just can't open the throttle to go around but are stuck with the situation and should have alternatives which you may have to think fast about if it all goes cross eyed.


So I suspect that the powered glider, notice the glider bit so the two pilots probably were of similar flying backgrounds, had a good idea on who and what was behind him.


Should have added that generally a flat battery will often give a chopped pulse and thoroughly garbled output in the transmit mode.


Hissing may be an unconnected or non functioning mic.


A steady background muttering and rising and falling pulse tones with the odd swear word means that he is sitting on his mic with it open and transmitting!


This leads to the whole of the drowned out airborne division threatening hari kari on the perpetrator when they catch him.



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Some real good input there Rom. :thumb_up: When the guys and gals from the Bendigo Gliding Club spent a day flying out of Echuca, I learnt heaps of stuff that will make me a lot safer and confident about flying in and around glider operations. 011_clap.gif.c796ec930025ef6b94efb6b089d30b16.gif


I would encourage everyone to spend some time talking to Glider pilots and learning how things operate. ;)


Saftey requires knowledge and understanding. :thumb_up:


regards :big_grin:



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Another problem may have been the groundbased handheld.. They often miss transmisions, and the scond glider's radio may have been a bit flat but still transmitting to the powered guy, it may have been that you just didn't hear him.. If it was carrier wave only then the batt had at least some juice in it..


Gliders are used to getting a bit close to each other.. I remember watching a glider competition in qld a few years ago and there would have been at least 8 gliders in one thermal, all at slightly different heights, but way closer then i would have thought was normal.. but they are used to it i spose.





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Glider do some strange stuff, here we get alot of overseas guys, radio use is really poor as are respect for the rules.


Late one Friday, I am approaching, make calls 15M out etc etc - Nil response, overfly strip, see glider eqt out so I pucker up a bit and look out, call joining CW 11, call DW 11, call base 11, get a reply, glider XYZ joning base 11, he was actually on the dead side of the circut, and nearly joined in front of me, I emergency climbed and got out of there, glider control person on the ground apologized.


They also will land without radio calls BESIDE you whilst you are landing on the grass strip and roll past- scary stuff


Their hanger manners are also appaling, regularly put 2 gliders accross the door of the hanger parking maybe 10 or 12 AC in


Season starts again here soom ARHHHHH





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Exactly...Another problem may have been the groundbased handheld.. They often miss transmisions, and the scond glider's radio may have been a bit flat but still transmitting to the powered guy, it may have been that you just didn't hear him..

It's possible, I guess. But surely unlikely. I was very close to them, and all other visible aircraft - I was hearing fine. Just this guy. My radio is the Yapituri (Can't spell it. :( ), which I think is pretty good.


To me, as a novice newbie student - it seems more likely that it was an issue on the gliders side. At one point, when he 'rolled' down the grass runway, he was within 100 meters from me, and I heard the hiss for a moment. I can hear Brisbane Airport from my office (Around 20kms) except when the aircraft are about to land or on the ground). I can also sometimes hear (although poorly) aircraft reporting they are on the downwind of Caboolture from my house... around 27kms. So, I don't think it was my radio. Even if it was - it would indicate this his radio wasn't strong enough? Low on battery?


So, my conculsion would be that maybe he didn't have a working mic, or it wasn't connected, or something like that? If it wasn't working, I guess he's know as he wouldn't hear the change in volume when he spoke/transmitted. So, the initial comments after my OP about a battery issue seem most likely.


Also, the mention that no more than one aircraft be bo on the active runway at any one time - does that include gliders? Or do they have an understanding that one can land wide left, and the other wide right, and that makes it legal?



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Some of the glider pilots, like pilots of other types of aircraft can often be a pain in the backside when it comes to good manners so no real excuse for bad manners from any pilot.


I have flown GA until a few years ago mostly as a tuggie in Tigers, Austers and a Chippy in the early days and Pawnees later.


I am still flying Gliders and RAA aircraft and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in aviation.


As I said above, the pscyhology is very different between power pilots and glider pilots and unless you have experience, even a small amount in both will do, it is hard to appreciate the differences in outlook.


Power pilots will invariably judge glider pilots by power pilots standards whereas a lot of glider pilots also fly power and for those who don't, they are usually exposed constantly to tug operations, ie power operations and often power traffic along side as well.


To power pilots who can't really understand the way in which glider pilots will come in and land alongside of another aircraft, idle or if you are fair dinkum, shut down your engine at say 2 or 3000 feet anywhere around the strip, dead side, upwind, downwind or whatever and then do a circuit and aim to hit the strip within the first couple of hundred metres and holding a constant approach speed and do this regardless of the fact that you are committed and are having to mix with and consider the movements of other traffic as well.


If you do it once OK go out and do it a dozen more times.


Yes, it will be much harder in a power aircraft due to the low glide ratio but it will give you an inkling on why glider pilots act the way they do.


On blocking hangars, we have the same problem.


Some, not all of the Aero club members up the taxiway roll their aircraft onto the taxiway which blocks access quite nicely for other hangars further along particularly for long span gliders wanting to get out and fly, and then wander off to have a coffee or whatever for the next 20 minutes or so.


It's not the type of aviation thats the problem but the lack of politeness and forethought that you will find amongst a big percentage of our society which spills over into our flying pastime.


Please don't get me wrong.


I am not having a go at any RAA pilots as individuals or as a group.


After all I fly RAA myself but unfortunately it has been and continues to be a real problem in that power pilots continue to arbitarily judge gliding, hang gliding, para gliding and etc by the power pilot's own sometimes quite rigid and inflexible beliefs in their superiority from which they assume their way is the only way aviation should be committed.


Some of this unfortunate attitude to other forms of aviation comes from an inherent belief amongst a lot of power pilots that they are a superior form of aviation, a belief that can be directly attributed to the manner in which they are originally instructed and indoctrinated in those first eight crucial hours of instruction.


There are a vast number of variations on the theme in aviation and a wise pilot will endeavour to find out all he can about those other forms of aviation.


They just may have something that turns out to be of great value to him sometime in his flying future.



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This superior attitude that ROM speaks of is a real concern.. Ive seen it from all sectors of aviation.. The Big GA schools look down on RAA operators, and evryone seems to look down on the glider boys.. We really try gard to instill a sence of fairness wherever possible. after all, we are all there for the same reason, fun.


At camden we are often faced with this 'problem', and its almost invariably from the one school, who seem to look down and are critical of ALL other operators.. Taxying in the jab the other day i was ofeered this on the radio.."jabiru move".. nice hey.. and after waiting for 25 mins for the instructor and student to return to the acft after refuelling it (and leaving the twin at the pump) i pushed the sporstar infront of them and fuelled up..Of course halfway through these guys returned and stood around grunting and groneing. When i finished i asked if they wanted the hose left out (i knew they wouldnt)..i was answered with a sirly " no, where waiting for you to move, we are on a timeline"..


my approach has been to try and kill them with kindnes.. be over the top nice, a little toung in cheak perhaps, but nice.. the same school has some very nice approachable instructors, but from the top down the attitude is nothing short of arrogance and rudeness.. so don't let yourself be drawn into this sence of superiority...its ugly..


like my daughter says, "be the change you want to see"



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Guest Cloudsuck

G'day ROM,


I understand where you are coming from. As you can most likely tell from my nick name here, I am an ex soaring pilot. I have 300 odd hours paragliding and was an advanced rated pilot and senior safety officer. I have only a couple of hours in an ASK-21. I know the mentality of soaring pilots. I have scratched so close to the grond that it was dangerous just because I could see my mates at cloudbase getting away. I love soaring more than any aviation persuit but I just can't live with the almost total lack of airmanship I see on the gliding side of the strip. Hanggliding and Paragliding is even worse, they are the cowboys of the sky, no regard for controlled airspace what so ever.


At the end of the day, I don't care how special 'some' soaring pilots think they are, themalling on the live side, over a town, on downwind and almost bring down my aircraft with my 15 year old son on board just because they may scratch back up with their mates, is stupid and unacceptable and is a cowboy mentality.


Duel operations at an airstrip is all about courtesy, giving and taking. It just seems that at my field, I am doing all the giving and they do the line share of taking.


Rant over (I'm exhausted)!



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Guest weekendwarrior

I have only recently started to do a bit of gliding (out of Camden), the primary idea being to improve my stick and rudder skills. And I've got to say that gliding is pretty addictive.


Besides the skills and fun of it, it gave me some insight into a completely different approach to airmanship. From the little I have seen so far I would say that you are spot on ROM.


For gliders the three most important rules of airmanship are lookout, lookout an lookout. Think about circling in the same thermal as another glider (most importantly, in the same direction), trying to keep it in your 9 o'clock, may be 200 feet away, it is something very special (and pretty awesome).


Yes gliders don't have the luxury of a go around, so once you are commited to land, you land...


Having three or more aircraft landing on the same runway within the same minute is pretty normal (after all they are flying in the same weather, with thermal dying at about the same time). The first one is to land on the right side of the field, the next one further to the left, and so on and so forth.


As a rule after having being teased by thermals and having to come back to land after only 10 or 15 minutes, you get to find a strong thermal when you are about to turn base... That would explain (not that I condone it) the thermalling on downwind witnessed by cloudsuck.


On a good day at Camden a glider will easily soar up to the CTA step (Class C at 4500ft there) or even above if you don't pay attention, they have no transponder, and they are still on Camden CTAF, not on the Sydney area frequency. Let me tell you that I now maintain a careful listening watch on Camden CTAF even above 2500ft when I fly in those parts...


As to the near-miss incident witnessed by Cralis, with the motorglider not able to see the glider in his back and the glider being commited to land, with the benefit of hindsight I reckon the ground crew (there is always one with gliders) should have radioed accordingly and asked the motorglider to go around or at least land long in the interest of safety, acting as a tower of sort.


Last word, try gliding. It's fun and can only improve your pilot skills. I am hooked.



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Guest airsick

With the heated arguments and all the hot air in here glider pilots would be having a ball thermalling! 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif


Seriously though airmanship is a thing of the past. Bad airmanship is not limited to unpowered or powered flight, it isn't limited to GA or RAA, it is infecting all of us! I think it stems from bad training.


Just the other day my brother and I gave the plane a quick rinse. We taxied it to a tap not far from where it was parked to do the washing. To save time and hassle we just emptied all the gear out of the plane and tied it down in the spot we just vacated. There was no issue in doing this as there were heaps of spaces left and furthermore we were parked at the end of this particular row that was furthest from the taxi way. We made sure the stuff was clearly visible too.


A while later when we returned we found that the local flying school had taxied straight over our stuff (remember, it was clearly visible) to take our spot. Common courtesy would have dictated they parked in the spot next to us or even in a different row. No big deal to us really, we simply moved our tail tie down to a different spot and parked there but imagine the damage that could have been done!


First, there were ropes with eye bolts on the end. One of these could have been taken up in the prop and caused considerable damage to the aircraft, prop and engine. A prop strike would require engine rebuild too.


Second, the rope and or other gear could have been strewn across the parking area possibly damaging other aircraft.


Thirdly, and most importantly, someone could have been hurt.


I later spoke to a member of the local aero club who told me he saw this happen and that he had called the school in question and given them a bit of a serve. Had I thought of it at the time I would have done the same. That said, Motz's approach is probably best.



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People need to be told when they get it wrong. If you don't politely point out their errors then how do they know to lift their game. Most of them just don't think or consider the consequences of their actions. If we say nothing to them, then they assume that everything is fine. Sometimes they need to be told. Firmly and politely.





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Guest coaltrain

Thought I might add a few words in support of the attitude that it's not the discipline of flying in particular that causes problems but various individuals within the disciplines.


I Soar at Boonah and I beleive in the vast majority of the time the powered and non-powered users of Boonah show courtesy and understanding to each other. I have frequently seen (and heard) powered a/c offering to let gliders ahead of them on final usualy with a thnakyou and aknowledgement from the glider. I've sat on the ground behind the tug (patiently and happily) waiting while various a/c land take-off, taxi, touch and go etc etc.


I have also seen Gliders do what Cloudsuck mentions. I've also had powered a/c do things which at the time made me think I was about to die.


certainly in all groups of people their will be a spectrum of various level of skills, attitudes and I daresay ego. If we strive to do the best we can and show consideration to others, patience and understanding for those who we percieve havent been so considerate (because they might well have acted in the way they did for reasosn that you aren't aware of) and educate rather than ostracise those that may be found lacking, then we're all going to live that little bit longer, learn that bit more.


Hmmm, that last paragraph sounds all a bit 'Peace, love and mung beans baby...' but you know what I mean.



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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi All,


Surprised by the assumptions made concerning perceived superiority of this or that classification of pilots.


Attempting to 'get away' by thermalling on downwind is both highly illegal and potentially suicidal, not to mention muderous if you take out a hapless fellow pilot (of any persuasion) also on downwind.


I once 'bunged off' at 700ft in a boomer thermal (fortunately for me at a country gliding club)....thermalled to 10000 ft and danced with the clouds for six hours.


On arriving back at the strip full of pride, I was immediately carpeted by the CFI in the strongest of terms for my dangerous stupidity, and reminded of the rules pertaining to minimum height for soaring above an airfield.


Never did it again. Downwind rules are about saving lives.





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I am only new with only 13 hours of flying but decent behavior and rule following seems the norm at my field. We don't have any gliders around so I have zero experience with those but my pulse went up a bit last Saturday.


I had dropped the instructor off, made my taxi call then a little later made my entering and backtracking call, besides me no one was talking. I was just about to backtrack 32 (wind was from 310 at ~14 knots) when a GA aircraft took off from 03, I was seconds away from crossing 03. I had stopped because fortunately I used my eyes and not just my ears but it sure gave me a surprise to see him hurtling down the runway!


I guess most of us get a bit too relaxed when driving because we do it all the time so flying could become similar.





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Guest pelorus32
Seriously though airmanship is a thing of the past. Bad airmanship is not limited to unpowered or powered flight, it isn't limited to GA or RAA, it is infecting all of us! I think it stems from bad training.



pause whilst I don flame suit and flak jacket...


Airsick I hope you are wrong about it being training....because if you are right then the death rate will soar (pun intended).


I started out in gliders and I see them as simply a differently-abled member of the fraternity.


I see the kind of stuff that Airsick described as endemic to our society. I must be getting old here but it particularly strikes me that the people who we choose to call Gen X and Gen Y have a very different attitude to those of us who are Baby Boomers. Many of us grew up in a generation where we were taught our manners and values at the end of a thick ear if we forgot ourselves.


My observation of the later Gen X and the Gen Y people is that their attitude is "if it's there to be taken then take it and screw the other guy - it's my right".


Of course all generalisations are just that and there are many great members of Gen X and Gen Y - but this attitude is far more prevalent in those groups. I think this is also borne out in social research.


I find it distasteful to see and to experience and I particularly find it distasteful in the air and in the work place. If you think I'm sounding jaded you're right I am and by recent experiences.


What it amounts to is that our training has more to overcome than it had in the past.


@$##%$# I sound like an old fuddy duddy. Might go and put myself out of my misery!!







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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Pelorus 32,


Perhaps a good old bout of Xavier style "Car Jumping" would bring you up to speed with Gen whatever.....Joking of course.


Provided its not my car!







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Guest pelorus32

G'day JL,


I sit here saying to myself - "you're starting to sound like your old man.."


But there is a trend I think.


As for Xavier..one very cocky young gentleman last night on the box informed the media that it was just good clean fun. In fruity tomes of course.


I need a beer.





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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Pelorus32,


A beer won't do it, try valium......Wonder how he would feel if it was his car ?


Enjoy the trees, but don't fly into them.







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As someone who has been watching this thread from a distance there has been alot of good and bad comments and as a newbie myself it's all learning for me BUT,


I believe the best option for you would have been to ask someone who was there at the time,


(Moderated under rule 2.4 - Admin - subsequent posts have been removed for being off topic)



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