Photos of Sailplane Recovery

This page contains pictures of those pilots who have spent efforts in recovering sailplanes. We hope that these pictures will help to constantly refresh our memories of the painful experience, the danger and the difficulties in recovering sailplanes in the bushes and to remind our fellow pilots to fly safe no mater whether you are beginners or masters. Make sure to install a beeper on board! Beware of snake bites and bee stings.
Missions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Recovery Effort #1: On 23 Sept. 2000 in Clearwater Bay, Master Leung was on a daring mission to land a floaty sailplane on the road under a very very light wind condition. Of course, he failed and had to pick up the plane 100 meters below with dense bushes.

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Light wind soaring before the pick up. Good fun!

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Still very happy in the beginning of the recovery mission. See the protective grove; don't go down without it!

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Got it! but how to climb back?

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Hard work! especially for my giant body size

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Fxxx it! Still a long way up!

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Well done! that made me stronger!


Recovery Effort #2: On 25 Nov. 2000 in Clearwater Bay, a Mog was flying low at the edge of the slope and for some unknown reasons, it was crash-landed into the sea and was spotted floating not far always from the rocky beach. The pilot was very determined to recover the plane so he rented a boat from the nearby Clearwater bay beach and went along for the salvage operation. It took him half an hour to arrive at the scene. By the time he managed to recover the craft, the sun was already set......

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In search for the crashed plane


Recovery Effort #3: On 2 Dec. 2000 in Clearwater Bay, a Quicksilver piloted by Daniel was flying peacefully far out off the slope. For some unknown reasons, the plane started spinning uncontrollably and plunged into the sea. It was seen floating not far always from the rocky beach. Daniel determined to recover the plane and immediately went to rent a boat from the nearby Clearwater bay beach. The salvage operation took him only half an hour as the plane's orange colour lend it easy to be spotted. The plane was recovered in one piece although with lots of unwelcome sea water!

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Got it!

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Heading back with the salvaged plane in one piece

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All there but with some unwelcome sea water!


Recovery Effort #4: On 30 Dec. 2000 in Clearwater Bay north facing slope, there was light to moderate northerly wind. The lift condition was good initially and pilots there had fun for hours. At about 4 pm and in just a few minutes time the wind changed direction abruptly from north to west and pilots were soon to discover to fly downwind and everybody rushed to land their planes. Stanley was the last one to land but had to pick up his Prodij all the way down to the rocky beach! Descending to beach by penetrating through the dense bushes in the north facing slope is a real hard work. Even with well-protective cloth and grove, there are still unavoidable scars left to remind us to land as quick as possible in case of unpredictable wind in this nasty north facing slope.

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Exhausted after reaching the rocky beach by penetrating the real dense bushes!


Recovery Effort #5: On 24 Feb. 2001 in Clearwater Bay, the weather reported moderate north-easterly wind. Most pilots arrived at the main slope were reluctant to move to the north facing slope for soaring as we all know the nasty lift conditions in the north-facing slope. However, there were lots of turbulence near the main slope. Pilots flying their sailplanes from the main slope have to soar over to the north facing slope in order to gain height. Under this nasty condition, Master Leung still launched his Shooting Star and tried to manipulate it to the north-facing slope, but the lift condition was so poor that his Shooting Star was quickly loosing height on it ways and was force-landed  in the rocky beach. Well, of course, he had to go down to the beach by penetrating through the dense bushes to pick up his plane. The mission took 45 minutes and Master Leung might have lost a pound of body water. Make sure to ground your plane in uncertain lift conditions even though you are master!

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We said best wishes to Master Leung for his recovery mission

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Going down and immersed into the bushes

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Picked up! The plane just landed on the rocky shore!

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No damage! See the face of the happy Master!


Recovery Effort #6: On 31 March 2001 in Clearwater Bay, the wind speed was on the lower side of moderate scale and pilots had to fly their planes closed to the slope in order to gain lift. For some reasons, Stanley Chan was flying Master Leung's Shooting Star while Leung was helping another less competent pilot to test fly his plane. A sequence of events happened that lead to one of the most spectacular recovery mission. First of all, while Stanley was flying Leung's Shooting Star very closed to the mountain top behind the pilot line, Leung was test-flying another pilot's model which employed Multiplex transmitter as control. Suddenly there was a warning sound coming out from the Multiplex transmitter and a big cry of Leung for "no power!" We all knew that the nasty Multiplex transmitter would go off in seconds after giving a warning sound of low battery power. Everybody was getting nervous and the out-of-control plane was travelling in high speed towards us! Of course, Stanley was distracted and looked back to locate the run-wild plane and tried to avoid for being hit. In just a few seconds of time, the plane finally crashed on to the road nearby. When Stanley refocused his attention back to Leung's Shooting Star, he soon found out that the plane was just "hung" on electric cables right next to a pole on the mountain top! Unbelievable! the chance of hitting the cables and being "caught" is just too remote! The pilot and the owner soon realized that they have a difficult and dangerous recovery mission ahead as the cables carry 11 kV of live electricity. They collected a few useful tools; a pair of groves, a long fishing pole , a roll of kite's wire, some insulating plastic bags and moved up to the hill to start their recovery mission. They had a try of using the long fishing pole, well, it was made of carbon fiber - a good conductor? mmg..! a bad idea? Fortunately or not, it was just too short! Then, they figured out a better way to release the plane by tying a bottle of water to a kite's wire and threw it across the electric cables. After a few throws, they finally succeeded to move the tail of the caught plane and the plane slipped and felt. But somehow the tail was jammed between two cables during the fall and the plane hung again this time vertically! It seemed getting more difficult to release the plane. As the rescue team thinking of what to do next, an idea came up - steer a foamy to shoot the plane down! Soon a Boomerang arrived at the scene and each pilot was given a try to shoot the "plane" down. Guess who finally got the score? Yes! it was Master Leung who has been practicing a lot to shoot other people's planes down! So now he discover that his skill can be put into right use!

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Landed up there?

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Oh! it enjoyed sitting up there for charging its battery?

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Was the owner, Master Leung, really smiling before the recovery?

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The pilot, Stanley, was explaining how he did it!

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The rescue team

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Hang vertically again after the initial fall

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The smiling owner and the salvaged plane. A member of the rescue team was holding Boomerang-The-Savior behind

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The owner and pilot "celebrated" the success of their recovery mission and a new wing was given to replace the damaged wing.


Recovery Effort #7: On 12 May 2001, Clearwater Bay,  the wind was light to moderate from northeast and should be flyable. Little Low arrived at the flying site late so he was hurrying to launch his ASW27 in order to get more flying time. Minutes just after the launch, the wind died down rapidly and his plane was loosing attitude on it way back to the slope. Finally it was force-landed in the bushes just near the edge of the cliff far down below. With a hot sun above and the dense bushes ahead, he had to drink lot of water and wear a protective groove before immersing into the bushes for his recovery mission. It took almost an hour to complete the mission! Luckily, the salvaged plane suffered from only minor damage in its tail.

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Landed near the edge of the cliff far down below

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Struggle to get down

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Got it but difficult to go back

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Have to penetrate the dense bushes

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Emerged from the bushes and was really tired

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Happy! at least had the plane recovered with only minor damage


Recovery Effort #8: In memory this recovery mission should be the xxx times Daniel has taken since he started the sport year ago, perhaps this is the first time that was officially documented. The incident took place on 2, July 2001 in Clearwater Bay. Daniel was flying his AMD Sparrow under strong wind condition and was concentrating on a landing approach. Somehow, the landing approach was interrupted as the plane hit the tree top and crashed into the bushes on its way up the slope. It was a fairly difficult mission to recover the plane as the bushes was very wet after many days of heavy rain. The slope was very slippy and it could be dangerous if not careful. A day ago a fellow pilot slipped as he was on his way up the slope. He was not only hurt in his back but also his beloved sailplane was damaged as he fell on it!  The skill Daniel has learnt in pin pointing the lost aircraft under the dense bushes did really take effect. After only half an hour of effort, he emerged from the bushes with his pray, well done Daniel!

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A big "smile" before the recovery mission

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Got it!

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Which way to go?

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Hi there! What a good experience in pin pointing the target in dense bushes. Ha! my skill is improving


More are coming ....