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Allan Silver has been in the parachute business since 1972. He also produces the SMAK PAK and specialized aerobatic safety harnesses. While waiting for your SMAK PAK to arrive take a look at his last write-up on where to attach things to your parachute. If you already have one or carry a SPOT or similar device, read above to see if you have it in a safe area. I would guess roughly 25% of the pilots have it secured incorrectly.

When you start thinking about bailing out and what will you have on you when you hit the ground (notice I didn’t say do a beautiful stand-up landing). Allan has a great motto: Survival Equipment must be carried on you. If it’s stored in your aircraft it’s called camping gear.

I carry a lot of camping gear. I try and keep enough that I can be comfortable to spend the night. Lots of water, tiedowns for the glider, first-aid kit, food, rope, flashlight, etc.

When SPOT came out I got a first generation. I am a big believer in them. Actually we are such big believers we required our private owners going cross country to carry one. We are in an area where cell service is very limited and the road traffic in the summer can be very limited, even if you land at a county airport, there might not be any way to contact anyone. It also gives us the ability to see if we can leave at 5 or if someone needs to stay late to make sure everyone gets home.

There was a nearby site that had someone crash/land on the side of the mountain and nobody knew it until the next day, then they had no idea where to start looking. With everyone registered on you can see where everyone is.

Later when the InReach came out I switched to that system because of the ability to have 2-way communication. Plus being able to type in different contact information, which happened when I landed out in Finland after only being in country for less than 8 hours and not really being prepared… If I had my SPOT I could have sent a message back home, while everyone was asleep, but my crew had not arrived, so home would not of known who to contact in Finland. Thankfully Adam knew I was going to be landing out and was able to check his email and I was able to send him an message from my InReach. Thanks Adam Woolley for picking me up.

I clip my InReach to my chest strap but I always look at that little plastic clip and wonder if it is really strong enough? Turns out…it is not… Which really puts a damper on my great safety plan. Which got me wondering how should I attach it?

I have seen some people have their SPOT mounted in there glider. However it will not help you if you bail-out. You might not be near the glider wreckage. You could be close but not know where it is, you could be in a different canyon and really not close enough to get the attention of ground personal.

The ELT is going to help the rescue crew find the glider, but lets make it easiest for them to find us


Photo by:  Jakub Swist


SMAK PAK Survival Kit

S.M.A.K PAK Survival Kits is survival equipment that attaches to your parachute. Both the mini and mid size come with a hook knife, flat whistle, fire starter and signal mirror. The mid size is large enough to store a Delorme inReach or Spot Gen3.

Here is where the SMAK PAK Survival Kits come into play. SMAK stands for the “Save My A** Kit” and can be a valuable resource after a bailout. The low–profile SMAK PAK attaches comfortably to your parachute harness and contains four tools: a hook knife, signal mirror, flat whistle, and fire starter. Allen Silver’s Air Force experience working with survival equipment and participating in search and rescue missions has shown these items to be the most useful for aerobatic and glider pilots who need to keep the amount of equipment they carry to a minimum.

HpH Twin Shark

HpH Twin Shark

HpH’s TwinShark is the next generation 20 meter two seater sailplane and now in production. This sailplane is already showing strong promise among its competitors; the Arcus and ASG-32. At the 2018 World Gliding Championships in Hosin, Czech Republic the Twin Shark placed 1st and 2nd in daily tasking. The prototype was revealed in April 2017 at AERO in Friedrichshafen. The empty weight is 50 kg less than the Arcus and 75 kg less than the ASG-32! Performance will be strong with wing laminar flow up to 95%. The Twin Shark is available as a pure glider, self launch and jet sustainer.

garret willat  Garret Willat holds a flight instructor rating with over 8000 hours in sailplanes. His parents have owned Sky Sailing Inc. since 1979. He started instructing the day after his 18th birthday. Since then, Garret has represented the US Junior team in 2003 and 2005. He graduated from Embry-Riddle with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics. Garret represented the US Open Class team in 2008 and 2010 and the Club Class team in 2014. Garret has won 3 US National Championships.