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Large Wing and Collapse

Feb 19, 2008 Thermally conditions combine with large wing

See also Chapter 19, Emergencies: Handling Wing Collapses

Preliminary reports are frequently wrong. This is a preliminary report. We certainly hope the pilot recovers from this. This report was received 02/18/2008 and updated 2/19.

An experienced paramotor instructor was seriously hurt in an paragliding accident (no motor) after suffering some amount of collapse that resulted in him hitting the ground hard. As of 2/19 he was in intensive care with brain trauma and many broken bones but improving.

Injuries suggest that he was saved by a full-face helmet. He landed mostly on his side.

He was reported to be flying solo on a 42 m� tandem wing around noon when the accident took place. There were several surges and a spin. When we get more details, they will be included along with an analysis.

A few points to ponder, though.

1. Flying a lightly loaded on a wing increases your susceptibility to collapse. It's not confirmed that this pilot was doing so but it is a factor, if true.

2. Flying mid-day (more than 3 hours after sunrise or earlier than 3 hours before sunset) increase the likelihood of getting into turbulence strong enough to cause a collapse.

3. Consider wearing and learning how to use a reserve parachute if you take on stronger conditions. This pilot apparently did have a reserve on and tried to throw it but didn't have enough altitude. One observer thought he was twice the height of the trees when the collapse first happened.

 

Remember, If there's air there, it should be flown in!