Return to the incident list: Incident List Body Contact with Spinning Prop PPG Type: Type of Injury:
Age: 0 Weight: 160 Gender: Highest rating held at the time of the incident: Pilot experience level:
Wing Brand: Model: N/A Size: Paramotor Frame: Vitorazzi Top 80 motor, Fly 100 frame with
January 1, 2006 Location of the incident: , Type of Incident:
It was a Friday evening, getting close to dusk, when I was loading PPG equipment from my residence into my vehicle, in preparation for a road trip, when my uncle decided to pay a visit and, for the first time, witnessed a PPG motor. He immediately became curious, so I decided to demonstrate its operation.
The motor started — but then two previously un-noticed safety faults occurred simultaneously — first, the bike throttle (substituted for a proper throttle due to shipping delays and errors) I was using seized at high position, and the kill switch broke (presumably due to hitting part of the frame, but I can’t be sure of that one). Seeing the RPM of the wooden prop building rapidly, and the frame was not adequately withstanding the thrust, I tried to grab a lower, more sturdy point on the frame, but could not reach it in time. The rapidly revolving prop hit my right hand and split my lower pinky finger bone in 2, and tore off a chunk of flesh (finger print area) on the finger beside it. I was rushed me to a nearby hospital, where I had X-rays (to confirm & detail the pinky fracture,) and a splint (partial cast) molded onto my hand (which was swollen in similar fashion to a balloon.) Two consecutive splints didn’t help heal the broken pinky bone however, so three weeks later I ended up having a titanium plate surgically implanted to reinforce the integrity of the bone. To this day I have very limited range of motion on my pinky finger and the next one beside it — the occupational therapist has all but concluded that I may need additional surgery to remove remaining scar tissue near the joints to help increase the range of motion.
To curb the occurrence of such incidents in the future, I would recommend stronger throttle position retention springs on all paramotors, using throttle assemblies specifically designed for paramotor use, as well as lubricating all points of possible friction on throttle assemblies, and on throttle levers on the engine side. Also, multiple kill switches connected in parallel, made from strong plastics or metals wouldn’t hurt as a failsafe. PS – Additionally, a widely recognized certification standard or procedure for Paramotor frames should be established — every paramotor frame should come with a document outlining frame specifications relating to safety, such as thrust resistance at any given “grab point.”
Ed Note: Before starting any motor, always look at the throttle linkage at the carburetor, move the throttle and watch the spring go back to idle. Obviously hindsight is clear and we appreciate pilots willingness to share with others so that these will hopefully NOT be repeated.
Flight Window: Wind Speed: Type: Phase of Flight: Type of Injury: Collateral Damage: Analysis of the incident (additional input by the incident investigation team): Photos (if available):
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