Wing Malfunction or Deflation
Type of Injury:
Highest rating held at the time of the incident:
Pilot experience level:
Paramotor Frame: Walkerjet (see picture) with
January 1, 2006
Location of the incident: ,
Type of Incident:
I could see storm clouds way off in the distance but where I was the wind was 10mph and smooth as can be. Im a pretty experience PPG pilot so I figured I would go ahead and launch; if the storm clouds got any closer I would immediately land.
I climbed to 500 foot or so and went and buzzed a bunch of students that were kiting. I then noticed the wind was picking up but it was still smooth so I figured I would use the wind from the south to land at one of my northern LZs. I started heading for it when I noticed the trees on the ground were whipping around like crazy. I turned into the wind to check my speed and I had a tiny bit of forward speed so I continued towards my northern LZ.
A few minutes later I again turned into the wind to check my penetration and noticed I was going backwards at about 7 miles an hour. At that point I immediately started looking for a wide-open place to land. A few minutes later I picked out a field and started coming down to see if there was any less wind down low only to find that I was now flying backwards at about 15mph. I put my trim tabs full up to get some more speed but I was still going backwards over 10mph. Then about 60-70 foot off the ground a gust nailed me and gave me the biggest frontal Ive ever seen and I practice them all the time.
I know they open right back up but at that altitude with those weather conditions I didnt want to take any chances of it happening again at a lower altitude so I instantly threw my reserve. It deployed so fast that by time I looked back up at my wing my reserve was already open. I knew I was going to hit pretty hard but I felt much safer just staying in my seat and letting the Walkerjet take the hit so I didnt get out of my seat and just relaxed and waited for impact. I hit about as hard as jumping from 6 foot or so but I was probably doing 30mph backwards and to my left side.
The motor took the hit and the frame crushed smoothly enough to save my body. After hitting I did a full 360, which destroyed the entire cage and comfort bars that all absorbed the impact and prevented me from a major face plant. I came to rest on my front with the comfort bars taking all of the abrasions as I was dragged about 30-40 foot before I just unhooked from my harness and let the sucker go. It took off like a bat out of hell in the 35mph winds and I jumped up and ran after it but it left me in the dust. It came to rest a short time later when the reserve hit a chain link fence at the end of the field. I walked away with a sprained shoulder and lots of prayers of thanks to God.
And always fly with a reserve because CRAP HAPPENS.
ed: Be aware that on many wings the chance for a frontal collapse increases with the trimmers out (fast) or speed-bar activated. Check with your instructor or wing maker for specific details.
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