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Low Level Acro Crash in Wheat Field.

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Pilot Details

Age: 26
Weight: 160
Gender:
Highest rating held at the time of the incident:
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Gear Details

Wing Brand:
Model: Dudek Hadron 20
Size:
Paramotor Frame: SCOUT 185 Paramotor with

Incident Details

April 19, 2014
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Type of Incident
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I was 15 minutes into my flight waiting for other pilots to get airborne at our nearby field. During this time I had been practicing low level maneuvers over a wheat field. I continued low level spirals from about 100 feet up attempting to touch the wingtip across the tops of the wheat grass. Having successfully done this in the past, I failed to realize the wheat had doubled in height since my last few attempts a week earlier.

Feeling encouraged that I had the maneuver “down” on my last attempt. I started up slightly higher and more aggressively dived into a hard left hand turn. The spiral rounded out in the perfect spot as my wingtip made contact with the top of the wheat. The smile on my face quickly disappeared as I could feel the wheat grabbing at my wing. Still at full power, opposite brake applied, I was unable to get out of the wheat. It continued to suck me into the ground. Opposite braking continued to a full flare and I basically had a successful slide landing while pitched over at 45 degrees.

Thanks to the soft crop I had no injuries. My paramotor sustained minor damage. The glider had about 3 pounds of wheat grass wrapped around the outer brake line. What a great boat anchor.

In closing, maneuvers like this are hardly worth the risk. I was very lucky that the wheat did not grab my wing and throw me into the ground. If you’re going to do this type of maneuver, be very careful of what object your intending on making contact with. I did not think wheat had the properties to be so “grabby.” Hopefully others can learn from my mistake and keep their aggressive flying at a much higher altitude!

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