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wing oscillation escalating into frontal collapse

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Gear Details

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Model: Paratoys 1
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Paramotor Frame: Blackhawk with

Incident Details

July 8, 2012
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(Copied from Yahoo Group List) One of our fellow Ontario PPG pilots was seriously injured flying near Toronto last Thursday, braking a leg and damaging 4 vertebrae. He underwent surgery and is recovering nicely. The current prognosis is good – he will likely be able to resume normal life in the long term. From talking to the pilot and witnesses, we pieced together the following incident report: The weather conditions were nearly ideal, with a light steady wind. The time was 7:40pm, about 1:30 hours before sunset. There was still some thermal activity and slight gusts, but nothing out of the ordinary for a hot day at this time. Rosso was foot-launching using rather old Paratoys gear (Black Hawk, medium size Paratoys 1 wing). This was his second flight that afternoon, and he decided to try some “adrenaline inducing maneuvers”, starting with going into a spin immediately after takeoff. He chose to initiate the spin to the left, against the torque. As he tightened the turn, the wing started oscillating sideways, probably the result of a right tip collapse observed by a witness. In trying to control the oscillation, he pulled the brakes while adding power and the wing moved backwards, then overshot forward quickly and went into a full frontal collapse. Rosso started a free fall down from a height of about 50ft (“5 stories” he estimated). At first, he got an adrenalin rush and felt very happy. Then, as he realized that this will end badly, he started praying to stay alive. He hit the ground in an upright position, his legs, then the cage and his spine, absorbing the impact. He looked down and saw his left leg broken into a “figure 4”. While he typically flies with sandals on hot days, that day he decided to wear work boots he just bought, which almost certainly saved his feet from damage. Other pilots who were present at the field rushed to help him and called 911. The field is located not far from a built-up area and the ambulance appeared very quickly. As to the gear: The cage was very badly crumpled over and bent in the middle giving it a C shape. The gas tank was ruptured and smashed into the prop hub. The prop was in pieces. The belt was ripped off. The wing seemed ok.

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