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Wanting to land quickly almost ends in disaster

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Model: Mojo PWR XL
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Paramotor Frame: Moster 185 with

Incident Details

August 5, 2019
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I wanted to increase my “bump tolerance”, so agreed to fly with a buddy of mine in a location that is squirrely at the best of times. That day it was relatively benign, but still beyond my comfort level. After launch, I gave it a few minutes to experience the air, see if it got better/worse at different locations, and so on. It did not get better, and I made a decision based on my desire to be on the ground, rather than the best possible decision. I turned back towards the LZ, and went to idle. I could see almost immediately that I would be very close to coming up short, but still within the LZ. Because I wanted to be on the ground I did not motor up to land farther down, even knowing that the near side of the field had much more severe rotor than the far side of the field. As I was about 100 feet off the ground, downwind of a treeline (this would not have been the case farther down the field) I started feeling the lift/sink/roll. It seemed manageable so I took it in stride. I would land just beyond a drainage trench surrounded by some bushes, safely clear. At 50 feet I hit a huge amount of sink due to rotor, rolled wildly, clipped the top of the bushes, and via some very aggressive brake pull and going full throttle at 5 feet above the ground, narrowly avoided sinking into a 15 foot deep ditch. It wasn’t until afterward when my flying buddy spoke to me about it that I realized my emotional desire to be on the ground had overrode the smart decision making part of my brain. It wasn’t a good choice, but if felt like the right one at the time, or maybe just “the choice I wanted”. In hindsight it’s clear it was a terrible decision. I should have landed where there was no rotor, the only excuse was my fear of being in the air in those conditions. Dealing with that and doing what needed to be done, would have avoided 30 minutes of the shakes, because going towards that ditch was when shit got REALLY real. It was 100x worse than any discomfort the air was causing me in the meantime. Think about what is the best choice, rather than the one you want to make. Don’t let emotion make a safety decision. That could have ended so much worse without the near-stall brake pull and full throttle pull just a few feet off the ground. And it was avoidable.

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