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Hard Landing

PPG Type:
Type of Injury:

Pilot Details

Age: 40
Weight: 170
Gender:
Highest rating held at the time of the incident:
Pilot experience level:

Gear Details

Wing Brand:
Model: Skywalk Mescal Small
Size:
Paramotor Frame: Thor130 with

Incident Details

January 10, 2020
Location of the incident:
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Type of Incident
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Pilot was flying nil wind conditions late in the day. Took off from large parking lot surrounded by playing fields. During flight a vehicle drove into the area and parked in center of parking lot which was the primary LZ. It is very unusual for this location to have activity late in the day and never in the center of the parking lot (i.e. people come for the fields/ playground and park on edge of the lot near the desired destination). Presence of the vehicle resulted in useable LZ being approximately 60% smaller. Pilot decided to land in the smaller space. Due to reduced LZ area, pilot choose to kill motor at a lower altitude than normal to preserve optionality to throttle up and abort landing if approach did not look good. Pilot killed motor and got out of harness at approximately 40′ AGL. Immediately prior to landing, wing surged forward and accelerated pilot into the ground. In video review, wing surge happened less than 2 seconds before impact. Pilot did not have time to check the surge. Landing seemed “normal” up until final seconds of flight. Pilot put legs out to brace the impact and rolled. Crash resulted in a broken fibula, dislocated ankle and tendon damage. Pilot spent 3 days in the hospital and required a metal plate to repair broken fibula. PPG frame suffered heavy damage (zenith) and carbon fiber prop snapped. In hindsight, wing surge was likely due to late cutting of motor combined with inadvertent pulling/ release of brakes caused by getting out of the harness. A big takeaway is that going from seated to landing position in the harness can easily result in pull/release on the brakes. Not a problem if done at 100′ but not good to have happen low. Lessons learned from the accident include: 1) Have good boots and tie them tight. Pilot was wearing high top hiking boots but did not have them tied tightly. Better boots may have prevented the break/dislocation 2) Parking lots are very hard. This lot was compacted gravel and pilot has sworn to never land on anything other than grass or sand in the future 3) Be prepared for changing LZ conditions and practice the skill set to land in a smaller area 4) Have phone where it can be reached with one hand 5) Ambulances have pain meds on board. Once the shock wears off, the ride to the hospital can be very painful everytime your buddies car hits a pothole!

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Analysis of the incident (additional input by the incident investigation team):

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