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Asymmetrical wing collapse in rotor

PPG Type: Foot Launch
Type of Injury: No Injury

Pilot Details

Age: 58
Weight: 165
Gender: Male
Highest rating held at the time of the incident: Intermediate – PPG 2
Pilot experience level: 10-50 hours

Gear Details

Wing Brand: Niviuk
Model: Link 2
Size: 23
Paramotor Frame: Parajet Maverick with Atom 80

Incident Details

February 5, 2022 5:00 PM
Location of the incident:
Glamis, California
Type of Incident
: Pilot Error

One of the largest dunes in the area, about 200 feet tall, was at my one o’clock. I approached the dune on the leeward side and began to feel an increase in buffeting. There seemed to be a periodic phase to the turbulence as my right riser suddenly dropped about a foot, my machine listed starboard. At that time I realized I was entering an area of rotor and I initiated a quick turn to the left, hoping to exit the wind shadow. Unfortunately, the turn set me up for the next gust, five seconds later, which collapsed the right half of the wing. I struggled for support from the tight left riser, as the right riser collapsed, but the risers quickly twisted and spun me powerfully around two revolutions. Luckily, with half of the wing still flying, the rate of descent was controlled. From fifty feet, the fall was survivable and I suffered no injury. I failed to kill my engine before impact, so the prop was destroyed rolling around in the sand and a small piece of shrapnel tore a hole in the wing. It was a blessing being able to walk away from the crash.

Flight Window: Evening
Wind Speed: Moderate Wind (5-9 mph)
Type: Steady / Laminar
Phase of Flight: Cruise/In Flight
Type of Injury: No Injury
Collateral Damage: None
Analysis of the incident (additional input by the incident investigation team):

Photos (if available): https://usppa.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/13/1-150×150.jpg, https://usppa.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/13/2-150×150.jpg, https://usppa.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/13/3-150×150.jpg, https://usppa.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/13/4-150×150.jpg, https://usppa.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/13/5-150×150.jpg, https://usppa.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/13/post-crash-150×150.jpeg
Video (if available):

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