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Death – Believed to have attempted to land in rotor during significant gust front outflow event

PPG Type: Foot Launch – Single Occupant
Type of Injury: Fatality

Pilot Details

Age: 53
Weight: 170
Gender: Male
Highest rating held at the time of the incident: Unknown
Pilot experience level: 10-50 hours

Gear Details

Wing Brand: MacPara
Model: Colorado
Size: 23
Paramotor Frame: with

Incident Details

July 3, 2020 7:00 PM
Location of the incident:
Conroe, Texas
Type of Incident
: Hard Landing

Rick was flying alone and there is no known video footage, so it should be understood that the exact nature and dynamics of Rick’s crash are unknown.  However, we do know much about the weather event/conditions that were involved with this fatality.  This is because there were numerous PPG students and pilots in the air perhaps ~20 miles south of the accident location that experienced the same gust front event.  From all accounts the day appeared to have “apparently” nice wind conditions as evidenced by the (usppa rated) instructor that had several of his students flying at this same time.  However, there clearly was a large cumulus development that collapsed and resulted in a significant outflow/gust-front event this particular evening.    Our best guess is that once the gust front affected Rick’s flying he attempted to land.  Most likely that there was significant rotor present at his landing site which contributed to a fatal impact.

The accident occurred fairly close to where the cumulus collapse/outflow event originated, but the students that were ~20 miles away reported being caught in the gust front and having to attempt landings while flying backwards.

Just wanted to get this into the database.  Rick was member of our local informal flying group and will be missed.  The learning here was better weather awareness, especially for the potential for large cumulus developments to collapse and result in significant outlfow/gust-front events (and to avoid flying in those conditions).  Also, if caught in those conditions be aware of extreme rotor that comes with higher wind speeds (an LZ you thought was good might not be).

 

Flight Window: Evening
Wind Speed: Very Strong Wind (15+ mph)
Type: Gust Front
Phase of Flight: Final Approach
Type of Injury: Fatality
Collateral Damage: N/A or Unknown
Analysis of the incident (additional input by the incident investigation team):

Photos (if available):
Video (if available): https://montgomerycountypolicereporter.com/fatal-parasail-crash-in-montgomery/

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