Accident Reports

Back up to 19: Risk & Safety

We learn from others that we may avoid repetition. Plus, it informs the level of risk in various endeavors. Think about drowning. It was formerly the most likely way to die in a paramotor but then pilots started wearing agamas or not doing foot drags in water deeper than puddles. It’s no longer the #1 killer.

We CAN learn.


Death by Physics: Steep & Low Strike a Blow

Someone sent me a link to this crash, apparently in Thailand but I’m not sure. It graphically exposes something that I’ve covered a lot: the extraordinary risk of doing steep maneuvering low to the ground. I’ve lost two friends from this. Much like...

Swatted out of the Sky

Big kudos to this pilot for sharing his video. If only we could all be so selfless. Also, check out his composure while lying there on the ground with broken things—that’s one tough dude. I got a question from a student learning to paramotor who is having second...

Icarus X Series Race Fatality

A pilot participating in the UK Icarus X Series paramotor race has died. It’s a tragedy on many levels but mostly for the family, of course. These are nearly always vibrant people in prime condition who love life. As one who competed for years in more...

Paramotor Tandem Trike Crash into Crowd

This was asking for it. A paramotor tandem was launching in a crowded area with people all around, including at the end of his “runway.” He barely gets airborne then, just a few feet above the ground, and barely climbing, he turns. The turn may have felt...

Structural Failure Fatality

A recent fatality in South Florida appears to have been structural failure. According to the accident report on USPPA.org all indications point to a riser failure. One riser broke and the pilot plummeted to his death. A reserve was tossed but not in time to open. So...

Mid-Day Mishap

Thermally conditions dump experienced PPG pilot A mid-day sojourn in moderate winds went sour for one high-time paramotorist resulting in a nearly disastrous impact. Surprisingly, the pilot walked (probably limped) away. At 20 feet or so while landing, a quick...

Paramotor Fatality from Spiral

On Friday evening, several hours after I had left, tragedy struck when Richard Biggerstaff (right) was, according to two witnesses, doing a spiral from which he hit the ground. There was a small post-impact fire that was extinguished almost right away. Another pilot...

Helicopter Rescue Gone Horribly Wrong

The lessons in this captivating and sad story could save my life, maybe yours, too. A hiker got lost in the woods and faced a cold night in deteriorating weather. This is the story of a helicopter rescue gone horribly wrong. It is a powerful reminder of forces that...

Paramotor Torque Twist and Crash

One of the sport’s more common control-related accident types See also Understanding Paramotor Torque, Fixing Torque By Hand At this point he has twisted 90 degrees to the wing, looking towards his right hand, and still under power. This is the natural torque...

Paramotor Caught in a Thunderstorm

Rapid wind change ensnares PPG Pilot. Thanks to the submitter for his willingness to share. The evening started with little wind and clear skies. A friend and I launched at 7:20pm from our favorite flying field just east of Colorado Springs. The first half hour of...

Powered Paragliding (Paramotor) Fatalities

2010-04-01 Thanks to Mike Nowland whose 2005 compilation was used and to Steve Scruton on UK fatalities. Staying alive while paramotoring is made easier by following this advice. Overall, the risk can be made extremely small. Most accidents happen for predictable and...

Paramotor Crash: Distractions and Hangar Thwack

by Phil Hyland, submitted by Jerry Starbuck. Thanks to USUA Club#1 It’s insidious. You look down for just a moment to take care of some problem and lose focus on your primary task: aviating. Jets crash due to it, too. Plus, focusing on distractions frequently...

The Launch Decision: Paramotor Hotel Hell

Being committed has limits A dozen little variables affect e ach launch decision. Some are settled when we plop our wing down and lay it out. Others get processed quickly and almost automatically during the precarious initial inflation until the wing is overhead and...

Risking Others

We’re given enormous freedom to risk our own necks—not others. Our rules are written to lust us risk ourselves when we fly—we must work to keep it that way. Continued self regulation depends on it. The incidents below shows what’s possible and what’s...

Paramotor Fire

Thankfully this is as rare as it is fearsome In about March 2011, a pilot with 50 flights under his belt was foot launching. After a good inflation and run he stumbled, hitting the ground hard enough that his propeller flexed into the fuel tank, slicing through and...

Distractions

It’s insidious. You look down for just a moment to take care of some problem and lose focus on your primary task: aviating. Jets crash because of this, too. Plus, focusing on distractions frequently breaks the all-important routine. Surprisingly simple little...

Power Lines & Spin

Read is a paramotor pilot who doesn’t do much free flight but launched from the base of a well known free flight site, Point of the Mountain. He was man enough to post what happened on Facebook and agreed to let me share it. Here is his story. Action and...

After 15 Years: Power Lines

Power lines are a common cause of paramotor accidents. They frequently incur serious injuries but, strangely, are rarely fatal, possibly because the altitude is very low and the lines touch each other causing the power to shut off before the victim becomes a filament....

Damien Leroy Jumps from Paramotor

Jupiter, FL, young pilot jumps from Powered Paraglider Video and news reports showed a pilot in a shallow right descending turn. He is seen coming out of a riser twist then hanging from his harness for a few seconds before letting go and falling from his paramotor,...

Pylon Racing Accident Analysis (FL)

Michael Mixer’s 2012 Recon Collapse during competition This one was a surprise to us. Conditions were good, the pilot competent, and his flying wasn’t overly aggressive. During the second run of the 2012 U.S. Pylon qualifier, Michael Mixer was making good...

Paramotor-Balloon Midair Collision

It’s easier than you think | Updated 2010-Nov 30 to add EAA’s article. It’s easy to dismiss the risk of midair collisions because they’re so rare. But they’re also severe and, tragically, seem to happen to conscientious pilots with the...

Crossing the Road: Luck And Tragedy

Thoughts on a Fatal Powered Paragliding Accident One of our own is gone. Even though I did not know Andrew personally, undoubtedly he would have been an instant friend–a lover of life and of flight. He died while launching his paramotor after being hit by a...

Fatal Turbulence and Collapse

Analysis of fatal paramotor crash involving turbulence and its improper handling. A fellow lover of flight went out one day to pursue his passion. He did not return—an incredible tragedy for the loved ones he leaves behind. We can only hope to learn from this tragedy...

Colorado Collapse Paramotor Crash

A good one for analysis because the pilot hass been willing to talk about it. First, we are happy that the pilot is able to discuss his brush with death and, secondly, that he is willing. In fact, he offered up the video, recorded by his brother-in-law, so the world...

High Time Pilot Seriously Hurt

Freeflight Instructor Gabe Jeb seriously hurt at free-flight site Sunday afternoon, Feb 18, well known Torrey Pines instructor Gabe Jeb was injured while soaring at a popular hill near San Diego. He had brought a group of students to Otay Mesa in southern California....