Thermally conditions combine with large wing

Preliminary reports are frequently wrong. This is a preliminary report. We certainly hope the pilot recovers from this. This report was received 02/18/2008 and updated 2/19.

An experienced paramotor instructor was seriously hurt in an paragliding accident (no motor) after suffering some amount of collapse that resulted in him hitting the ground hard. As of 2/19 he was in intensive care with brain trauma and many broken bones but improving.

Injuries suggest that he was saved by a full-face helmet. He landed mostly on his side.

He was reported to be flying solo on a 42 m� tandem wing around noon when the accident took place. There were several surges and a spin.

A few points to ponder.

  • Flying a lightly loaded on a wing increases your susceptibility to collapse. It’s not confirmed that this pilot was doing so but it is a factor, if true.
  • Flying mid-day (more than 3 hours after sunrise or earlier than 3 hours before sunset) increase the likelihood of getting into turbulence strong enough to cause a collapse.
  • Consider wearing and learning how to use a reserve parachute if you take on stronger conditions. This pilot apparently did have a reserve on and tried to throw it but didn’t have enough altitude. One observer thought he was twice the height of the trees when the collapse first happened.