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Learning from past incidents


AndyB
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My career involved managing a major COMAH Petrochemicals site. We were required by the HSE to actually demonstrate that we had not only learnt from previous incidents, but that we had taken measures to prevent a repeat. 

Recently a comment made by some one on this forum made me think. The comment was that manufactures of Paramotors do not have to test their machines to any set standard, or any particular g force. So I searched for incidents that involved structural failure or damage in flight.

A fatality in 2007 recorded the following in the investigation report.

"Examination of components from several other paramotors has revealed distortion or damage to the horizontal arms, parts of the arms, or fittings attached to and applying loading to the arms. Such distortion indicates that these components have been loaded close to their failure stress levels. The arms examined so far vary considerably in design and incorporate a range of different fittings. The AAIB is concerned that no design criteria appear to exist to determine the strength of these items and that there is no overall control of the design and geometry of fittings. Given that each harness may be used with a variety of wings, each with different lift capabilities, and that the mass of the pilot and machine is variable, many arms and fittings in use may not be sufficiently strong to sustain the loads experienced in certain manoeuvres. Without further information, the AAIB regards this as a potential flight safety hazard. Accordingly, all pilots are advised to refrain from extreme manoeuvres until the structural integrity of these machines is ascertained. Owners and representative bodies are strongly advised to establish the level of testing carried out by individual manufacturers of the structures of their machines. Load levels must be related to the lift capabilities of the particular wings in use and the maximum suspended weight of the harness, power unit and pilot.

Reliable estimates of the maximum normal © Crown copyright 2007 AAIB Special Bulletin: S4/2007 Paramotor EW/C2007/07/02 acceleration experienced in particular manoeuvres must be established to enable these loadings to be properly factored. In addition, the effects on strength of any fittings which alter the loading (either directly or by creating offset geometry) of the structure to which they are attached must be established. Only when precise reserve factors have been established for individual harness/wing combinations carrying realistic suspended masses, at load factors appropriate to the manoeuvres to be carried out, can these aircraft be considered to be structurally safe."

So I will now be asking the manufactures of the kit I have, what design loading, testing and certification they have carried out!

 

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I've seen a few harnesses and swing-arms for paramotors with specified load testing, not sure how common it is. There is at least one standard for this,  European Standard EN 1651.

You should not expect everyone to follow a EU standard if that's not the market for their products. I'm mostly sceptical to EU so I break all my stuff just to see if they try to fool me or not :)

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18 minutes ago, MagMen said:

If you really want to upset yourself try finding out what the term "DGAC certification" actually means for your wing.

Isn't that just the French system? I though that was not a rigorous test like EN.

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And as for the EN 1651.....

"EN 1651 Paragliding equipment - Harnesses - Safety requirements and strength tests - This European Standard is applicable only to harnesses for paragliders. The intermediate attachment system between the harness and the paraglider does not form part of this standard. This standard specifies safety requirements and test methods."

 

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And that is the carabiner? But you can see and read how Scout paramotors made their EN 1651 test. And also Adventure specificerad that their new Pluma paramotor is tested for acro with another standard called EAPR. 

Edited by Casper
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