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Parajet take pilot-safety development seriously


Guest francis777
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One of the purposes of this trip is to see how a paramotor can be improved for safety and reliability.

After my researches into prop strike/brake handle wraps a few months ago (thanks to all who contributed) Parajet have looked very seriously at the issue and have now devised an aesthetic solution for their machines. My brief was for the gap(s) to be no more than 25mm and must be tested with (and resist penetration) end-on handle striking it at airspeed.

Their solution is now being tested and will shortly be standard on all new machines and available as retro fit to existing ones. NB it is NOT netting!!!!

I am just as concerned by the rush to fit DIY netting to existing machines of all makes and urge all manufacturers to follow Parajet's lead and look closely at their nets (if fitted) and design retro fit solutions for existing customers that meet the requirements. DIY can in some cases lead to more dangers than they solve.

Another interesting issue is emerging related to this. The loop back of the D risers on a fully trimmed out reflex wing brings the handles much closer to the prop! Coupled with a large prop diameter and the fact that reflex wings are increasingly flown in stronger conditions, the pilot's movements will bring the disc right up to the handle with some speed.

Can the wing designers start looking at this? can the risers be held forward? elasticated?

Lets talk about it!!!!!

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One of the purposes of this trip is to see how a paramotor can be improved for safety and reliability.

After my researches into prop strike/brake handle wraps a few months ago (thanks to all who contributed) Parajet have looked very seriously at the issue and have now devised an aesthetic solution for their machines. My brief was for the gap(s) to be no more than 25mm and must be tested with (and resist penetration) end-on handle striking it at airspeed.

Their solution is now being tested and will shortly be standard on all new machines and available as retro fit to existing ones. NB it is NOT netting!!!!

I am just as concerned by the rush to fit DIY netting to existing machines of all makes and urge all manufacturers to follow Parajet's lead and look closely at their nets (if fitted) and design retro fit solutions for existing customers that meet the requirements. DIY can in some cases lead to more dangers than they solve.

Francis, I applaud your sentiment. The growing number of us with brake eating experience know this must be good (if overdue?) news. Not sure that 'all manufacturers to follow Parajet's lead' is true. From personal experience and from reading this forum, it looks transposed.

My Volution cage was a backward step 'brake contact' safety, but an improvement in 'crash' safety and ease of manufacturing compared with my previous DK/Parajet cage.

Many other manufacturers already have better 'brake contact' safety. Obviously, some/all manufacturers continuously improve, but this in not the same as 'following Parajet's lead' so they may misunderstand your intentions.

Please with the tip-to-tip pilots still at it on Parajets (without the mod or netting protecting their brakes?) can we bring the focus back on what Parajet are doing to improve their safety.

As no one else is flying in the $% weather! Once they are safe, then the rest of us can look at leisure in our warm dry garages.

Pictures of modified Parajet would be great, please?

Cheers

Paul

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Point taken Paul.

I meant specifically the issue of "can the brake handle penetrate the cage". I would like to encourage other manufacturers who believe they have solved the problem with 50mm 40mm or even 32mm netting to look again and actually test their designs with the "end-on throw test". They may be surprised.

This is a tiny market and margins are tight, it is very hard for one manufacturere to address each issue as it comes up and remain competitive. I simply want them all to be handle safe and compete on a level playing field.

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Good work francis :D

After a "near miss" with my brake handle I was reading with intrest the safety thread regarding cage netting for my volution and was intending to buy some next weekend. I think it may be worth waiting to see what parajet come up with, do you have any idea of timescale?

If nothing else who would want to disrupt those beautiful curves with a bit of old fishing net ?:D:D

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my understnding is that it is imminent. I see no reason why a customer enquiry of the factory as to when you can expect it to be available would not be welcome. The more interest there is the quicker you may get it?

it sounds like a very similar solution to the one they fitted to my old compact and which I felt was effective. consisting of "stringing" the upper cage radially using fixings drilled into the leading edge of the outer rim (sounds very slick). I am hoping that my unit, now at the factory will have it fitted before I take delivery again, and then I can get a photo out.

Giles has described the (rawl plug like?) fixings and it sounds as though anyone with a dril and a tape measure could ask for the parts to be sent and fit it yourself (I do not kknow if Giles will permit that for QC reasons but you could ask)

Anyway, almost there :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

They can under some circumstance's get in to the prop even when parked and your set up is correct, BELIVE me I know

Pete b :shock:

can i ask what may sound a really stupid q? - so apologies in advance.

is the danger of handle shredding only when you have let go of the brakes and not put them in their magnet / press stud?

or am i being thick?

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When you "park" the brake handle on its magnet or popper it should be about a foot or so away from the cage. If you let it trail without parking it it can get within six inches or less. Not a problem if you have set your motor up correctly and you are flying along straight and level.

BUT

you dont always fly straight and level. Every movement of the pilot's body in weight shift (deliberate) or turbulence (involuntary) makes the motor yaw and pitch. The bigger the diameter of the cage the closer the prop diosc can get to unparked and even parked brake handles when the motor moves in pitch and yaw relative to the risers.

Try hanging your unit on a swing or tree and connect the riser sets to the carabiners. hang the risers up as if in flight. get into the harnes and twist your uniot around in pitch and yaw and see how close the cage and prop get to the parked brakes.

It is increasingly clear to me that only a 25mm spacing of ingress protection will stop the ends of the controls (specially if they have stiffeners in) from getting struck by the prop.

It seems that it is when the prop is spinning slowly that the most dangerous event can occur, i.e. the control is caught by the prop and "wound in" to put the wing into a spiral dive.

It is possible that Pete experienced this event at Roche. In his case the prop struck the cage after possibly catching the handle and winding in. After a violent turn the shattered prop then released the control in time for Pete to recover control and land ahead in a very tight place.

When spinning fast it seems that the handle is more readily spat back out ususally with some prop, cage or control handle damage.

This is a problem that every make of motor faces and it is increasingly my view that only 25 mm spaced guard (net or stringing) in the viscinity of the handles will prevent ingress in any conditions.

I no longer park the brakes or release the handles in flight in any but the smoothest of conditions. I am working on the idea of shrouds for the handles to be retracted into to guard them from the prop. I also wonder as Pete did in his post if the looping back of the D risers when a reflex wing is on fast trim also contributes to bringing the handles nearer to the prop.

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Although I've not experienced a bake prop strike myself I've seen it happen a number of times but luckily these have not resulted in injury. These incidents have, bar one, happened on take off when the Pilot released the brakes to get into the seat. This transition has to be the most dangerous time for an incident like this to happen as if the break does get caught in the prop, you will be in the ground before you have time to react.

It seems to me that the transition into the seat is not only the most dangerous but also the most likely time for impact to occur because your upright position in the harness naturally brings the break handles closer to the prop and (for me anyway) the engine is at full power dragging my lardy backside into the air.

I was taught always to ensure the brakes were properly parked before getting into the seat but it is surprising how many ‘experienced’ pilots just seem to have forgotten this message.

Those of you involved in the aviation industry will have had human factors training and therefore understand the term. I’m a big advocate of human factors training for pilots and engineers and as paramotor pilots we generally fit in both categories. Therefore we need to understand that, although we may think we know better, this is not necessarily the case. By letting the defenses down in one area (flying or maintenance) may allow ‘hidden’ failures (design, manufacture or training deficiency) become apparent and put us in life threatening situations.

When I bought a paramotor I automatically bought a reserve chute and I was surprised when this was subject to some sarcastic comments! More relevant to this topic though, I also carry a hook knife so I can cut a break line if it did get snagged on a prop. When it comes to safety equipment my view is I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it!

The moral of this post is therefore this

Like all aviation activities there is risk in what we do however safety should be an integral part of our sport from the design and manufacture of our equipment, how we maintain our equipment, how we are trained and ultimately how we fly. However, that said, I always carry the equipment to maximise my chances of survival if there were to be a failure of one or more of these elements that would put me in a life threatening position.

“Plan for worst, hope for the best and enjoy the flying.”

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