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Serious Paramotor Accident


alanhinsaudi
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About six months ago we had a paramotor accident here in Saudi and although I let people know privately I didn't want to go into writing because of the sensitivities of the parties involved. Today however I spoke to the Pilot involved and got his permission to inform you all on this site. He told me his recollections of the accident and an eye witness also filled me in on some of the details.

The Pilot, with over two years paramotor experience, had attempted two previous lauches before successfully getting airborne from a tarmac surface using a HE220 paramotor with a Paramania revolution 28 Wing. The equipment was new and owned by a less experienced friend of the pilot and he was checking the set up of the equipment before the owner flew with it. The wind was estimated to be about 15kms/h with minimal gusts.

The take off direction took him immediately over some single story buildings and over these buildings he was seen to do a sharp right turn through 180deg taking him directly down wind. The pilot stated the reason for this was he began to loose thrust and needed to land. However once travelling down wind he lost altitude quickly, possibly due to turbulence from the buildings, and impacted the ground, the bottom of the cage striking first. The eye witness stated that at this point the pilot had full power applied. The impact with the ground burst the fuel tank spraying fuel over the harness and pilot. The cage bounced and again impacted the ground generating sparks from the steel cage on the tarmac surface. The sparks ignited the fuel and engulfed the paramotor and pilot in flames!

This all happened in less than a minute of him getting airborne.

Initially the position of the pilot on the ground made getting him out of his harness impossible and while the paramotor and pilot were on fire, and at great risk to themselves, pilots on the ground re-positioned him in order to release him from his harness. After freeing him from the harness the pilot was I quote "on fire from his feet to his head" and it took some time to extinguish the flames.

The Pilot lived but he is injuries were horrific and he was hospitalised for sometime. I met him for the first time today and saw first hand the extent of his injuries. He has lost most of his fingers from his right hand, his face arms & legs are all badly scared and disfigured and he is only just mobile and is still heavily bandaged in places. However, he is in good spirits and was in the desert with us today assisting where he could on ground.

I don't intend to make a statement as the cause of the accident as I was not there and did not investigate it, I just wanted to outline the facts as they were explained to me to heighten people’s awareness of how quickly our chosen sport can turn and bite us.

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just wonderin what near misses have people had on here? just curious because when i started reading and learning everywere i looked claimed how safe the sport is i know most accidents are pilot error but 1 error can cost you a heck of a lot so i dont see how they can claim it is safe ,

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That is a very good point. It has a simple answer...

It is down to Statistics/ comparisons.

Pilot error is no different than 'Driver' error (happens in the UK 300 times an hour) or indeed...... 'HUMAN' error.

The 'safe' comment comes from comparing our sport with Paragliding, (stats say WAY more dangerous than paramotoring) and Motorcycles (stats say way more dangerous than paramotoring.) and other 'comparables' form an insurance point of view... we come out very well!

Here is one for the misses.... You are more likely to hurt yourself 'driving' to the airfield than during flight! and that is not just PPG that is ALL flight in the world of ALL types.

SW :D

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Here is one for the misses.... You are more likely to hurt yourself 'driving' to the airfield than during flight! and that is not just PPG that is ALL flight in the world of ALL types.

SW :D

Would you like to quote your figures on that one Simon? I have never seen any research saying that paramotoring is safer than driving. Whilst there are far more accidents on the road, there are massively more road journeys taken.

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Something I missed of the original post is that if the Pilot was able to strap himself back into a paramotor harness and fly he would! That is the passion for the sport that most of us have.

Everything we do has risk attached to it, how much risk is determined by the individuals choices. In our case this is down to the equipment we buy, where and how we fly. I for one always fly with a reserve chute and a hook knife and we also now have a large fire extinguisher on the ground! you can minimise the risk but you can't remove it completely. If we could what reason would we have for getting out of bed!

Alan

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  • 3 months later...
Are there any diesel paramotors or any in the pipline. Fuel economy is a good 15% better.

Also throw a match on some diesel, it will not light.

thanks Simon

Put 65 kilos on your back vibrating like a one legged horse and you have a deisel paramotor.

Pete b

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This story makes for some horrid images, probably in keeping with the pilot's experience and proof it was well conveyed to the rest of us. A sad read nonetheless.

This speaks to a personal concern of mine for that zone in every takeoff when you have insufficient height for a full safe turn and no options directly below you.

It begs procedure that is compromise at best.

Does one make s turns on climb out to ensure they can make it back to LZ if they have a power loss, and add the risk of those turns on climb out rather then straight and level to remove the situation as a concern more quickly?

There are situations that may serve well, but you can't teach it as it's more hazard then happiness for a large percentage of the time.

A case could be made on this example for a top mount fuel tank and aluminum frames too.

I am going to go hug the skids on my WJ frame now as they've kept this scenario out of my logbook.

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