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An almost tragic outcome

Guest Newbe1970

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Hello there, I just started flying PPG and have many things to learn still. I have an incident that almost got me injured or worst got me killed. This incident happend on a very cold, slightly snow day. I was gonna start my PAP Black Devil with battery starter ( a proto type of Black Devil.) I started my PAP by standing infront of it and my face toward the motor. This was not the only time I did it. I did this before and everything went fine. This particular day was different though. Once I started the motor by pushing the start botton a couple of times, it went right to a higher rpm and the whole motor start to push me. Stinctively I lowered my my whole body as to center my my self to the motor and not to cut my self with the propelers. By lowering my self I must have squised the throthle even more by using my both hand to control my motor. This made my motor to fly away from me. Luckilly the net around the cage prevented my hand (arms) to go further inside into the propelers and I got to grip the outer ring of my cage with my both hands. By doing this, the motor went pass through me on my side and it ends up me and motor went in spin. The propelers crushed to the cage ( I think becaused of the torque effects) and my motor stops. This incident really shocked me and I was really thinking about it the whole night and the whole week and ask my self 'what if'. After this incident, I was not able to fly until my friend flew with me many months later. After this, I always start my motor by putting the harness and the whole motor behind me. Never I start the motor in front of me again.

Conclussion is this:

1) because of the weather condition, cold, a bit wet snow. Icing inside the throttle wire. The wire didnt went back to idle state.

2) Newbe and doesnt have procedure yet except the preflight checks.

3) Got panic and worsened the incident.

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Congratulations on finishing day one of the school of hard knocks.

Also good of you to post it even though someone will want to whip you for it or use you as an example.

I would focus on #2 in your conclusion to ensure you would notice #1 and avoid having to #3 altogether.

A good pre-trip leaves you feeling odd if you skip ANY step.

For me the only way to remove that feeling is to do it over.

I'm guessing that the pre-trip was not drilled in during training? If so suggest you consider everything that can loosen or fail on your machine and organize the checks in an order that suits you, then go through them the same way every time. When in doubt, do it again.

Thanks for sharing what must have been a pretty scary startup.

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I decided at the end of last 'season' that having had the machine slip towards me a couple of times when testing at full power on the ground that from now on I would only start the motor whilst it is on my back and I am anchored suitably by leaning against the front of my van or whatever, its actually much easier to kick start mine than to pull it and I rarely get starting problems.

It would make me nervous now to see folk starting their motors on the ground especially with others wandering around!

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F**k me that sounds scary..... :shock:

Pre-flight checks to do everytime - Remember - STAMP

S - straps and security, check all harness straps and buckles, condition, connected properly and working

T - throttle, full clear movement from rest to full and back again, no stiffness, stickyness or snagging

A - area, is it clear in front and behind you, no bits of litter or small animals to get sucked in/blown over

M - magneto, you should always remove spark plug cap when engine off to prevent accidental start-up

P - prop, check condition, no nicks or cracks and the bolts for tightness

Once you do it a few times it becomes natural and takes seconds, people won't even notice you doing it.

Be Safe, Fly Safe.


After the above I start my motor on the ground BUT

I kneel down with my left knee into the back of the seat

I put my throttle in to my left hand

Put my left shoulder against the back of the harness in the centre

I then double check that the throttle is opening and FULLY closing.

I get hold of the left weight shift/harness arm with my right hand lift it up as far as it will go

I put my right leg out to the right side of me straight and with a good grip on the floor

only then will I shout CLEAR PROP and attempt to start my motor.

Kneeling in the harness stops the motor from trying to go over the top of you

Having your shoulder in to the back of the harness and your right leg straight out ( imagine a line running through the centre of your machine from the centre of the prop forward this is the line your left shoulder hips and right leg wants to be on)this will allow you to hold the full thrust of the machine

Holding the arm will allow you to stop the machine from trying to go around you.

The most important thing is to make sure that the throttle always fully closes plus all of the above.

I am sure some of you have seen me start my motor this way, if so what do you think??

Pete b

Pete b

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Pre-flight checks to do everytime - Remember - STAMP

My opinion on pre-start\flight checks.

For me there are three distinct checks

1. Daily inspection –The most thorough check that includes wing motor and other equipment.

2. Pre start check - this is done every time before starting the motor, only takes a few seconds, ‘meds’ suggested using STAMP to aid memory, but this does not work for me, I prefer to use a pattern that follows the fuel to the engine then work my way out to the prop tips and frame visually checking and feeling then go round the front and check the harness and finish with the throttle movement before starting.

3. Pre launch check - this is before every launch when strapped in and ready to go this includes all straps harness and helmets, controls, lines, glider and finally the space around me and the air that I am about to launch into. I also use a pattern to help me remember this starting at my feet working up then out, acronyms or other memory aids don’t help me, because I can’t remember what they mean.

Paul D

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So we're all agreed that this SHOULDN'T happen if a proper preflight check is done. But what it, for some reason, it DOES? It's a scenario that has run through my mind more than once.... I fire up the engine, and the thing roars to life. Where should I go? What should I do? The kill-switch would be the obvious thing... but what if I can't get to it?

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So we're all agreed that this SHOULDN'T happen if a proper preflight check is done. But what it, for some reason, it DOES? It's a scenario that has run through my mind more than once.... I fire up the engine, and the thing roars to life. Where should I go? What should I do? The kill-switch would be the obvious thing... but what if I can't get to it?

RUN, leave it ,get away. You shouted clear prop so people should be looking at you or/and no where near you.

If you do your preflight check correctly it WILL NOT HAPPEN.

Do as Paul says and keep doing it before you start the engine so as it is second nature and you will not forget anything when you do start the engine.

Do not get complacent IT WILL BITE YOU if it can.

Pete b

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So the 80kg of thrust, or whatever it is, from my Simonini is suddenly pushes against my body, and I realize I'm not gonna be able to hold it. Get away from it, right? How? Just slip aside and let it fall to my side? Has anyone seen this happen? If the frame hits the deck hard enough in a situation like that, I think I'd be in a nasty position for prop shards. If I do manage to slip it and it falls nicely flat, prop up, I assume this extreme angle would kill the engine? How long would that take?

What-ifs, I know, but I'd rather ask them here than regret not asking.

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when checking your throttle operation, the most important part to check is the little lever on the side of the carb, the bit the throttle cable pulls, when you squeeze the throttle then let go this lever MUST return to it stop position, as it is this that controls how much gas the engine is getting.

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Good to see you today - thanks for mentioning this thread, reading it I nearly agree with everyone.

Check and re-check will give you 99%, but never 100% as we are all human. Even in my low injury risk job, we have some tasks that are checked by two people, as human error has proved inevitable and costly.


Welcome back, sounds like a stunning trip. Please please keep this thread going, it may not be the best advert for newbies wanting to paramotor, but it could save some finger tips or more of people that do.


Totally agree. Also I listen for the noise 'click' from the carb stop when I let go of the throttle.

This may have saved me already when it looked like it had returned, but the lack of noise proved it hadn't. No idea if this was enough to rev up etc., but I did get me to re-route (untwist?) the way I held the throttle that day until I the noise/click returned.


Grasshopper! You are wise above you age and experience :-) I plan to do the same.


Two people in the last year (one this month) I know have lost the tips of their fingers. Both have stated they will never start their motor unless they are strapped into the harness (Read the other forum and probably by now their BHPA reports for details).

Why take the extra risk and ignore the painful lesson learnt by others?

Happy to supply contact details of the two people if you need it from the horse's mouth.

SO IF ANYONE sees me starting my motor while not strapped in, please please remind and stop me. I'll buy everyone there a beer and wear the dunce hat for a while. Previously I warmed up outside the harness, near to as Pete described, so yes this will now delay my flight by a few minutes. BUT I'll happily count all those minutes on all my fingers :-)



P.S. Has anyone found away of turning a Parajet choke on and off while being strapped in?

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Rest assured if I see you starting your motor on the floor I shall wander up and kick you sharply in the gonads! You can do the same to me and the same to if you see me with a cigarette ever again, 2 weeks off the nasty things now and I'd like to say I feel better for it but I feel like shite whilst my body adjusts!

Looking good this weekend for a flight in the west country! :D


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I'd just like say how useful this thread had been. Clubs of any kind form a sort of knowledge/wisdom pool that they naturally pass on to newbies. Newbies are surrounded by the veterans who (hopefully) know the best/safest ways to do things, and they tend to pick up their habits and routines.

The paramotor community in the UK seems to have a great knowledge pool, but where I am, although paramotoring is becoming more and more popular, it's still kind of on the fringe... away from the knowledge pool. Although the people here seem to be very good at what they do, they sometimes seem a little out of touch. This is exactly why I take part in this forum... to try to fill in the gaps that I find here. Here, I've NEVER seen anyone strap in to warm up their motor. They all stand behind it bracing it with their knee... And I've seen a couple of near-misses. I didn't even know that anyone else did it in any other way. Hearing people discussing this has been a real eye-opener.

The old clichéd answer of "ask you instructor" is all well and good... but who's to say that instructor's way is the best? It's great to get some new angles to think about. I think I'll stop warming up in the 'old way' myself.


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Glad you're smiling Simon, you should be, this spot's worthy of some pride.

I usually keep my mouth shut and let folks rant and whine, since useful posts get lost in the noise, but expectations being properly managed here has created a forum full of (for the large part) respectfully humble pilots and those who aspire to be. Tis a rare thing on this global network and why I make the effort to dig up supporting links and such.

This forum, like all others is only as good as it's posting members.

One day I hope to share local skies with some of you I've only read until then.

This thread reminds me of a story from a past life.

Young employee in a hydroblasting (20k psi water jet cleaning) company got sent on a seminar to build his skills and bring some global knowledge home.

This was early 80s in the US.

The vets in the field were going over proper methods to manage a powered gun and bypasses and the like and all of their lances (gun lengths) were short enough that with one hand you could sweep over your own feet. While there were metatarsal (toe) guards in play then, no one had considered simply extending the lance to a length that made it impossible to shoot one's own toes... Until some young punk from Canada stood up among the vets and suggested it leaving everyone silent.

Moral: Even experts can do it wrong for a very long time and every new perspective polishes technique.

Well, something like that.

Not saying runup training has been wrong all along, rather to keep an open mind and use your own time tested, adjusted with knowledge way to stay safe.

It's never the same for everyone.

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Yes thank you for congratulating me for that hard lesson, t_andrews :) . I have a big respect toward PPG and I have a fully understanding of consequences if things goes wrong.

I have a dilema though when it comes to pre-trip you mendtion at the beginning. In order to have a 'ODD' feelings as you described when something is wrong or things are not what it suppose to be are ussualy based on expiriences right? Its the same as when I started flying Paragliding. I was bold and tried everything, everywhere and at any weather condition. This happend for over ten years ago and I have a better knowledge and understanding based of my expiriences. So I created my 'own' precedure as what to checked and rechecked. I know what you mean about this ODD feeling you mentioned and believe me when I say that I dont know yet what to look for unless I experience it or somebody warned me about it or seen it. As of today, Flying PPG is kind of starting on level 1 all over again but with different things to remember, procedure, more things to think about.

Im really glad thay this thread is an eye-openning for some and prevent such incident to happen to anyone with any unwanted outcome. Thanks everyone :) ......

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Meds, and Pete b eluded to some of the things they check and the order.

It is different for everyone's kit and ultimately changes as your kit does, or you change order of things to flow better.

Like you say, the "odd" feeling only comes once the flow of checks is natural and regular and ultimately broken in sequence.

No one can help with that but time, but that's why I suggested making a logically flowing list of checks and physically going through it.

As you do, your order will change to enable efficiently checking and adjusting logic to fit your set up.

Once it has settled and stops changing, all that's left is repetition to create the comfort when everything is ok.

Taking the time to make a checklist, mental or paper and going through it five times or more to ingrain the act is prudent.

Similar to putting your hand on your reserve handle for a few seconds prior to launch to visualize the act of throwing it.

Sort of a "procedure memory" like muscle memory only more important.

Bottom to top, top to bottom, or logical hook in order, due to the number of things that need checking beyond free flight - a modular list makes sense.

Maybe start with the stuff you're used to, canopy, lines, risers, harness. check.

Move to stuff you can't check when hooked in, prop, prop bolts, belt, remote choke, throttle travel/return, rubber blocks, wiring, hoses, Mounting nuts (paint for movement), cage, velcros, fuel amount/valve, etc

Then the stuff on hook in, leg straps, reserve pins/shackles, biner gates, trim settings, speedbar stowed/connected, toggles, throttle, chest strap, vario, gps, etc

Not a complete list, you're on your own for that in the absence of an instructor's guidance.

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