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poz
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It would be very easy not to write this post, because I feel really really stupid and embarrassed. But, I feel that if my horrible experience prevents just one other pilot from a similar fate then my ego can take the hit.

I'm getting set up on my own (mistake 1) in a big field near to my home, I've laid out my wing had a couple of nice practice forward launches and feel a little more confident. The wind is almost non-existant, but the best it's been for a while.

I get my motor out of the car and run through the safety checks, before I attempt to start it. This is a clutched, pull start engine which requires me to firmly hold it in place with throttle in hand (I believe mistake 2) whilst I pull with the other hand.

I had primed the engine and slowly pulled through once as I had been shown. Then I went to start the engine. It caught first time. In hindsight, the problem for me was that with my left hand. the one holding the throttle, which needs an extremely delicate touch, this hand also needs to strongly hold the frame because otherwise the pulling action pulls the paramotor round. Delicate and firm with the same hand.

As the engine started I was unaware that I was inadvertantly squeezing the throttle. It took me completely unaware as the engine reved so quickly.

The ground under the paramotor (mistake 3) was not completely flat although not uneven enough for me to notice before starting the engine.

I was knocked off balance slightly enough for me to not be able to hold back the 35kg of thrust that it kicked out at that point and the paramotor came round on me from the left.

This was all happening in a split second, but my instict was to grip the frame even more firmly to try and stop the paramotor moving but at the same time whilst trying to grip I was obviously gripping the throttle as well. Fortunately I figured out what was happening and just let go of the throttle just as the top of my shoulder met the propellor through the cage. Unfortunately the throttle hit the ground lever first and re-reved the engine just at the point of contact. This all happened in about half a second.

I felt a tremendous bang to my shoulder and instictively pushed back and moved away. The paramotor fell over, cage down :( smashing the prop. I killed the engine and forced myself to look down at my shoulder. It wasn't pretty. My tshirt was completely shredded and there was blood gushing out of a deep wound.

I was almost fascinated at how fast your situation can change. One minute I'm having a really pleasant time in a very nice, peaceful spot, then suddenly in a second everything has turned around. A million thoughts are running through my head. First and foremost I knew that I had to stabilise my injury and stem the bleeding. I did this with kitchen roll and pressure. Then I had to figure out whether or not I was going to loose consciousness anytime soon, which I decided I wasn't. Then I decided that I would need help, quickly. Lots and lots of pain now.

There was no way I was going to call Nikki, my wife, I just couldn't. So I called my friend and very briefly explained my predicament. He shot out of the house and went to completely the wrong place (he's Spanish). In the meantime I'm trying to multi-task. There was no way I was going to leave my gear in that field, so whilst desperately trying not to loose too much blood, I somehow managed to gather up my wing and get it in the stuff bag, without covering it in blood, which was gushing. This really took it out of me, so I sat down and concentrated on the wound. I couldn't remove the pressure to have a look, so didn't really know the extent of the injury, but to be honest, at that moment I didn't want to. So I just sat there and drank water.

The next task was to calm my friend when he eventually turned up and saw me. I guess I was not a pretty sight with my shredded t-shirt and covered in blood. He was pretty shuck up.

Anyway, when we got to the hospital I saw what I had done. Basically the propellor, THROUGH THE NETTING had removed all the skin and flesh down to the bone from the top of my shoulder.

Although the injury is pretty severe, I think I was really lucky that it wasn't a few inches higher up my neck.

Damage to the paramotor was minimal. 2 netting cable ties and a prop.

What have I learned?

The netting doesn't offer much protection as it's flexible.

Starting technique: I have been back to Pap assuming my starting technique was incorrect, but amazingly it was pretty spot on and works fine providing the engine doesn't suddenly rev up. As the starter pulley is on the lower right you tend to support the machine more on the right, so when it unexpectedly reved, it span round anti clockwise, meeting my left shoulder.

Unfortunately this type of injury takes a long time to heal and might require some skin graft surgery. The position of it, just where the harness sits on my shoulder, is also unfortunate because it's going to stop me getting back in the saddle for the summer :cry:

I know I've had a bad start and my confidence has taken a battering, but I am still excited about getting airbourne and will not accept these couple of incidents as 'a warning' that this is not for me, as some (especially loved ones) are suggesting.

I just wish I had some support here to help me with my learning curve.

Sorry about the long post, but I guarentee it was harder to write it than it was for you to read it :oops:

Cheers

Dan

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Hey Dan

Very sorry to hear about your injury and well done you for telling the story and in such concise fashion. Also glad to know that you remain positive about remaining involved in PPG, even in the face of adversity.

Let's all hope that this never happens again. One way is to make sure that your machine will always start on tick over so the throttle can be left on the ground. Another is to start it on your back only. I'm sorry this wasn't in time to prevent your accident Dan, and hope you heal fast.

Dave

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Hey Dan

Very sorry to hear about your injury and well done you for telling the story and in such concise fashion. Also glad to know that you remain positive about remaining involved in PPG, even in the face of adversity.

Let's all hope that this never happens again. One way is to make sure that your machine will always start on tick over so the throttle can be left on the ground. Another is to start it on your back only. I'm sorry this wasn't in time to prevent your accident Dan, and hope you heal fast.

Dave

Thanks Dave.

Unfortunately, the engine will not start from cold without some intervention from the throttle and it's impossible to start it over your shoulder, too much compression.

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Dan

Really sorry to hear about the trouble that you are having getting started on your own and hope that your injury isn't as bad as you make it sound (please keep us informed).

I feel a bit frustrated (as I am sure you do) that we can't help from here in the UK.

If you are coming over to the UK at any time let us know.

Regards

Eddie

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Dan hope you get back in the harness soon mate, I know what its like to not fly for a long time :(

I always stand in the harness (left foot) with my left hip against the back of the harness when I start my PAP so that even if it does rev up it will only push me forward rather than try to come around the side like yours.

Never mind lesson learned! now get some rest and recover quick then get back in the air where you belong :D

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Dan,

Bloody hell mate hope your injury isn't as bad as it sounds!

Hope it heals fast so you can get back in the soon :-)

Your incident brings a few things to the forefront: the importance of taking a mobile phone when flying alone and propellers are bloody dangerous!

All the best mate,

Tom :D

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Dan,

Sorry to hear this, sounds pretty horrible.

I bought my PAP from Deano who kindly spent an hour or so going over it with me, including the best way to hold the throttle when starting. Seems obvious once you have been told but if you hold the main (fixed) part of the throttle in the palm of your hand and then grip the frame with the moving part towards the motor, the only way to open (squeeze) the throttle is by bending your fingers. Can't think of the best way to word it, but basically if you or the motor push for whatever reason you won't open the throttle.

This doesn't mean it couldn't still happen though.

I wish you a quick recovery

cheers

Jon

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Jesus Dan, this is shocking news.

I was going to PM you this morning to see if you had tried to fly again but other things took over.

Much respect for posting your shocking incident, I hope others can learn from it as you do.

I really feel your anguish, I am not sure of your exact set up when starting but I always keep a very firm hold of the cage and a foot on the left 'leg' of the frame, fortunately my motor starts with just choke on.

I wish you speedy healing mate,

Take care,

Alan

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Hey Dan

Hard luck mate and i hope you mend soon and nothing drops off !

Having broken my arm in 8 places in Feb in a PPG accident i can sympathise...what pisses me off is the strength ( or lack of ) of the cages of our machines . There should be no way to get near to a prop unless you re reaching around , and there should be enough clearance between prop and cage so that even if you have a mishap everything stays in one piece...its bad enough slipping on your arse without having to worry about shards of prop cutting you and your wing to bits

And props aint cheap ! :(

P.S. I think my P.J frame is made from liquorice !! (Titanium)

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Ha ha ha. He was at the pub doing a bit of business / socialising actually .!

Restrain myself ? C'mon. Did you really expect me to jump on my soap box and start preaching, when one of our mates has been hurt ? Maybe....just maybe... you dont know me aswell as you thought you did ! ? ! ?

Dan. If you'd like a chat, PM me your number, and I'll give you a ring.

Dave

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P.S. I think my P.J frame is made from liquorice !! (Titanium)

Hmmmm, well I have been using a Titanium frame now to teach over 100 people with (so plenty of hard landings and falling over)

I find that it is amazingly strong and easy to bend back when out of place.

You will struggle to find a stronger frame than the Titanium Compact I recon. Just stop hitting it so hard LOL

SW :D

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Simple...

Any frame WILL bend given enough force. Alloy ones bend (or thin steal) and your dealing with a snap in most cases.

When the Titanium bends (which is less likely to happen in the first place) It can be bent back without risk of snapping it.

I think it is fair to say that my frame has had over a lifetime of your average motors use, and had a shed load of first flights and landings... and the frame is still round :-)

At the other end of the scale, try to land on your arse with a miniplane and see how much of your frame is left afterwards.

SW :D

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The Miniplane weighs half the weight of the Parajet. Much less chance of the student falling over in the first place! :wink:

As proven by Paul Mahony using 6 Miniplanes for his training operation. Best cure is surely not to have the stumbles from lugging excess weight.

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Thanks for the support guys, it's really appreciated.

More or less resigned now to the fact that I won't be leaving the ground any time soon, apart from when friends that don't know what happened greet me with a friendly slap on the shoulder :shock:

Docs are happy with progress, but it still looks the same to me 4 days on, a bit like salami (sorry). I'm probably expecting too much. Been told to sit down, not move and definitely not to sweat....For f**ks sake it's 42 degrees!

So, finding different ways to play with my new Go Pro toy. Time-lapse feeding the cat, 60fpm slow motion taking a piss, secret time-lapse video having an argument with wife over not giving up paramotoring (not pleasant, but at least it was over in 18 seconds) I think it ended with me saying something like 'over my dead body!' Probabaly wrong choice of phrase.

Can you tell how bored I am.

Is this parawaiting?

If I start any arguments on the forum, just ignore me, I'm probably taking high speed video of my keyboard so it looks like I can type really fast.

Cheers

Dan :):cry::evil::?::oops:

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Poz great to hear you are are ok, me and the wife have just read that post, very funny, maybe a hidden talent for comedy writing we certainly need some after England's performances in the world cup chin up shoulders straight ha ha cheers Alan.

Fanman re-read the post i think what Simon was saying was if a student actually lands on his arse when flying ie inexperienced or freezing or whatever, as we are all not perfect like you :wink: but then again you could just pull another one of your six paramotors out and have another go :wink:

As Parajets biggest critic you obviously have a big chip on your extremely experienced shoulder why?

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Dan,

Sorry to hear this, sounds pretty horrible.

I bought my PAP from Deano who kindly spent an hour or so going over it with me, including the best way to hold the throttle when starting. Seems obvious once you have been told but if you hold the main (fixed) part of the throttle in the palm of your hand and then grip the frame with the moving part towards the motor, the only way to open (squeeze) the throttle is by bending your fingers. Can't think of the best way to word it, but basically if you or the motor push for whatever reason you won't open the throttle.

This doesn't mean it couldn't still happen though.

I wish you a quick recovery

cheers

Jon

Hi Jon

Thanks for the post.

I think I know what you mean, but If you get a chance, is there anyway you could take a photo of how you are holding the throttle.

Don't worry if you can't.

Cheers

Dan

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.... and definitely not to sweat....For f**ks sake it's 42 degrees!

Dan, at least you're giving us some amusement now :D

Hope you don't feel too sore over the next few days. I've had a couple of injuries whilst enjoying :? PPG, years ago I tore my bicep muscle. That was down to poor instruction and bad technique, also wasn't pleasant as I had to drive 500 miles the next day.

...with me saying something like 'over my dead body!' Probabaly wrong choice of phrase.

Possibly :lol: Still once tasted PPG you can't live without :wingover:

Cheers,

Alan

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I've been looking for a safe way to start my engine, and came up with this....

[youtubevideo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nweYjr9SMl4[/youtubevideo]

I know that this can only work on clutched motors and that messing around on the prop side of a running engine makes you realise that you are sub-consciously grimacing and shaking your head. But, the engine is in a stabilized idle with the throttle on the floor......

Opinions from the wisened?

Left shoulder giving me a glimmer of hope that it might forgive me enough, at some point in the future, to once again allow me to hang half of 30 odd kilos off it.

However, the injury inflicted upon the wife's confidence became infected yesterday when she saw a photo of the shoulder without dressing.

Retail Antibiotics, in the form of a shopping trip may need to be administered ASAP if I want to stop this situation spiraling out of control and becoming terminal :wink:

Dan

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Point 1.

Going to the 'prop' side of the motor when its running wihtout the throttle in your hand is never a great idea. (if the throttle fell to the ground and you were there taking the string off) you may have been looking at doing the other shoulder as well.

Point 2.

Your foot was (inside) the cage and had no boot on it. Its best to keep everything outside the cage as you clearly have found out.

Point 3

Your idea is not half bad... It would be better if it was mechanical and fixed with control from the piloting position. This way you can get it running on your back and release the lock. (mainly thinking of a way to avoid being 'prop side' at all times.)

Point 4

Get an electric start :-)

SW :D

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