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Thurstaston Paramotor Acro.......... Broken swing arm ......


norbertflyer
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Paramotor acro (steep spirals) fortunately ended up with only a broken swing arm. It very often doesn't end as good as that. Well publicised UK deaths have occurred as a result of paramotor acro manoeuvres.

Don't do paramotor acro unless you're properly trained and all of your kit is properly rated to at least 12g.

I do not know the pilot who performed the acro.

(Pic attached)

Richard

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OMG!!!

I assume that this has been processed through the BHPA and the AAIB? 'I recommend doing both'

This is a very serious matter and must be published as fully as possible!!

Any other info?

SHARE THIS THREAD!

SW :D

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Paramotor acro (steep spirals) fortunately ended up with only a broken swing arm.

Not sure I would define a spiral descent as "acro" - more of an emergency descent technique which needs to be practiced in order to be useable in an emergency situation.

Don't do paramotor acro unless you're properly trained and all of your kit is properly rated to at least 12g.

Not sure that anyone currently offers paramotor acro training, or the gear that is certified to 12g. Most wings will generate 3-5g in a steep spiral and I would expect a pivot arm (and other components) to withstand such stress.

I do not know the pilot who performed the acro.

Pilot rated, very experienced with several years and many hundreds of flying hours, on a well serviced Airfer paramotor and Dudek Nucleon wing.

It only happened yesterday afternoon so no report with AAIB yet.

It didn't adversely affect flight too much but pinned his right arm so could not steer right or flare with that side, but landed safely on arse, no injury or other damage.

Strangely enough he has been looking to replace the Airfer swingarms with billet alloy ones for the last 6 months .......

Edited by Guest
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Was it a planned manoeuvre, an emergency descent, or was it a 'spur of the moment' decision to try and impress the becalmed paraglider pilots on the Thurso mud bank? Due to the number of acro manoeuvres performed, I would think the latter.

Spirals/wingovers performed over water and land? Two reserves? Life jacket? Actual failure occurred about 300ft above the ground? Unrated equipment? Unrated acro pilot? Recent well publicised deaths from paramotor acro manoeuvres?

It all sounds quite unusual for an experienced flyer to perform these acts intentionally, given the circumstances at the very least.

Looks like this breakage occurred at the welded joint - metal fatigue perhaps? I know PAP replaced their box sections a while ago, due to incidents of them breaking in similar G situations.

No doubt the AAIB report will let us know the answers, so the less experienced amongst us can learn from it.

Just so glad the pilot landed uninjured.

Richard

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Are these genuine questions or some sort of dig at a pilot who was simply enjoying the freedom of flying ? Can you elaborate on what recognised PPG acro pilot rating or acro-certified equipment is available in this country ?

For sure there are some pilots who enjoy nothing more than floating around with the odd gentle turn, whilst others want more of a dynamic experience and speed rush (in the full understanding and acceptance of the higher risks involved). There is clearly a market for wings like the GTR and Hadron for pilots who are willing to push the limits, and the necessary skill level needs to be practiced and improved somewhere. How else would there be competitors for events like the Flygames and Parabatix ? Risk and Reward perhaps ?

Unexpected equipment malfunction is a risk we all have to accept, despite the most thorough pre flight check. Metal fatigue is virtually impossible to detect pre-flight, but the secondary back-up system (webbing straps) proved adequate enough for the pilot to make a controlled landing without needing to resort to the final back-up system of chucking his reserve (front mounted so accessible with either hand). No harm done, no injuries, nobody hurt.

I've never liked the look of the welded joint on those pivot arms compared to a one piece design, but every harness I've seen has support webbing to cope with any failure of the pivot arm. Nice to see it all works as designed.

Not sure what answers you expect from the AAIB ? Possibly the pilot pushed his equipment a little too far or maybe it would have happened anyway at some stage - how will they know ? SIV (or acro) carries additional risk - we all know that - but I certainly don't want it to be banned .....

Perhaps this logo should be banned too ? :dive:

:wink:

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We all like the occasional spiral or two I am sure. :-)

My concerns are not with the pilot, but with the kit failure. How It happened, why it happened, how to prevent it in the future, have the manufacturers been made aware of this issue yet so they can inform their database?

The failure is a bad one for sure, the fact that it could be landed is amazing! (in in it's self proves that system to work.)

I always feel a little twitchy when tube is used for the arms on a Paramotor. give be a big lump of solid metal and an extra 100gm of weight any day of the week.

SW :D

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We all like the occasional spiral or two I am sure. :-)

My concerns are not with the pilot, but with the kit failure. How It happened, why it happened, how to prevent it in the future, have the manufacturers been made aware of this issue yet so they can inform their database?

The failure is a bad one for sure, the fact that it could be landed is amazing! (in in it's self proves that system to work.)

I always feel a little twitchy when tube is used for the arms on a Paramotor. give be a big lump of solid metal and an extra 100gm of weight any day of the week.

SW :D

Blimey! That slams mine and all older Bailey's then... are the new mid-point pivot arms on V5's solid or tube? How many Baileys with the high hang points fail Smon?

Rich

(genuine question, not trolling)

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I am not suggesting that they are all about to break...

I am just saying that WHY for the sake of a little extra weight not have some nice solid metal?

I know people like to have the lightest motor.... but I would trade that for a solid motor and carry the extra couple of KG.

There have been known failures in the past of a very similar nature, so its a known possible issue even before the point of manufacture, many have moved over to CNC machined bars now because of that.

I guess, it's cost v product v weight and so on......

SW :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

After reading this this thread I've just discovered I'm an acro pilot, I was there at thurstaston when I noticed the above mentioned pilot perform about two and a half 360s before guiding the paramotor down to what I thought was a brilliantly controlled emergency landing, I perform 360s whenever I want to lose height usually when I can see someone on the ground making coffee ...

I just love reading what all the armchair critics have to say when something goes wrong to someone else, does anyone know if the pilot is acro rated! (no) does anyone know if he took the precaution of wearing a life jacket! (no) does anyone know if he had a reserve ....yawn.....yeh it would be great if we were all perfect wouldn't it............shit happens get over it!! :acro:

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'StevePara' To say shit happens and get over it is pathetic.

You are clearly not aware of the last time a similar fault happened and the pilot DIED. I am sure his wife, children and close friends would not agree with your comment.

I will be showing this picture to all of my students to prevent them buying this unit until a fix is sorted.

As it reads to me, no one is being negative about this, ask yourself where is the harm in making this machine safer? developments happen for a reason.

You / We dont owe the company anything, but as a minimum, they owe us a safe flying machine.

As a customer, I want to know that my unit will stay in one piece when I am off the ground.

The fact that is seems as though it was not an acro type turn and just a couple of 360's makes it worse IMO it basically means that it has failed under normal flying conditions.

THAT IS DANGEROUS and not acceptable as a pilot if you do accept it as 'shit happens' then good luck with the rest of your flying as it sounds like you will need it.

SW :D

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  • 4 weeks later...

Seeing that picture makes me glad I changed my frame from one that looks very similar to the one in that pic to a PXP frame. I was talking to Paul Deacon about frames and he told me about the possibility of the swing arm on my frame breaking, when I heard this it was always at the back of my mine when flying so I bit the bullet and got a PXP frame.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Heres some pics of my airfer swing arm. As you can see they are a one piece design and unwelded. Hollow in construction with a nylon insert through the centre which SHOULD give immense strength. God knows why it should break where it did. Just one other thing, original pic shows non factory welding on frame so who knows, may have suffered damage previously which resulted in fracture of arm. Also, agree with others, billet would be best but nothing is unbreakable. Nick

573364182ece3_armairfer3.JPG.f17da53d6fd

5733641830ffd_armairfer2.JPG.c3d87b8ff61

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  • 7 months later...
Heres some pics of my airfer swing arm. As you can see they are a one piece design and unwelded. Hollow in construction with a nylon insert through the centre which SHOULD give immense strength. God knows why it should break where it did. Just one other thing, original pic shows non factory welding on frame so who knows, may have suffered damage previously which resulted in fracture of arm. Also, agree with others, billet would be best but nothing is unbreakable. Nick

hi could i ask were you baught this airfer paramotor from cheers Aaron

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whatever the cause, I for one would be interested to know a little more about the flight dynamics from the point of arm failure onwards, but to start with what direction was the 360 in, how and how easily did the Pilot recover the situation to enable him to get his arse level enough to walk away from it, i,e what inputs did he put in after the arm failed (weight shift opposite brake etc), also how much secondary slack had he got in his harness? I can pinch an inch and a half of slack on my PXP but on my old H&E I had at least 2.5ins of webbing slack before it would take up the riser strain, there must be some correlation as to how the wing behaviour may in the event vary depending on the amount of travel in the harness before it takes up the strain. Perhaps worth us all just thinking about the immediate action in the event of dynamic failure on either side be it arm, shackle or arm mount, several possibilities that I've never considered until now!!

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