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Turtle and an engine out, 2 valuable lesson learned in 1 day


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Today I was training on a black beach of volcaninc sand in Guatemala, there was a good 8mph wind blowing, high but not crazy. I got the wing up, kited it for a bit and then turned around, I touched the breaks a bit much and then found myself running backwards until I landed on my back, not a major issue, a fright yes but normally no real biggy, except that one of the lines wrapped around my neck and proceeded to choke me as I pulled on the breaks for dear life.

Fortunately it wasn't a full wrap and my instructor was there lickity split to untangle me, so nothing worse than some scratching and bruising.

Then about 3 flights later on the same day, after practicing some spot landings, I cruised up to about 100 meters and was just thinking how awesome this was, when my brand new Blackhawk BH125 had an engine out. Looking around I decided I could not go back the way I had come as I did not have enough altituede to be sure of turning twice to land into the wind.

Unfortunately the nice wide beach was behind me, and in front of me was about a 15 meter wide beach with crashing ocean waves on one side, and a lake which runs into it at high tide on the other.

The wind was blowing North East and so I did not have to land directly towards the ocean, but somehow despite my limited experience I managed to calculate for drift and land on my feet directly between the two. Unfortunately then a wave washed completey over into the river and my wing got soaked. I then had to walk with the paramotor on my back and a wet wing for 2 km to get back where I came from.

This was a pretty hardcore day, and not particularly fun, but I feel I learned a lot about how to control the wing in high winds and how precarious it can be, and got to learn first hand the importance of being prepared for engine outs.

It could have been a lot worse. Now I have to try and find out what happened to the f#*kin engine.

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Very well done in what seemed a frightening land out. I have around 35 flights behind me but am constantly looking around just in case the engine fails, as they all say its not if you have an engine failure but when. I was simulating engine out yesterday and landing in my local field which I am very familar with I hope when the inevitable happens it goes as well. I dont know how I would of coped with such a walk with all that gear. :dive:

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Thanks George,

It definitely went well, and despite the amassing aches and pains from the hike from hell I am glad to have learned a few lessons without more dire consequences.

In fact I am most definitely realizing that I need to respect this sport more than I maybe did in the beginning.

Practice, practice, practice right, and hopefully not too many more engine outs

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