March 5, 2021 at 12:02 PM #11532John BenarioGeneral Member
On March 1, at approximately 1420 , While kiting at the Southwest edge of the kiting area at AJX, a clear dust devil caught the pilot’s wing and lifted the pilot approximately 20 feet into the air. The dust devil pulled the pilot backwards and slammed him onto the grass. The dust devil then picked up the pilot again and dropped him from about 5 five above ground and drug him along the ground for approximately 15 feet. Pilot was knocked out for about 15 seconds.
The recorded winds at Crestline were approximately 12 mph south, with dust devil activity recorded at about 1515. The conditions were pre-frontal with reported rowdy and switchy air at the time the accident.
Onsite Chapter members rendered first aid and stabilized the pilot. 911 was contacted, and a fire paramedic and ambulance came. After coming to, the pilot was lucid and responsive. He reported only mild pain. The pilot was transported to the hospital and was released later that day.
Pilot suffered a concussion.
The pilot had experience and ratings appropriate to kiting at AJX and is a current member of CSS and USHPA
Dust devil activity caused the paraglider to produce enough lift to lift pilot off the ground.
Pilot did not see dust devil approaching
Dust devil activity can happen during mid afternoon conditions at AJX, especially during pre-frontal conditions. Better monitoring of current conditions and making conservative decisions to practice kiting earlier or later in the day in spring and summer rowdy conditions would reduce the risk of this kind of accident.
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