June 15, 2020 at 10:41 AM #9094
On June 13th @ 17:00, student PG pilot under instruction, launched from Marshall Peak Launch. A few seconds after launch, pilot encountered and then exited strong lift and wing surged. Pilot reported staying light on the brakes during the surge due to lack of penetration into the wind. While still light on brakes, pilot attempted to wiggle into harness to get settled and wing promptly deflated greater than 50% on the right side. Corrective action was again not applied and deflated wing turned towards launch. Pilot reported being in freefall and then impacted hillside moving downwind with wing still deflated greater than 50%. Bystanders ran to get out of the way. After impact, bystanders disabled the wing and assisted the pilot.
Weather was warm and winds were described as “choppy”. At 17:00, Marshall weather station reported winds 15-17mph and gusts between 22-24mph. Thermal activity in the area. Pilot and instructor assessed wind cycles and attempted to launch in a gentle cycle.
Emergency or Medical Response
Pilot was assessed on scene and driven down the mountain by the instructor.
Immediately following incident, pilot complained of lower back pain but was able to move legs. Tailbone and right buttocks badly bruised; large 1st degree wounds but no stitches or emergency services required.
P2 pilot (approx. 50 hours) flying EN-A wing.
Pilot was attempting to get settled in harness during a significant surge and not prepared to make quick corrections following a significant collapse close to terrain.
Pilot may have launched into conditions that were stronger or more unpredictable than current skill level and experience allowed for.
Pilot to review with instructor corrective actions to take after experiencing collapses. Pilot to review with instructor launch procedures and appropriate brake inputs to be making to prevent collapses directly after launching. All pilots are STRONGLY recommended to wait until completely clear of terrain after launch to get settled in harness. All pilots and instructors are STRONGLY recommended to carefully assess and weigh the risks of weather conditions before launching.June 17, 2020 at 8:29 AM #9156
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