Home Forums Safety Incident Report: PG Front Range Rotor, April 25, 2020

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    Incident Summary

    On April 25th @ 18:00, pilot was paragliding close to Regionals Launch. When attempting to join other pilots in a nearby thermal, pilot got too low behind the front ridge, encountered sink and rotor, and landed in dense bushes (no reserve deployment). Additional details from local news report here.


    Weather was clear and warm. At 18:00, Marshall Peak Launch weather station reported SW winds @ approximately 10mph. Moderate thermal activity, as other pilots were thermalling nearby.

    Emergency or Medical Response

    Pilot was in radio communication with other pilots. Pilot was not injured, but due to the dense vegetation, required helicopter extraction. San Bernardino County Fire was called and requested assistance for helicopter hoist rescue. Pilot was extracted @ 20:55, assessed at a nearby staging area, and released at the scene with no injuries reported.


    No injuries.

    Pilots Involved

    Paraglider Pilot (P2)

    Root Cause

    Rotor from front range causing loss of control of glider too close to terrain.

    Proximate Cause

    Pilot did not allow for adequate altitude and terrain clearance behind front range.

    Corrective Action

    Pilot to review terrain clearance safety margins and terrain-generating conditions (rotor, thermal activity, etc) with instructor.


    That’s two helicopter ” rescues” in as many days,  where the ” pilot” is released at the LZ, like the emergency helicopter crew is their Uber shuttle, in under a week.  One from plain old noob incompetence, the other over confidence and bad pre flight.

    I call it self indulgent sack of potatoes abusing the privilege of high speed mobile telecommunications and the convenience of an expensive tax payer funded helicopter emergency medical rescue response.

    When I called and spoke with the San Berdoo air rescue watch commander, he asserted they don’t have a problem responding to non injury rescues of paraglider pilots in the shrubbery, and let him know I recovered Jai Pal’s glider and gear, at night, without night vision, and know exactly what the brush on the backside of Marshall’s is all about.

    This is not going to end well when it’s discussed at board meetings where the CSS isn’t there, and paragliding is held accountable for the expense at the state budget policy level in Sacramento, or downtown San Berdoo at the county supervisor.

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