Home Forums Safety Incident Report: PG Reserve Deployment, April 15, 2020

  • Author
  • #8040
    David Webb
    General Member

    Incident Summary

    On April 15 @ 14:02, pilot was paragliding at approximately 1-2km east of Marshall Peak Launch at 4900’ ASL. Pilot experienced turbulence, followed by a significant collapse, riser twist, and then locked-spiral dive with high G force. Pilot’s instruments reported 2400-2600 fpm sink. Pilot determined that recovery was not possible and deployed reserve parachute at 4150’ ASL. Pilot descended under canopy down to the slope behind the ridge into heavy brush at approximately 3570’ ASL and landed safely with no injuries, other than a bruised upper right rib.


    The weather was clear and warm; Crestline Launch weather station was not reporting data to the website, but Marshall Peak Launch conditions reported 15mph SW wind at that time (so it should be assumed conditions at Crestline Launch were at least 20mph). Thermal activity was reported to be active.

    Emergency or Medical Response

    Eye witness called 911 San Bernardino Sheriff and Fire, and helicopter was deployed. Pilot sent GPS coordinates via Google Earth to emergency services. Helicopter lowered rescue personnel on a cable to pilot’s location, pilot was assisted into a rescue harness, and pilot was hoisted into the helicopter and extracted @ approx 15:00. Helicopter flew to and landed at a nearby staging area on Crestline Hwy 18 where paramedics assessed pilots condition. Paramedics cleared pilot for release and was picked up by private car.


    No major injuries – minor bruising from carabiner.

    Pilots Involved

    Paraglider Pilot (P4 / Tandem Instructor Rating)

    Root Cause

    Thermal activity causing significant, unrecoverable collapse and riser twist, followed by locked spiral.

    Proximate Cause

    Pilot examined equipment post-incident and discovered that the harness’s main waist cross strap was set in the fully tightened (shortest) position, making distance between the carabiners the minimum for that harness. Harness was also new to the pilot (less than 10 flights) and pilot was still making adjustments.

    Corrective Action

    Recommended that all pilots review any new harness adjustments in a hang simulator before flight. Pilot had significant flight experience and was flying an Ozone Zeno paraglider (a 2-line, EN-D wing). All pilots should consider flying lower-end wings than their skills might allow for. All pilots should carefully evaluate and consider current conditions before launching, and launching/flying mid-day should always be approached with caution, regardless of skill level.


    Good job JP.

    When it goes away, throw!

    Been there, done that…

    Glad you’re OK.

    Fly Safe!

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