Home Forums Safety Paragliding Incident Report – June 8, 2024

  • Author
  • #20395

    Location: Marshall Peak
    Date: June 8, 2024
    Time: about 4:35PM
    Temperature on launch: about 70°F
    Temperature at the LZ: about 85°F
    Wind Speed: 10mph gusting to about 13mph
    Pilot Rating: P2
    Wing Type: B
    Injuries: None

    On Saturday, June 8, 2024 at approximately 4:35PM, a paraglider pilot launched from Marshall Peak and headed left toward the house thermal. According to the pilot and the witness, he reached an altitude of about 100ft or less off the ground when he suffered a 60-75% asymmetric right wing collapse. The witness reported seeing a 60% collapse and the pilot reported 3/4ths of the right side of his wing tip deflating and collapsing.

    After the collapse, the glider then immediately transitioned to a 180° degree heading change and pilot impacted the hill shortly thereafter. The pilot reported that he felt a moment of weightlessness and then felt himself being “spun” (spiral) around toward the terrain. The wing had almost fully re-inflated before the impact, but at that point in time he was too low and flying too fast to prevent the impact.

    The pilot attempted to deploy his reserve in order to slow down the impact. The pilot felt himself slow down just before impact. The reserve may have helped slow him down, but this detail is unclear to the pilot and the witnesses. The video shows the reserve being thrown, but disappears below launch where the video view is obscured.

    The witness reported seeing no brake input during the launch and no pitch control through the bumps while flying after launching. The pilot did not suffer any injuries and was driven down from launch by a driver.

    What we can learn from this incident:

    – Andy Jackson Airpark is an inland mountain desert site. As we go into summer, the sun is higher in the sky, temperatures are hotter later in the day and a bigger lapse rate means stronger thermal activity. Although some may consider 4:30PM to be a late afternoon flight, we are about three to four hours away from sunset this time of year. Conditions can still be strong at 4:30PM and it is not recommended that less experienced and/or visiting pilots who are not as familiar with this site launch this early in the day without knowing the risks.

    – Be sure to do your pre-flight check before launching, so that you do not feel like you must top-land in dangerous conditions to correct mistakes. The pilot reported having top-landed minutes before to sort out his speed bar. He was focused on checking the speed bar during his launch, instead of staying in control of the glider. Top-landing in turbulent conditions is also very risky and not recommended. In summer it is not uncommon to see dust devils forming (even after 5:00PM) on launch and at the LZ, posing a safety hazard during launching, flying near the ground and landing.

    – When launching, focus your full attention on flying the glider and getting away from the terrain. After reviewing the available video, the pilot and wing can be seen pitching forward and aft with no use of brakes to correct the pitching, or keeping pressure in the wing. Make sure you are well away from the terrain before trying to check, or fix any issues with your harness. Always fly at least two mistakes high to give yourself enough altitude from the ground, and give yourself distance from other pilots before attempting to fix any issues in the air. The most dangerous time for pilots is near the terrain while kiting, launching and landing. That’s when we are less than a parachute high. During launching, it is recommended to use a little bit of brakes to feel and prevent (or at least minimize) any possible collapses.

    – If you experience an asymmetric collapse, fly the good side. When one side of your paraglider collapses, try to weight-shift to the open, good side of your paraglider in order to prevent the glider from changing heading. Use the minimum effective dose of brakes to try to steer the good side, until the collapsed side has re-inflated. Using too much brake to control the inflated side can cause it to stall, because the wing loading on the good side has increased significantly, which also increases the stall speed.

    – If you experience a sudden heading change, do not hesitate to throw your reserve even if you think you are too low for it to open. The pilot did a great job being quick to deploy his reserve.

    – For safety reasons, all visiting and local P2 pilots are required to get evaluated and signed off by one of our listed local instructors to fly unsupervised. If you are a visiting P2 pilot, please make sure to schedule your future visit with one of our instructors ahead of time. You will need to familiarize yourself with the approach pattern, as well as agree to the terms and conditions for a P2 sign-off to fly unsupervised.


    These reports are extremely helpful in keeping us safe. I think this should be required reading for all new pilots and visiting pilots at AJX.


    I’m glad to hear it! We’re here to have fun, and hopefully by educating ourselves, we can keep it that way.

    Kathe Bloom
    General Member

    I just want this to be clear, the pilot has a P-3 rating. Thanks for the report! Phill


    I just want this to be clear, the pilot has a P-3 rating. Thanks for the report! Phill

    I checked the USHPA website at the time of writing this report and the pilot (although a USHPA member) was listed as having no official ratings at all. The pilot had failed to confirm his ratings via e-mail at the time he had received his P2. After being made aware of this, the pilot contacted his instructor and got his P2 rating sorted out with USHPA.

    When I asked him about the P3 rating, the pilot told me his P3 rating was not yet completed, because he did not take the P3 test at that time. At the time of the incident, the pilot technically had no official ratings according to USHPA, but at least his P2 was resolved post-accident.

    Kathe Bloom
    General Member

    Sorry Jana, you are correct! My bad. Phill


  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.