Blew Launch and Blended the Wing

I waited a week to write this one up because I’ve been trying to figure out what was the cause of a very expensive incident.  During the last few launches I’ve been having trouble with the lines getting bit during inflation.  Was it the keepers kicking out lines or perhaps it was the APCO Lift EZ doing some crazy dance where the outside lines were slack and getting grabbed while the center of the glider was going through the prop wash?  I’m still not sure what the problem is but I’ve decided it didn’t have anything to do with this incident.

Here is what happened.  The wing came up crooked and I pumped the brake to get it back on track, at the same time I was reducing thrust.  I expected the wing to overshoot but instead it did what APCO said it would, it went overhead and stopped. Then, because I was still decelerating, it stalled and fell into the paramotor.  I added power too late to get ahead of the wing and killed it only after the wing was being sucked into the hub.  Apparently it’s a fine line between having too much power and not enough when you are trying to stabilize an oscillating wing.  Too much and you get rolled, not enough and the wing  stalls.  Its also very possible it that there was a tail wind which would have stalled the wing almost as soon as I started to slow down.
One of the cons to flying at Shell Creek is that the vegetation on either side of the runway can make a wind shadow.  I had motored out to the LZ leaving my wind sock 100 yards away attached to the truck where it showed very light and variable air.  There could well have been a nice northern breeze just over my head and I didn’t catch it.  The airflow at the Parking area has it’s own issues, between buildings etc.
No matter how I analyze it ….pilot error.

There are no pictures because I wasn’t of a mind to document a perfect wing slashed to ribbons.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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