Another Good Man Down

Matt Bell was an experienced pilot. He wasn’t the kind of guy who slalomed around the palms or practiced wing tip drags. He was just a regular guy who showed up whenever the weather allowed and who attended every Fly-In within a two day drive.

A couple of weeks ago he got a new 18 meter Gin Carve that is described as a “responsive and dynamic wing”, it was small and spicy. This morning this morning shortly after takeoff at about 200 ft that wing unexpectedly entered diving spiral that ended after one and a half turns. Matt was killed instantly.

The accident was witnessed by Joe Taylor who contacted the authorities and initiated a search. When they found Matt the only clue to the cause of the crash was that his trimmers were … one out and one in. How they got wildly out of balance is not known. Perhaps he launched with the trim in and when he tried to “let them out”, one cam released freely while the other didn’t. New risers can be stiff. My Colorado certainly was and MacPara exchanged them for another set with modified cams that were easer to use.

We will never know if this was equipment error or pilot error.

RIP Matt.

Thank You Officer Kaufman for standing up for the PPG community.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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