The major kinds of paramotoring accidents fall under three categories. Those are- mid-air collision, unsuitable landing options, and power line paramotoring accidents. Keep reading the blog to know how you can avoid these common paramotoring accidents.
Even though paramotor is among the safest aviation options, it’s still undergoing a lot of accidents. The moment I got an interest in paramotoring, I started exploring the kinds of accidents. I discovered most of them happen because of the carelessness of the pilot. Any error by the side of the pilot is entirely responsible for 95% of the paramotoring accidents. This post will cover the possible paramotoring accidents and also how you can avoid them.
One more thing that causes paramotoring accidents is the propeller. Although you can completely prevent it as the propeller is just a mechanical part of the paramotor which can be repaired if it is defective. For now, let’s see the hazard you can be facing during the training time. The further circumstances are dangerous for any pilot in any aircraft and not just the paramotor.
POWER LINES: #1 Paramotoring Accidents
For more than decades, we have seen power lines responsible for causing paramotoring accidents in hot air balloons, planes, and helicopters. We couldn’t imagine how frightful it is for a pilot to see power lines just a few feet away from his aircraft. Power lines are undeniably the most probable causes of accidents in paramotor. It’s still a lot safer with planes as different parts can cut through the lines. But when it comes to paramotor, there is nothing a pilot could do. He just probably gets stuck on the power line hanging from the wing. It’s very risky to ignore the power lines while paramotoring.
These paramotoring accidents concerning power lines are not very fatal because once stuck on the line, pilot will not fall on the ground. If they do, it’s not from a huge height. However, pilots can get burns and other serious injuries.
How to tackle this trouble?
Flying at a low height- those pilots are too naive to think they can fly at low height and see power lines from a distance and avoid it. This doesn’t happen in the real world. The first fact is power lines are not easily visible. You can imagine it as an invisible trouble.
Many factors, including the size affect the power lines’ visibility—also, the light angle and the background color matters. The line can be visible from Just one direction and not detectable from the naked eye from the opposite direction. It just takes seconds for power lines to pass out of the vision.
If you still wish to fly low, make sure you have done the inspection of the area. We know the struggle you can be facing while flying low to locate poles or telephone lines from your altitude.
Power lines run across railways, roads, or even hedge line. Try not to be surprised if you locate it somewhere you never thought it would be. It can be anywhere and come out as a shock to you. So be aware of the power lines while flying low as it can be anywhere.
Hidden poles- Thorough inspection also means checking out for poles. Power lines can also stretch across the fields without any support from the poles between them. Some poles can also be attached to the trees at the ends, which is a much bigger trouble. You can only see the field more clearly by a closer look.
Complacency- Even after a good experience in paramotoring, a pilot can always end up feeling complacency that can distract him. It’s highly essential to stay attentive all the time while paramotoring, especially while flying low. Even if you take a second away to put something in your pocket, you will be distracting yourself.
Launch field- You need to be more than careful if the power lines are close to your launch/land field. I’ve seen a pilot crash into power lines into his very launch spot where he flew regularly. He had a good experience of flying in the regular site for years. Since he had the crash, in the end he didn’t make it. So nobody can know why he hit the power lines.
In case you see a power line in the field, you must quickly learn to deflect your direction. If you ever doubt you will be able to clear the power lines, just decide to wait. While landing, do not shut off the engine until you pass the power lines and free from the danger.
Show off- It’s normal for us to wave at the pilots flying below us; we often also pull our wings over! Still, don’t get too low to show off. Don’t go on the lane of power lines as you can easily be seen waving from far away of 200 ft.
One of the famous mistakes a pilot made while paramotoring is he spotted something down below. He thought he would just lower the altitude and take a look. He decided to wave at the people and headed towards a marquee. As the poles were hidden, he couldn’t spot power lines from far. He only noticed it when he was closer. He tried to stop by pulling hard, but unfortunately, he ended up clipping the lines with wings. He unfortunately hit the ground but survived the situation.
Theory of John Freeman- According to this theory, it can be a problem if the pilot tries to see from a 70-degree field of vision. Even if the pilot has a perfect vision, he can always face inherent visual traps and fall into a power line unknowingly.
A pilot from far away would only be able to see the poles and not the wires attached to them. Within the visual field, it’s hard to find clues for things that can obstruct you.
Thankfully many of the pilots survived and were able to learn a lesson from this. One of his one statement that gave chills are-
Although I am fine now, multiple factors caused this. Low light, busy area, engine vibration, parallax all made me unable to look at the smaller elements like pole and power lines. As I came close to 10 meters, only then was I able to recognize what’s wrong. This is also because I am highly experienced, and I fly regularly.
If one follows all the tips and tricks mentioned above, one can easily avoid the power line paramotoring accidents. Now I have also seen a lot of pilots who put their lives at risk every time they fly.
You can go through this video-
PARAMOTORING ACCIDENTS THAT INCLUDE NO LAND SPOT
You can easily forget your landspot if you are flying over Water bodies or trees. You may want to reach a spot quickly, or want to have some beautiful pictures of the view down. But it’s not always possible for you to get this done, especially the paramotors who fly in 2 stroke engines.
While flying over an unfavorable field, things don’t turn out always as you plan it. There’s a good chance a paramotor can stop anywhere, and you will have no spot if it comes down. Especially water has been one of the most significant causes of unfortunate landing spot paramotoring accidents. Suppose you are flying very low, you won’t get enough time to unclip you from the paramotor. And if you fall into the water, the weight of the wing will drag you down, and will possibly drown.
Another most famous hazard is the trees. Recently I came across a picture of a pilot who was paramotoring in the forest of Belarus and had struck on a tree. The branch of the tree impaled the pilot for about a diameter of 4 inches. He lived through to tell the tale but got severe pain at the time.
How to tackle this trouble?
If you fly over an area that doesn’t have a land spot, you need to fly a lot more higher. You should be high enough so that you don’t fall into trees or bushes if the engine suddenly stops. You should have enough height to glide into a safe area if the engine stops. If your gliding distance don’t have suitable landing options, it’s better not to risk it.
A flotation device can help you a lot if you are flying over water that has zero landing options. You can fit it easily in the harness so that it gives a buoyancy effect on the water. But you can still end up risking your life with the flotation device if you are face down in water.
Maybe you are on the water and the wing is on top of you. You can drown in water in no time if that’s the case. If the wing is wrapped around your legs or arms, it can be risky as well.
The only way to stay safe in such a situation is to fly over enough altitude so you can glide to a safer spot. Even the pilot who have good experience are advised with this – never be confident about your engine; it can fail anytime. So to fly over no landing spot is a big no if you are a beginner.
Next, you will see something that a pilot should be aware of every single time of his flight.
MID AIR COLLISION WHILE PARAMOTORING
Mid-air collision is a big nightmare for the paramotoring pilots. Many of the pilots have survived by close calls in such collisions. Fast jets are a hazard to paragliders, especially around the hills. Now that I think about it, I recall a story where two paragliders crashed and had a broken leg because of being caught up in the low flying jet’s wash. This one changed the lawsuit, and pilots were required to have issued NOTAM so that other pilots can know about their existence.
A mid-air collision is possible at any height or altitude. Although pilots flying at higher altitudes are more prone to risk their lives because of this.
I would also like to share my experience of a few years back that I had with a microlight. I was flying high over a thousand feet by the Severn river’s edge. It was comfortable for me initially, as the visibility was excellent. Then it started to get uncomfortable as a microlight was coming straight at me. I decided to take a right turn to avoid any collision. I realised that after 15 minutes of flying, I was back in the same direction, and we both turned to save the clash.
The same day I got a call from my friend, and it turns out he was the one with the microlight. He admitted neither he nor his passengers saw us. He was only able to spot me in the sky when we were close and second pass.
How to avoid mid-air collision?
A mid-air collision is something that can happen with anyone anytime at any height. There is no formula to escape from it. We theoretically say that pilots should always be aware while flying but practically it’s not possible.
I talked to the pilot who is in charge of cargo planes, and he said that they never look out of Windows. Commercial airline and military pilots also confirmed that they have an idea about what’s going on outside the plane. Only rarely we will show up on the radar; however, people might perceive it as the flock of seagulls.
That’s why always show your selves to another pilot while paramotoring. We can fit a bright strobe to the paramotors and begin by that. Specific strobes are easily attached to the frames as they are light, super-bright, and come with small batteries.
You can also get a look at the information concerned with NOTAM before taking off. Another way to check the data is the runwayHD that compiles the information of your area.
You can issue your NOTAM and register the area where you will be exactly flying. All the experienced paramotor pilots do this when they are going on a long flight. It’s essential to register for high aircraft activities as they save from paramotoring accidents. This enables every pilot to know the flight spot of other paramotorist. It’s definitely a requirement if you are flying over 10,000 feet.
If your wing color is not bright enough or in contrast with the background, it can also make a difference. It is harder to locate any aircraft if you are watching from above. Considering that, do not go into a forest area with a dark green wing as you can be hard to spot with all the trees around. A Camouflaged paramotor is undoubtedly the last thing you need.
Another thing I would like to mention is a mid-air paramotor collision that happened recently, leading to the death of one pilot. Another pilot was injured. They were waiting for their friends to launch who were below them. That’s why it’s essential to be 100% aware of your surroundings.
You can see how these two paramotor collided mid-air:
Also, if you are flying in proximity, you must be extra careful. Only the experienced pilots should be doing wing-walking or wing touching. Even flying at the same altitude is risky.
Another student was in danger because I flew next to him, and he wasn’t aware. He turned right without even looking at both sideways. I have to pull the brake hard, so we don’t strike each other. He felt my Prop wash, but thankfully we didn’t collide.
That’s why it is essential to fly at different heights or attitudes to avoid such collisions. Now you know how you can prevent paramotoring accidents that happened because of flying nearby.
OTHER CAUSES FOR PARAMOTORING ACCIDENTS
I tried to cover most of the safety topics that can help you avoid paramotoring accidents.
A pilot can usually avoid 99% of accidents while paramotoring. The aircraft causes the remaining 1% of the risk. The best way left for us is to follow the advice suggested in this article. You can also read: Paramotoring Mistakes: What Mistakes Should You Not Make While Paramotoring?
The website is dedicated to pilots and for their safe flight in every possible way. That’s the reason we have covered everything, and we will keep publishing likewise.