Flat Top Paramotor Ninja Frame breaks in half in flight

crackedframeLink to the post: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ppgbiglist/message/101573

Hi Doron,

As Beery says, back to the mundane level of terra firma, and sometimes, as
Terry says, slightly above it.

Back in August I took off into a light-to-medium wind.
I flew, climbing, into the wind possibly about 100 feet above the ground. I
felt a sudden whack which was repeated a couple of times. It didn’t feel
like any wind gust or rotor I had ever experienced, so I descended a bit
with the thought of landing in the field near to the T/O field. Before I
could do anything everything went crazy, I turned 180 degrees, looked up
and saw that one wingtip had folded right under the wing. I had one thought
– I’m dead.

I ‘think’ I probably fell about 50 feet.

Next thing I knew I was lying in the uncut hayfield on top of my paramotor,
thinking ‘this is rather comfortable’.
I unbuckled the quick release, stood up and had a look at my machine. It
was very crumpled in the zone below the seat, and lots of other places too.

Then I saw that the comfort bar on the left had come loose at the back end
where it has a welded mitre joint.
The weight of me and the motor working against the lift of the wing forced
the bar up, and upset the wing,
probably exacerbated by me holding the brake handle at the normal position.
This I suspect was the first ‘bumps’ I had felt.

The front bottom part of the comfort bar had been bending, and finally
broke and that let the riser rise a bit too high until the safety strap
stopped it.
At that point the karabiner was above my head, as we saw when we
reconstructed the situation.
This was the final straw that collapsed the wing.

The raw end of the broken tube cut the side of my face slightly.

My right ankle was tender for a couple of days. But other than that I was
unhurt.

My immediate reaction was to start laughing, as I was so surprised to be
alive and comfortable.

The frame was trashed, the Moster engine was broken, as was the propeller.

The manufacturer in Utah took some responsibility, after quite a number of
weeks of back-and-forth ‘discussions’.

It struck me as a bit ironic that although the famous crumple zone had
helped to save me,
it was the bit of the frame just above that had almost killed me!

The problem was very apparent to me when I looked at the failed weld. Lack
of penetration.
The fill material of the weld was simply overlaying the mitred joint, the
two parts of the mitre were not melted together.
The cut ends of the tube could be clearly seen in their off-the-saw
condition.
There was no distortion of the joint, as would be seen if it had previously
suffered mechanical damage. It simply separated.

And, sorry CC, but my very quick thought was to thank the Good Lord / YHWH for
his protection.
And I’m still thankful, as I’m back in the air again!

I sometimes walk across the field to the impact point. It feels like holy
ground to me now.

When I told my wife a couple of weeks ago about the episode, she wasn’t
exactly happy….

Bill

<‘{{{>< W G Kerr
S c o t l a n d