HKPA report number 58

Site: Other Puli, Taiwan

(***Click here for site guide***)

Date of Event: Saturday 25th of April 2015

This Accident report was filed on Friday 15th of May 2015 and the last change to the report was made on Thursday 4th of June 2015 by Trevor Gribble

Injury Index = 2
( 0 =No Injuries or Minor - brief visit to Doctor)
( 1 =Significant - hospitalized or work time loss less than 48 hours)
( 2 =Temporary Disabling Injuries)
( 3 =Permanent Partial Disabling Injuries)
( 4 =Permanent Total Disability)
( 5 =Fatal injuries)

Details:

A pilot holding a Novice (PG2) Licence with 0 years of experience whist flying at Other at approximately 15-1700hrs on Saturday 25th of April 2015.

The conditions at the time were reported to be Variable with a W wind blowing approximately 10-15kph. The temperature was 25-29deg C with A Little Cloud and Slight Haze Visibility.

There were reported to be 2-5 pilots at the site.

Factors in this Accident:
Overshoot LZ
Hard Landing
Injury
Unlicenced Instruction
AMBULANCE

Event Description:

I was asked to organize a paragliding trip for four friends (all has P2 or above rating with solid flying experience from 8 months to 2 years) at 23-27/4 to Puli, Taiwan as a tourist guide and instructor on puli flying site . Upon arrival at the flying site we first stopped to have a look at the landing site, [at our request] and I showed everyone what is important to know for flying once on top of the take off site. I explained local rules for take off and landing as well as giving briefing of the site. On day one, we have two good flights, especially in the afternoon when the conditions where more smooth. On day two, we arrived on the take off site around 10am, the wind was weak although enough to take off and a chance to stay up. [Injured Pilot] took off just before [Other Pilot #1] and could not stay up and therefore went down to bottomland where he unfortunately misjudged the landing and had too much height, [the last thing I recall is the sound of my vario as I hit a thermal low to the ground whilst on final approach] to avoid a power line at the end of the landing zone he turned around and went downwind, as he tried to turn back into the wind at low altitude he crashed into the ground and injured himself on the right hand side of the body. [the GPS plot from my vario shows that I had completed 3/4 of the turn back into wind when I hit the ground on the edge of the landing strip - descent rate for the duration on the turn was just under 2 m/s] Most of the impact was on the shoulder which became dislocated; he also lost memory of the incident at that time being. [Other Pilot #2] who was in the air watching the incidence came straight down and landed about 5-6 minutes after [injured Pilot]. Once [Other Pilot #2] realized it was serious he called me on the radio to call an ambulance. We stopped all activities and sent him to hospital.

Heath status : He had one shoulder and one finger dislocated , broken ribs, He stayed in hospital in Taiwan for 1 day and HK 4 days .After treatment in Taiwan and operation for the shoulder in HK when he returned, he left hospital 3 days after and stayed back home for rest now. He is okay. I have visited him in the hospital and keep him update with me on his health status. He is getting recovering quickly and expected to be fully recovered in 3 months from the date of completion of operation.

My action plan to this accident: Review the facts and exanimated with all the fellows. In the group of 4 pilots, 3 are well skilled and no problem to handle all flying techniques. [Of the four pilots, one had 2+ years of experience and the other three, including me, all had 8 months experience] But the injured one may need bit more of safety guidance and training before flying again especially when he goes to new site in other country.

How to improve: Pilots who are in same flying level and experience should be put in the same group. Weaker pilot may not be suitable to join overseas paragliding trip unless his flying techniques and experience was strengthen. [See my comments above - 3 out of 4 of us have almost exactly the same level of experience and flying hours.] For the safety on site, , one instructor shall be on the take off area, one coach assistant at landing area if that is a training. However, the purpose of travel this time to Taiwan with other four pilots was mainly like a holiday trip, nothing involved with training workshop since they are certificated pilots. But of course, as I am an instructor as well as a tour guide, I have responsibility to keep the fellows safe and provided all site introduction, safety guidelines to them and watched them take off and landing all the way through. I gave my best instructions to them and they all understood and managed very well except one. If something needed to be done better, the only thing is one instructor / site guidance should be provided on the landing site to watch and give better instruction for pilots landing.

[This was my first experience of flying in active thermal conditions and the key lesson for me will be to think about alternative landing options should conditions near the ground be difficult - it would seem that I left the decision to abort the landing and try an alternative approach until too late. Another contributory factor was probably my reluctance to apply too much brake near the ground for fear of initiating a stall - this was my second day on a new glider and on the previous day I had been cautious on all of my landings using the full length of landing strip - had I been more confident of the glider's stall point I may have been able to apply more brake and land during my initial approach.]

Signed [Instructor]

Committee Response: (if any )

27 April 2015 Due to multiple training accidents, this accident has been reported to USHPA for investigation.
15 May 2015 Injured Pilot has [added notes] to the instructors version

Committee Action: (if any )

USHPA subsequently revoked the instructors instructing Licence due to multiple student injury and concerns over qualifications

Attached Files: CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE LARGER VERSION