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----- Original Message -----
From: Carlos Fernandez
I pulled my 9 year old Mayday 16 in anger last month over Lake Annecy France, in a spin aboard Advance Sigma4.
I've never deployed before, but it did the business perfectly.
May 19, 2003 - sunny, cool Canadian Spring day. Nice flying conditions
We are used to receiving many reports of life-saving Mayday deployments in emergency situations, as there are quite a few Maydays in pilots harnesses by now.
However having Mayday 18 safely bringing down 2 pilots is a rare occurance and we felt the need to share it with you and your readers.
Click here to learn more...
I write you because I recently suffered an emergency in flight with my paraglider and had to throw my emergency parachute. It's an Apco Mayday 16 I think, which I bought about 7 years ago from my instructor and friend Jens Tannen, in Chile. Everything went fine, the chute opened and I'm ok here writing this email (I'm glad that the chutes really work!).
About the incident, I can tell you it was a massive collapse that made the glider disappeared behind me.
I was hanging from the open side so I couldn't use my weight to compensate, and the glider started a turn, the turn became a spin, the glider was actually spinning around me and I started sinking at a very high rate. I had no control over it anymore so I decided to deploy the parachute.
For some seconds I felt like a puppet, being thrown in all directions at high speed. It was so violent that I couldn't even move. At one moment I saw the parachute lines on my side and a moment later there was a soft pull on my shoulders and the world stopped spinning... The chute was open over my head and it took me safely down to the ground. It was windy and I fell on a slope, so I hit the ground with the upper part of my back, and hurt my neck. Nothing serious, I'm really happy that I'm ok and that the chute worked as it was supposed to. It was my first ride on a parachute.
I guess it would have opened faster should I had thrown it immediately as we are supposed to do once we have decided to deploy it, but when I saw the glider open I thought that it might recover normal flight... But no, it was worse than anything I've been through in 10 years of paragliding! I think my decission to throw the chute was right on the first place, only I should have done it faster. A lesson for the next time, if there's ever a next time...
Before the incident, I was thinking that maybe my chute was already too old but it was very relieving to see it fully inflated above my head when everything happened. Thanks for that!
Thanks for all and best regards,
From: Robert Shannon, Ireland
Date: January 5, 2005
I was in Turkey on SIV course last year and I had to emergency deploy my Mayday, I was in a very dangerous situation and when the Mayday opened up above me it was like the hand of god right there sent to save me, so a big thank you to all of you there and for producing such a wonderful reserve, its a real life saver.
thanks again, Robert.
From: GERARDO RODRIGUEZ, Argentina
Date: January 3, 2005
Harness: APCO Contour
Parachute: Yes (APCO May Day 18)
INCIDENT Or ACCIDENT:
Hour: 13 hs
Place and time of takeoff: Merlo 12.30 hs
Place : Merlo
Province : San Luis
Wind: N 10 Km
Number of flights at this place: 20
Description of the incident/accident:
The wing loose the pressure and asymmetric collapse (I don't remember percent) (right side). The wing accelerated and entered into a spiral dive ,the wing was vertical and the G force don't let me move. All this in a second. With a big force I move my arm upon the handle. I throw the Mayday in one movement. Because de spin force the opening was very fast (like an explosion), but the Mayday deployed perfectly. I fell over a big tree . I hang over the floor about 2 or 3 meters. I get down and I copy my GPS position with de radio. I was Ok, unharmed and the rescue teem spent about two hours to reach my position. I was in the middle of the wall of a deep gorge. The floor was about 45°. I could recover all my equipment and will have the Mayday repacked in no time to be ready again in case of need.
Origin of the incident: probably rotor produced because the NE wind. (wind of the other side of the mountain)
I now appreciate the necessity of good Mayday rescue chute more than ever before and would recommend for everyone to never fly without a Mayday.
From: Lev Manouvakhov
To: Apco Aviation
Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2005 6:51 AM
Subject: Mayday Save
Everything is fine.
But I've forgotten to thank you for the excellent design of the APCO's reserve - the MayDay .
The 12 years old MayDay-16 saved my friend's life ( he has 4 kids...).
The accident happened in Pemberton ( BC , Canada) on August 18, 2005:
Height - 2800 m (400 m over the peak).
Hook up weight - 100 kG.
After 2-3 collapses the wing (size 28, produced in 2002 ) twisted twice around the lines ( 720 deg ) and the glider went into very wild spiral dive.
Having descent 14 m/sec (vario showed later) the pilot did throw his reserve and landed on the very steep and very rocky side of the mountain.
The result is the following: the pilot had minor injuries, but he is alive!!!
Thank you again.
With best wishes, Leon