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,