From: jose maria carrion albal
To: Apco Aviation
Muchas gracias, estoy muy contento con la Swift de apco. Un saludo y seguir trabajando así amigos.
(Thank you very much, I am very happy with the Apco Swift.  Friendly Greetings and keep up the good work)

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Swift Harness

HI Jonathan,
Thanks that’s great. I’ve been in touch with them.
Superb harness by the way, best I’ve owned!
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Great Harness!!!

I could Sleep in my Swift!
Thanks Apco!!!
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Swift Harness

From: “Surfair”
To: Apco Aviation
Sent: Saturday, March 14, 2009 11:49 AM
Subject: One more life saved by Mayday

Hello Apco Factory,

One of your Mayday 18 saved one of my customers. Two days ago, he was flying in the Pyrénées, hard conditions, on lee side, violent collapse and instant rotation with dive, at 60 m from the ground ! He throwed his rescue and landed soft and safe (all in flight 103 kg)… Nothing dramatic, just another story, thanks to the Mayday.

Fly safe,
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One more life saved by Mayday

From: Andrew Craig
To: Apco Aviation
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:34 PM
Country: uk

Just a quick note to say thanks; last month I was flying over Bir, India, when a big accelerated collapse turned very quickly into a spiral dive with twisted risers. My Apco Mayday 16 popped out perfectly, and brought me down at a descent rate of about 5 metres per second. Considering I was flying with a total weight of 85kg, and landing at about 1700m above sea level, that was pretty good. Well done to Apco for designing and making it!
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I was flying over Bir…

From: Lev Manouvakhov 
To: Apco Aviation
Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2005 6:51 AM
Subject: Mayday Save

Hi Anatoly.

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 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
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Everything is fine

Date: January 3, 2005

Harness: APCO Contour
Protections: Yes
Helmet: Yes

Parachute: Yes (APCO May Day 18)

Boots: Yes
Glasses: Yes
Gloves: Yes


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.
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to never fly without a Mayday…

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,

and when the Mayday opened up above me…

Dear Anatoly,

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,

Claudia Riquelme
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Emergency in Flight

Mayday rescue 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 occurrence and we felt the need to share it with you and your readers.

Chris Muller’s girlfriend, Jackie, was flying Fiesta with Silhouette harness and Mayday 18 emergency parachute. It was a crowded day and a guest Swiss pilot, unfamiliar with site rules, collided mid-air with Jackie. Both pilots lost control of their gliders and the lines became entangled. The Swiss pilot could not find the handle of his emergency chute, so when Jackie deployed her Mayday 18, both pilots descended safely riding the one Mayday 18. Neither pilot suffered injury and the incident ended happily with only a few bruises and scratches – shaken, but safe. Even more incredibly, we received reports from a number of witnesses of an incident which occurred in Oludeniz, Turkey. Two Tandem pilots, flying with passengers had a mid-air and as a result 4 people descended to safety on one Mayday emergency parachute! WOW ! ! ! ! I believe these incidents are quite unique and prove the necessity and efficiency of emergency parachutes and underline the importance of having one.

Report As Received from Vincene Muller

I ordered some lines & risers for a Fiesta XS today. They were damaged during a ‘mid-air’ and reserve deployment yesterday. the pilot was Jackie, Chris’ girlfriend. it was her first thermal flight. Jackie is bruised and sore, but ok. As she was flying with a Silhouette Airbag & Mayday 18, I thought you might like to read a report from a spectator. Bruce Busby is a hang glider pilot with a little paragliding experience. last year he tumbled his hang glider and deployed so his observations are quite accurate. My observations of Monday’s excitement From: Bruce Busby Comments Hi all what an exciting Monday!!! You Paraglider pilots really know how get a crowd on their feet. (I wasn’t flying my HG or PG yesterday so I can say that!). 1st we had a Mid Air with Jackie and a foreign pilot. Jackie got her chute out with authority while the other pilot couldn’t find his deployment handle!!! Both were uninjured. Here’s my pilot’s observation on a few situations. Before anyone thinks I’m climbing up on my soapbox… you should know: I fly Hang Gliders and Paragliders. I’m a certified HG instructor and last year I threw my reserve after tumbling my Hang Glider in Chelan Washington.

Mid-Air: In my opinion, the sky was nearly empty, that mid air should have never occurred. Jackie was thermaling and climbing and seemed crowded by the other pilot. Pilots should leave a few gliders difference in height and 30-40 seconds in horizontal space to react to an un-expected turn or a collapse/recovery. The second pilot should have turned away and rejoined Jackie after she had a few more turns to climb out. Again, only my opinion. I was not intently watching the preclude to mid-air. I was however, intently watching after the mid air. Seeing that chute deploy was a great relief. Secondly in the mid-air the second pilot reported being unable to find his reserve handle and therefore was unable to deploy. WHAT??? Couldn’t find his chute??? WHAT??? Know where your handle is with you eyes closed! Reach for it at least once in each flight, look at it before launching and while flying. He may well owe his life to the deployment of Jackie’s chute. Had he not been tangled in her lines, he might have been very seriously hurt. Good throw Jackie! That chute came straight out! Trust me, on this. I knew where mine was and I didn’t see it before I had it out of my harness and in my hand. didn’t see it before I had it out of my harness and in my hand. I hope we all learn something from this. I hope the pilots contribute to this discussion so we can learn even more about what they experienced. Best of luck this week to all pilots, fly safe and have fun. Remember your skills may be rusty but the thermals this time of year are ripping. As one of my fellow Hang Gliding competitors said last week, Launching is optional, Landing is Mandatory.

Bruce Muller Windsports Ltd Box 2018 Cochrane, AB T4C 1B8 Canada

ph: (403) 932-6760 fax (403) 851-0737 email: website:

We did have another report of a similar incident 9 years ago when a mid-air accident in South Africa ended up with 2 pilots riding a single Mayday to safety, escaping any injury on landing. back to top back to letters from saved pilots.
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Mayday Rescue