An air accident report into the death of a man who was flying a paramotor on Gormanston Beach, Co Meath, in June 2016, has found the man suffered severe head injuries when his equipment crashed into shallow water.
A paramotor is essentially a wing-shaped parachute from which is suspended a propeller-powered chair and harness.
According to the Air Accident Unit of the Department of Transport the pilot brought the paramotor, an Ozone Speedster 28, to the beach in the back of his four-wheel drive. He took off from the beach, flying out to sea before travelling north and south parallel to the coast.
Twists and turns
A number of witness statements said the pilot successfully performed a number of twists and sharp turns including a figure 8, before the paramotor banked to the right and continued turning that way before going into a downward spiral and hitting the water, about 150m off shore. The Air Accident Unit noted a witness comment that the water at that point was about 2½ft deep.
In assessing the causes of the crash the Air Accident Unit noted the paramotor’s maximum recommended weight was 125kg, while the weight on the day was 140kg.
The report noted the pilot who was experienced with UK qualifications and training in the UK and Spain may have added additional weight to increase stability.
The report made several recommendations to the effect that paramotor and hang-gliding associations should consider an educational programme “for all involved in paramotoring, to stress the importance of operating all equipment within the limitations laid down by the manufacturer”.