Title: MODIFIED THROTTLE-INSUFFICIENT MENTAL PREPARATION
Location: PARAMOTOR CITY, NM
Pilot weight (without motor): 240 US Pounds
Less Than 10 Hours Solo
Incident Detail Information
Type of Incident:
Collision with Terrain/Obstruction on Ground
Pilot Error and Mechanical Failure
Light (Less than 5 MPH)
Site Elevation: 5100 (feet above sea level)
Phase of Flight:
Purpose of Flight:
Safety Gear Used:
One-way Radio (Instructor to Student)
Damage to Pilot's Equipment:
Minor (Less than 20% of New Price)
Wing: GRADIENT GOLDEN II L
Motor: WALKERJET RR200, @70 POUNDS
Pilot/Passenger Injury Severity:
Minor Injury (No Hospital Visit)
Narrative: I had put a metal pin on my throttle trigger to act as a "cruise control" and it stuck the throttle on full at launch. I panicked and DID NOT THINK to use the kill switch or fly the wing and it started swinging from side to side while I was trying to unstick the throttle trigger with my pinky finger.
I left the ground in a big oscillation and then swung under the wing on to the dirt from 13 feet. The front wheel took most of the impact on the port side and then I rolled over (to starboard) on to the cage which crumpled the starbord side of the cage and the vertical mounts on the frame and the prop hit the dirt taking out all three blades.
I have some parts (cage, propeller, and front wheel fork, and maybe the entire frame) to replace but the engine is still fine.
Lots of lessons learned very expensively.
This was my third flight with a motor in three months, and I had had only one lesson with a USPPA instructor four months ago. While I had tested the cruise-control pin and kill switch myself on the ground, had not practiced or visualized the use of the kill switch.
I had also not tested my modification to the throttle trigger or the possible failure of it in the full-on position.
I have flown PG un-powered for 12 years and HG un-powered for 26 years, but experience with the wings and weather does not make up for my in-experience with all the mechanical things. The books, videos, and friends I consulted before strapping in to a motor all said "the throttle can stick full-on" at some point, but my last thought before yelling "clear" was not "what if it sticks this time?".
No photo on file.