Incredible Hang Gliding Parachute Video

To the folk at FREE FLIGHT thank you for saving my life. This flight started as a simple training exercise for new Aerobatic judges. We had 10 pilots doing demos for the judges. Four were newbies at aero. The pilot before me # 4 one of the new aero pilots had blown his maneuvers' and did not deploy. I did not realize that at the time and only saw a glider down with emergency personal at the site. (Fire engine and flashing lights) thinking the fastest way out of the sky was to do my routine.

I started my performance -- 3 spins left into 3 spins right into a head on to the judge’s loop followed by an unplanned parachute deployment. I had stressed to the new aero pilots to clear their chute handle after launch and to make the move with their hand to familiarize them self's. I stress they were pushing themselves and their equipment beyond the certified limits and if need, they had to know where the handle was. I did my normal look, clear, and reach to make sure I knew where the chute was as I fly several different harnesses. Then put it out of my mind as I cleared the box , started smoke and concentrated on the routine ahead. the routine went as planned through the first to spin maneuvers then I set up for my head on for the judges. As I let the bar out the left side wire broke. I expected the glider to fold then as this had happen to me long ago. the glider held and I pushed the bar out to clear myself to throw. This caused the glider to fail to the extreme.

People ask what were you thinking. My practice and previous reaching made the move automatic. I didn't think till the chute was in my hand when I hesitated to determine clear air and throw against the spin. All that was mute as the glider had gutted itself and I was in free fall. I threw as the wreckage came around and hit my arm resulting in a short throw. The extra bridle as a result fell below me I fell over the bridle just as the chute opened causing several broken ribs and knocking the air out of me. The rest of the ride was uneventful. I landed in high bushes. I got back in to harness for protection from the branches. Help arrived within minutes.

Sincerely,

Bill Soderquist
July 29, 2010

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