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1 killed, 1 injured in paraglider collision in Chiba

15 Comments

One man was killed and another injured following a paraglider crash at an acrobatic air display in Noda, Chiba Prefecture, on Sunday.

According to police, Hideto Nakajima, 53, and Akihide Kubishiro, 58, were flying powered paragliders over Noda Sports Park in front of 150 onlookers at around 9:30 a.m. as part of the Noda Air Festival 2011 at the time of the incident.

TV Asahi reported that Nakajima attempted to turn his paraglider, at which point he collided with Kubishiro who was flying alongside him. Both paragliders then lost control and crashed into the ground. Both men were rushed to hospital, where Nakajima died two hours later. Kubishiro sustained several broken ribs, TV Asahi reported.

No other casualties were reported. Police are continuing to investigate the exact cause of the accident.

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15 Comments
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Well there's a Darwin moment.

Sad the guy lost his life, but I guess they were doing what they loved.

-10 ( +0 / -9 )

nanda - paragliding surely beats sitting in front of a computer and making pointless comments about Darwin...RIP to the pilot,

0 ( +5 / -4 )

How high were they? Does anyone kno?

-1 ( +1 / -1 )

Do you mean physically or Spice wise Al-san?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Ditto ebisen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I ment literally in meters or kilometers or miles or whatever. Anyone who thought otherwise should give themselves a minus.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Police are continuing to investigate the exact cause of the accident.

Yes... yes. I'm sure they are.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wasn't there just another paragliding accident last month that fractured a little girl's skull?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Paragliders shouldn't fly in close formation.

Wind strength can cause them to collide.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hmmm... you guys have given me minus SEVEN! That's pretty harsh.

Anyway I stick by it. Maybe they were friends, but if you pull a turn suddenly when you are flying alongside someone, (as the article says) what do you expect? You're gonna hit. And I am sure it happened in a split second. Oops... and that was it. Do something really stupid and instantly regrettable. Darwin moments happen like that.

Boo points? Sure, bring 'em on.

(But I am glad in this case that the sensible one survived.)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Formation flying is risky anytime and in any aircraft. Doing it in paragliders seems foolish because they are more susceptible to wind gusts and up/downdrafts. I once got a chance to do some close-in formation flying in a T-34 Mentor and I still remember the stress of maintaining position as we passed through updrafts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Fadamor and whiskeysour - when two aircraft are flying in close formation, they're affected by the same gusts and changes in wind direction at almost exactly the same time. An updraft that hits one will hit both. This applies to paragliders as much as any other aircraft.

I've piloted prop planes in close formation (<10 feet wingtip-to-wingtip) and found that it's not hard, though the concentration required will take it out of you. After an hour of it, my shirt was soaked and I was ready for a nap.

Based on not much information in the article, I would guess that one of the pilots lost his place in the choreography. Very sad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Your comment is basically true for fixed wing aircraft where the airspeed usually dominates any crosswind component, but powered paragliders are S L O W and light. Crosswind gusts are going to affect them much more than they would a fixed-wing aircraft and could easily exceed forward airspeed. As you point out, however, there is not much information on the crash and speculation is pretty much pointless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Right I am quite tired of reading some of these comments posted by people who do not take a few moments to think about what is reported.

Let's see here:

Police are continuing to investigate the exact cause of the accident.

Some people ask why the investigation?

Other people assert that the first flyer, Nakajima-san, deserves a darwin award...

Well, let me throw a wrench into your works.

1) They were flying in formation. 2) Nakajima-san turned. The other pilot did not. 3) We do not know if their plan called for turn at this point or not. 4) We do not know if Nakajima-san turned on time or if the other pilot failed to turn in time 5) We do not even know if Nakajima's craft suffered a mechanical failure 6) Taking it even further, we do not know if Nakajima-san suffered a heart attack, or other type of attack causing him to twitch at the controls, and crashing his craft.

There are a lot of things still unknown about this event, hence the police are investigating. What we do know though, is that some people decided to assume and judge immediately without all the facts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

bonword, your post makes sense. Thanks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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