Forums: BASE Jumping: BASE Technical:
Catastrophic UL WS in-flight failure
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outrager
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May 26, 2019, 11:52 PM
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Catastrophic UL WS in-flight failure Can't Post

We recently had a sudden & catastrophic ultralight wingsuit fabric failure about 8 seconds after exit. The jumper was setting up for a committed proximity line. Luckily the suit split up in clean air before the start of the line, putting the jumper into an unstable head-down position followed by an uneventful deployment.

The suit was made from Gelvenor ZP fabric (its heaviest paragliding grade) by a small company in Russia, and had a few dozen BASE flights on it. Apparently there were only 2 made of that fabric, and the other suit has been recalled.

See the photos attached.

bsbd! Yuri.
Attachments: 1.jpg (624 KB)
  2.jpg (813 KB)

MrAW

May 27, 2019, 4:04 AM
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Re: [outrager] Catastrophic UL WS in-flight failure [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow. Would have been an interesting experience for that jumper.

DFR

May 27, 2019, 5:09 PM
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Re: [outrager] Catastrophic UL WS in-flight failure [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow! Glad he is ok.

Interesting the way it ripped, was it cut along the bias so it teared on the grain? As in defective fabric? Or was it stitched in a zig zag pattern there and ripped on the stitching? Any previous damage to the suit? Is this a fabric used by other manufacturers on their suits?

DFR

Aug 5, 2019, 11:43 PM
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Re: [outrager] Catastrophic UL WS in-flight failure [In reply to] Can't Post

DFR wrote:
Wow! Glad he is ok.

Interesting the way it ripped, was it cut along the bias so it teared on the grain? As in defective fabric? Or was it stitched in a zig zag pattern there and ripped on the stitching? Any previous damage to the suit? Is this a fabric used by other manufacturers on their suits?

Any update on this?

outrager
Moderator
Aug 6, 2019, 12:50 PM
Post #5 of 5 (793 views)
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Re: [DFR] Catastrophic UL WS in-flight failure [In reply to] Can't Post

DFR wrote:
Any update on this?

Yes. They (the jumper, base/rigger friends and the manufacturer) have looked at it in detail. The conclusion was that the tear has started from a weak & worn out spot where the chest strap buckle has been rubbing on the fabric (chest strap inside the suit, base style), and progressed from there on in zigzag rip-stop pattern. This worn out spot was visible on some previous photos of the suit. There was no needle damage on the fabric or any other manufacturing defects.

Cheers! Yuri.


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