Let me elaborate on this a little more. I have been trying to write this
for a few weeks but keep putting it of because I am not sure what to write.
About a month ago, I landed at Bald Butte. I came in high over the LZ so
did "S" turns over the most Northern edge of the peach trees. When we had
launched the wind was west to northwest, now it was very north. I was about
30' above the ground heading east expecting that I could turn north west at
the east end of the LZ and land safely. I knew there would be turbulence
from the range station building.
Suddenly I got a very strong gust of wind from the west (behind me). I
leaned left, pulled a little on my left brake and started to turn. Just as
I moved in front of the last row of peach trees, I was hit by another gust
from the north and actually moved backwards. I went hands up and was
expecting my wing to dive forward but it didn't, I just dropped straight
down. The rear of my harness hit the branches of he tree behind me as I
fell. The branches actually pushed me forward a little as I dropped. I
hit the ground fairly hard, but also I landed on something on the ground
which twisted my foot to the inside. I heard a snap, it wasn't a branch,
it was something in my leg.
I fell to the ground, couldn't get up, and lost control of my wing. It
pulled back, the lines raked through the first tree, then between two trees,
the, the wing blew into one of the trees in the second row. After writhing
around in pain on the ground for a while, I took off my harness and hobbled
to my feet. I applied pressure up and down my leg and it didn't feel like
anything was broken but I was in a lot of pain so assumed I had either
snapped a muscle or a tendon.
I hobbled over the the parking lot waiting for some of my fellow paragliders
to come and help me get the wing down. There was no way I could do it
myself with my leg in this condition. A woman on a quad drove past on the
end of the field. Assuming she was the owner and wanting to make sure any
damage I did was paid for, I tried to flag her down. She didn't see me.
A few minutes later the farmers showed up, father and son, in two pickups.
The son seemed annoyed, the father furious. I apologized, told them about
our insurance, told them I personally would pay for the damage so that they
didn't have to wait for the insurance company, but nothing I said seemed to
appease them. I was in a lot of pain and not thinking very well, so my
conversation was desperate at best. Fortunately Dave showed up and started
talking to them. They got us some irrigation poles and angrily helped us
get the wing out of the tree.
Once the wing was out of the tree, we had knocked a lot of pears down. I
asked how much they felt the damage was so that I could mail them the money.
I handed them my card so they knew who I was. This still didnt seem to
help, they were still very angry. They refused money and just said to make
sure no one in the club hit their trees again. I am not sure how to do
I folded up my wing and started packing up. A few minutes later the son
came back and now he seemed much more angry than he was before. He said he
had thought about it and I had done damage to his fruit, his tree and wasted
his time. He said that there was a fruit stand down the road, run by his
wife, and I should go there and buy some stuff and "do what I thought was
I hobbled around and tried to count the pears on the ground. It seemed like
100-120 so I estimated 150 to be sure. But I don't know the price of pears.
Dave and I drove there and I hobbled in, with Dave. Between us we only had
about $80 in cash, I didnt think that was enough. I talked to his wife,
explained what I had done, told her it was about 150 pears, asked if $200
was enough while I handed her my credit card. She was very nice and said
she wouldn't take $200 for some pears. I tried and tried but she wouldn't
take the money. Finally she gave me the Fathers business card with mailing
address so I took it home and send him a check and a letter.
I told him that paragliders were good people, explained a lot of the charity
things we have done, and the assistance we had given farmers that let us use
their land, like digging mud buried fences and planting trees. I explained
that some of the people in our club live in his community and I imagine that
many of us buy his fruit. I told him we were honest people and tried to
make sure we never cost a farmer a penny due to our sport. I explained that
in all sports, sometimes accidents happen, but we carried insurance to make
sure that if we damaged anyone's property, we would pay for it.
He called me back a few days later. He explained that to him, these trees
were like an heirloom. This farm was given to him by his father and he
would be passing it on to his children. The trees take 7 years to grow
before they start bearing fruit, then they bear fruit for about 7 years. I
hit his tree during that 7 year period. He said he felt like I had broken
into his house and destroyed a valuable heirloom.
He asked me if there was some way that we could make sure that no one would
touch his trees again. He asked that maybe we could put a sign in cement on
launch to remind all the pilots not to even come close to his peach trees.
It would be good if we could put some notice on the website, in big red
writing or something. Unfortunately that is a very tight LZ, but we just
need to make sure that we do our "S" turns north of the trees, even if it
leaves us a bit short on landing area. I don't know if we can put a sign on
the top of the hill, I don't know whose land that is.
He said that he owned some land behind the fruit stand and we were welcome
to land there, but he was not sure about how we could navigate the power
lines. I looked at Google and it doesn't look like a promising solution.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 8:59 AM
To: CPC Groups
Subject: Re: CPC: So you had to land in crops:
When Patrick and I was retrieving Patricks wing from the fruit trees at Bald
Butte, earlier in the season, that was the farmers biggest beef. The thing
he worked hard to create was being destroyed. Even as appologetic as we
were and the offer of monetary compensation was of little consequence to the
effort, pride and joy the farmer put into that crop.
Its a hard lesson.
From: Reed Gleason <ree...@comcast.net>
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 5:44 AM
Subject: CPC: So you had to land in crops:
Paul Murdoch provided an insight at the Starthistle pilot's meeting:
Farmers naturally have an emotional attachment to their crops. You can't
just go, "Oh, hi dude. Sorry. Here's 20 bucks." You have to apologize, not
just for wasting food, but for destroying what he worked hard to create.
Keep that in mind and make a sincere apology.