The exhilarating activities draw millions of participants every year, but they come with inherent risks.
Air sports are thrilling activities that involve using an aircraft or another type of aerial vehicle for recreation or sport. Every year, millions of people across the world seek the thrill of skydiving, paragliding, hang gliding, parasailing, and more.
The United States Parachute Association (USPA) reports that over 350,000 people complete 3 million skydives in a typical year. The popularity of hang gliding and paragliding is also rapidly growing with 130,000 licensed participants and pilots worldwide, according to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). And few air sports are growing as quickly as drone racing, in which competitors pilot their own radio-controlled drones around specialty courses at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.
While air sports provide an exhilarating experience for participants, their inherently dangerous nature brings certain risks.
So, how safe are air sports?
When navigating an aircraft or aerial vehicle, small mistakes or equipment malfunction can have severe consequences. Failing to take proper safety precautions or neglecting to check the weather forecast increases the risk of an accident. Then, there is always a risk of mechanical failure as a result of, for example, poor equipment maintenance, which could lead to serious injuries or death.
Below are some of the most common types of accidents that can happen during air sports.
Accidents Due to Poor Judgment or Lack of Skill
One of the most common causes of air sports accidents is poor judgment or lack of skill.
For example, pilots may attempt maneuvers beyond their skill level, fly too close to an object or person, and cause an accident.
Similarly, skydivers may misjudge their distance from the ground or land in an unsafe area. It is important for anyone engaging in air sports to be aware of their own limitations and ensure they have adequate training before attempting any kind of maneuvers.
Accidents Due to Equipment Malfunction
Another common cause of air sports accidents is equipment malfunction. This could include anything from drone propellers not spinning correctly to wingsuit fabric tearing due to inadequate maintenance.
It is essential for participants to carefully check their equipment before every use and replace any parts that show signs of wear and tear to minimize the risk of an accident occurring due to faulty equipment. If the equipment is rented, the responsibility to provide a safe experience generally falls on the owner. The equipment maker may also be held liable should an accident occur as a result of a built-in flaw.
Accidents Due To Inclement Weather Conditions
Air sports are weather dependent and sensitive to wind speeds, rain levels, visibility conditions, and more. Not every day is suitable for flying drones or going paragliding.
High winds or heavy rain can make it difficult for pilots and skydivers alike to maneuver safely through the air, putting them in dangerous situations where they may collide with objects or people on the ground. Therefore, participants as well as companies that offer these activities, must pay close attention to local weather conditions before attempting any flight-related activity.
What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in an Air Sports Accident
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
If you’ve been injured during an air sport activity, seek medical attention immediately.
If a doctor or emergency medical personnel are not readily available, have someone call 911 for help. Even if you think your injuries are minor, getting checked out by a professional is always best for your peace of mind.
Document the Accident
If you can, document the accident with pictures or videos of the scene and any damages that may have occurred during it.
Make sure to include pictures of any injuries you sustained, as well as documents related to your insurance coverage or other legal paperwork that may be applicable in these cases. This can help with filing any claims or lawsuits down the line if needed.
Reach Out for Legal Counsel
If you have been injured in an air sports accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Having proper legal representation from the start can ensure any lawsuit is correctly filed and that you get the damages you deserve.
At Penney & Associates, our experienced team of injury lawyers is committed to providing the highest level of service. Contact us today for a free consultation.