BFL328 | 28.8.2017

Ben Dummett

from Australia26 years

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  • Date & Time: 28.8.2017, 11:40
  • Location: Paganella, Trento, Italy
  • Category: BASE Fatality
  • Object Type: Earth
  • Cause Of Death: Impact in terminal freefall
  • Clothing - Suit: Sukhoi 2Expert Wingsuit by Phoenix-Fly
  • Canopy: 245 OSP7 Cell - Vented by Atair Aerodynamics
  • Container: LD32 Pin by Adrenalin BASE
  • Packing & Setup: Slider Up BOC Vertical
  • Weather: Medium winds
  • Possible Factors: Burble from other jumper, Loss of speed-glide, Proximity flying

What do we believe happened?

Wind on ground: up-to 5km/h North
Wind on exit: up-to 10-15km/h North /(slightly from the left / slight updraft) Jumpers considered the conditions for the exit to be good.
Wind mid flight: unknown
Fly sight data shows that jumpers have flown this line previously with higher speed at the same Glide Ratio (GR). Previous flights had been flown in south winds with sunshine on the terrain.
Flightplan: The plan was to fly the high left line which included a flat no pull zone with no out to the right 41 seconds after exit. A discussion was had about the northerly head wind and that if the terrain was not flyable the plan was to make the decision early to peel out to the right before entering the no pull/no out section of the flight.
Ben had a steeper than usual exit. Ben's wingsuit inflates and begins flying at the 4.5 second mark after exit, followed by a straight flight for 3 seconds before initiating the left turn toward the high left ridge.
Jumper 2's wingsuit begins flying 3 seconds after exit and he immediately banks left toward the high ridge and overtakes Ben in flight.
It can be seen that Ben is lower, further right and slightly behind Jumper 2 during the flight. Ben comes into view of Jumper 2's Chest Camera and can been seen flying at a higher GR gaining altitude to make it over the ridge. As seen from flysight data Jumper 2 is at this stage flying at a high GR to make it over the same ridge. Rear Cam footage from Jumper 2 shows Ben flying at a high GR to fly over the ridge, he can be seen gaining altitude and flying behind and above to the left of Jumper 2 who's glide ratio at that exact moment was at 3.2 with a total speed of 152km/h. It was during this maneuver that Ben flew through the burble created by Jumper 2's wingsuit. At this moment Ben became unstable in flight and looses more groundspeed and can be seen to be trying to fly through it, he regains control of his wingsuit however this has dramatically decreased his groundspeed. Moments later the groundspeed eventually becomes too low and his wingsuit stalls and turns left and down into the trees, Ben impacted the terrain without deploying a parachute 47 seconds after exiting.
Speculative: In terms of factual evidence It is unknown weather the burble is the root cause of the accident or a causal factor. With Ben's already high GR and lower groundspeed it is hard to say whether or not he would have made it over the ridge had he not flown through a burble.
Previous wingsuit BASE flights Ben has done this season witnessed by people he has jumped with and by flysight data shows that Ben has consistently flown his SU 2 with high speed and energy converting this into a solid flare before a stable deployment. He was a competent and current BASE Jumper who understood the required flight characteristics for wingsuit BASE.
While flying flat terrain in a multi-way formation it is critical to be aware of the lead flyer's burble, your groundspeed and glide ratio and a decision to commit to the line instead of taking the 'out' before its too late.
Paganella is considered by most as a safe exit for experienced pilots. Please be aware when flying the high left line that there is a flat section with no out to the right if you are low over the terrain. Suit selection, weather / wind conditions and multiway flying all need to be considered and discussed before flying this line.


Missing something?

Can you help us with incident interpretation? We are interested in any details regarding personal experience, gear, weather conditions and any other circumstances related to the incident.

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