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David Pearson

Date: October 28, 2014 Nationality: American
Location: Soboba Flight Park, San Jacinto, CA USA
COD: Impact Ground
Ground Launching or Skiing: Ground Launching
Wing Type: Ozone Fazer 2 - 8.5m²
Wingloading: unknown
Age: 30
Experience: unknown
Beacon/Locator/Etc (Spot, inReach, Recco, GPS): unknown


30 year old pilot Dave Pearson of Los Angeles was killed while attempting to do so some barrel rolls. With around 1½ to 2 years pilot experience and having done the maneuvers many times before, on this flight his glider suffered a collapse at a critical moment which put him in to a locked-in spiral before crashing into the ground. The accident was reported at 10:15am by Riverside County Fire Department officials.

Below is Troy Hartman's official report to USHPA
      • The pilot was flying a Fazer2 8.5m. This was a new wing and his first flight on it. His current wing was a Fazer2 10m. The time of the flight was 10:10am and conditions were light with straight in winds of 2-3 mph. The pilot launched from 1500' agl and flew straight out for about 20 seconds, gaining a few hundred feet of clearance from the ground. Witnesses stated that at this point he made a slight left turn followed by an attempt at a barrel roll to the right. Witness accounts indicate that the wing went into an immediate, fully developed spin to the right with the inside half of the wing collapsed along the trailing edge. After approximately one turn of the
spin, the wing re-inflated and surged forward, immediately entering a spiral dive. This spiral dive remained until impact. The pilot died at the scene.

The pilot was wearing a wrist-mounted GoPro. No video was recovered from the camera since it was in photo mode. The photos on the memory card clearly
indicate that the pilot was adjusting the camera (likely to switch from photo to video mode) seconds before the loss of control.

Without clear video of the pilot and wing, no conclusion can be made as to what exactly happened. It can be surmised however that attempting an advanced maneuver within the first 20 seconds of flight on a new wing is a significant contributing factor. It is also likely that the pilot's diversion of attention to the camera compounded this somewhat.

The pilot was not wearing a reserve, which could have changed the outcome.


Details will follow after investigation.
  • If anyone has additional information, and images we can use for this entry, please contact us.

The List:
Speed Flying Fatality List

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In the interest of fairness and accuracy this List will present an inaccurate view when not taken in context. These listed events represent fatalities that have occurred over a period of time spanning 1999 to the present.

This List is not 100% accurate.
These reports change as new information becomes available.
Fatalities are not necessarily in order of their occurrence.

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