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Nicolas Kalin

Date: October 11, 2009 Nationality: unknown
Location: Murren to Stechelberg, Switzerland (46”33’26 / 7”54’06)
COD: Electrocution / Cardiac Arrest
Ground Launching or Skiing: Ground Launching
Wing Type: Swing Spitfire - 7m² Prototype
Wingloading: 12.2 kg/m²
Age: 21
Experience: unknown
Beacon/Locator/Etc (Spot, inReach, Recco, GPS): unknown


Nicolas Kalin [21] was speedflying from Muerren to Stechelberg with his friends on that Sunday. A flight he did many times before. The only difficult thing on the flight is the take off, which he did fine, his friends said, who took off after him. Nicolas was the first time using a helmet camera from his brother. It was also his first flight on the new prototype glider, which he also borrowed from his brother. He had rided and footlaunched another 7m2 prototype from his brother before, without telling him. So he is probably the first person ever to foot launch a such a small wing. After take off he flew along the famous cliffs of Mürren.
He then separated himself from the wall to glide to the landing zone with enough altitude for a high speed landing. He must have realized to have to much altitude for a 180° Hookturn landing, so he probably choose to fly another barrel role, which he loved to fly. This is when he got twisted. It is believed that he didn`t spin the glider, because he was a good pilot. It is more likely he got twistet as he entered the barrel role, because the glider turned so fast, that his body couldn`t follow the movement and got twisted. It is important here to understand that a 7m2 wing has really short line and is very reactive and twichy to fly with such a high wingload! One has never flew this wing, will never understand how aggressive this wing is. It turns already as you turn your head… If you give it a kick with your leg and a strong input with the brake to enter the barrel role, it is very import to actively follow the gliders movement on this particular glider. Nicolas glider probably started turning then because of an unequal position in the harness, due to the linetwist. Nicolas was then seen spiraling down, without any reaction to stop it. He was unlucky to be straight over the only powerline in the valley, instead over the forest next to it. He must have hit the powerline with a lot of speed. Due to the fact it is a small powerline there, the wires are close together. This made it possible that his body did a short circuit with two wires. He was flying with the normal speedflying equipment, without a reserve parachute. This would most likely have saved his life. He received severe burnings from powerlines, and later died of a cardiac arrest in hospital. Nicolas was rather a scared person, than someone to push the limits. He didn`t like taking risks and always tried to not get hurt when doing sports. But he probably underestimated the risks of that sport, because he was still very young.
Speedflying and Speedriding is probably a lot more dangerous when you are young! Nicolas left behind a lot of friends suffering, also a beautiful young woman; his girlfriend. His death let the local speedflying community change forever.


Details will follow after investigation.
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The List:
Speed Flying Fatality List

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