Letters from Pilots Saved by MayDay
From: Jeffrey Hillman
To: apco@apcoaviation.com through Carlos Rafael
Sent: Tuesday , Nov 18, 2006 15:52
Subject: Reserve deployment

Hi Carlos, Just to let you know that my purchase of a Mayday 18 earlier this year turned out to be a good idea. I flew into a dusty at the De Aar fun comp at about 70m and suffered two major assymetrics; the second one being on the side that I had weight shifted to in order to counter the first collapse and so the glider (Aspen 2)then went into a very strong spiral dive. I realized in a somewhat detached fashion that I did not have the height to recover so I threw my rag. I was amazed at how quickly I felt the reassuring "jerk" and even more so at how soon I landed afterwards, fortunately out of my harness and in a good PLF
position. I suffered no injury in spite of landing on the side of a road embankment and having no time to collapse the glider. Witnesses on launch about 400m away reckon that the chute deployed sideways (because of the g force that I was experiencing) and that as it swung above me, I landed! Height of deployment was less than 50m so there is always a last chance! Do I now get a low save T-Shirt!!!!

Kind regards, Jeff

Professor Jeffrey C Hillman
School of Mechanical, Industrial & Aeronautical Engineering University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

From: Matthew Key
To: apco@netvision.net.il
Sent: Tuesday , July 27, 2006 8:34 AM
Subject: mayday

Dear Sirs

Your Mayday reserve is a beautiful piece of equipment. It did everything as advertised and saved my life this weekend - THANKS!!!!!

Matthew Key

From: Carlos Fernandez
To: apco@netvision.net.il
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 11:59 PM
Subject: mayday

Dear Sirs

I would like to report you the use of a Mayday emergency parachute Series 424787. It happened on June 1st. 2004 during a flight from the top of the Pichincha mountain in Quito Ecuador. The altitude was 3.800 m at 11h15 in the morning. An irregular wind was blowing from South creating a rotor of which I was aware. However I never realized its strength and after twenty seconds in the air I started to suffer a great turbulence which provoked my wing to go out of control. I tried to recover it but the air conditions were so bad that every effort I made was useless. At that moment I had 30 meters of altitude above the ground and I made use of the emergency system. It opened quite fast and I had a few seconds left to recognize the situation and act accordingly. I landed on my back and putting aside a little neck pain I am OK and despite I am an 11 years experienced pilot I am grateful that I always use an emergency parachute.

Carlos Fernández

From: Justin Kyllo
To: apco@netvision.net.il
Sent: 01 October, 2000 07:56
Subject: Reserve deployment

I just wanted to thank APCO aviation for the excellent design of the mayday reserve. This summer while flying in Golden BC Canada, I had gotten into a situation where my glider went into a spin after I flew low over some cliffs near the top of Mt.7. There was no time to sort out the glider, so I threw my reserve for the first time in a real life situation. I did not land in any trees but in a clearing. I landed completely unscathed with not even a scratch. The APCO mayday saved my life! It took 3 and a half hours to hike down to get help, but I was soon with my wife and three children at our campground. I know that they are thankful for the performance of the mayday. I could see the tears on my wife’s cheeks when she saw me after the incident( she watched it happen from a distance ). I would recommend an APCO reserve to anyone looking to get a new one or getting into the sport. I bought mine from my instructor Jim Reich of Fly BC airsports of Vancouver BC Canada. As I am just getting into tandem instruction I will definitely try to find a tandem reserve made by APCO.

Thank you for a great product! It saved my life.

Regards, Justin Kyllo
North Vancouver BC Canada

Dear APCO,

I pulled my 9 year old Mayday 16 in anger last month over Lake Annecy France, in a spin aboard Advance Sigma 4.

I've never deployed before, but it did the business perfectly.

Many Thanks,

Dan Ashworth

Mayday rescue

May 19, 2003 - sunny, cool Canadian Spring day. Nice flying conditions

We are used to receiving many reports of life-saving Mayday deployments in emergency situations, \as there are quite a few Maydays in pilots harnesses by now.

However having Mayday 18 safely bringing down 2 pilots is a rare occurrence and we felt the need to share it with you and your readers.

Canadian Story in a PDF

Dear Anatoly,

I write you because I recently suffered an emergency in flight with my paraglider and had to throw my emergency parachute. It's an Apco Mayday 16 I think, which I bought about 7 years ago from my instructor and friend Jens Tannen, in Chile. Everything went fine, the chute opened and I'm o k here writing this email (I'm glad that the chutes really work!).

About the incident, I can tell you it was a massive collapse that made the glider disappeared behind me. I was hanging from the open side so I couldn't use my weight to compensate, and the glider started a turn, the turn became a spin, the glider was actually spinning around me and I started sinking at a very high rate. I had no control over it anymore so I decided to deploy the parachute.

For some seconds I felt like a puppet, being thrown in all directions at high speed. It was so violent that I couldn't even move. At one moment I saw the parachute lines on my side and a moment later there was a soft pull on my shoulders and the world stopped spinning... The chute was open over my head and it took me safely down to the ground. It was windy and I fell on a slope, so I hit the ground with the upper part of my back, and hurt my neck. Nothing serious, I'm really happy that I'm ok and that the chute worked as it was supposed to. It was my first ride on a parachute.

I guess it would have opened faster should I had thrown it immediately as we are supposed to do once we have decided to deploy it, but when I saw the glider open I thought that it might recover normal flight... But no, it was worse than anything I've been through in 10 years of paragliding! I think my decision to throw the chute was right on the first place, only I should have done it faster. A lesson for the next time, if there's ever a next time...

Before the incident, I was thinking that maybe my chute was already too old but it was very relieving to see it fully inflated above my head when everything happened. Thanks for that!

Thanks for all and best regards,

Claudia Riquelme

From: Robert Shannon, Ireland
Date: January 5, 2005

I was in Turkey on SIV course last year and I had to emergency deploy my Mayday, I was in a very dangerous situation and when the Mayday opened up above me it was like the hand of god right there sent to save me, so a big thank you to all of you there and for producing such a wonderful reserve, its a real life saver.

thanks again,

Date: January 3, 2005

Harness: APCO Contour
Protections: Yes
Helmet: Yes

Parachute: Yes (APCO May Day 18)

Boots: Yes
Glasses: Yes
Gloves: Yes


Hour: 13 hrs
Place and time of takeoff: Merlo 12.30 hs
Place : Merlo
Province : San Luis

Wind: N 10 Km

Number of flights at this place: 20

Description of the incident/accident:

The wing loose the pressure and asymmetric collapse (I don't remember percent) (right side). The wing accelerated and entered into a spiral dive ,the wing was vertical and the G force don't let me move. All this in a second. With a big force I move my arm upon the handle. I throw the Mayday in one movement. Because de spin force the opening was very fast (like an explosion), but the Mayday deployed perfectly. I fell over a big tree . I hang over the floor about 2 or 3 meters. I get down and I copy my GPS position with de radio. I was Ok, unharmed and the rescue teem spent about two hours to reach my position. I was in the middle of the wall of a deep gorge. The floor was about 45°. I could recover all my equipment and will have the Mayday repacked in no time to be ready again in case of need.

Origin of the incident: probably rotor produced because the NE wind. (wind of the other side of the mountain)

I now appreciate the necessity of good Mayday rescue chute more than ever before and would recommend for everyone to never fly without a Mayday.

From: Lev Manouvakhov
To: Apco Aviation
Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2005 6:51 AM
Subject: Mayday Save

Hi Anatoly.

Everything is fine.
But I've forgotten to thank you for the excellent design of the APCO's reserve - the MayDay .

The 12 years old MayDay-16 saved my friend's life ( he has 4 kids...).

The accident happened in Pemberton ( BC , Canada) on August 18, 2005:

Height - 2800 m (400 m over the peak).
Hook up weight - 100 kG.
After 2-3 collapses the wing (size 28, produced in 2002 ) twisted twice around the lines ( 720 deg ) and the glider went into very wild spiral dive.
Having descent 14 m/sec (vario showed later) the pilot did throw his reserve and landed on the very steep and very rocky side of the mountain.
The result is the following: the pilot had minor injuries, but he is alive!!!

Thank you again.
With best wishes, Leon

From: Andrew Craig
To: Apco Aviation
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:34 PM
Country: UK

Just a quick note to say thanks; last month I was flying over Bir, India, when a big accelerated collapse turned very quickly into a spiral dive with twisted risers. My Apco Mayday 16 popped out perfectly, and brought me down at a descent rate of about 5 metres per second. Considering I was flying with a total weight of 85 kg, and landing at about 1700m above sea level, that was pretty good. Well done to Apco for designing and making it!

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