Paragliding Instructor Dies in Mid-Air Collision with Hang Glider

A paragliding instructor tragically lost his life in a mid-air collision with a hang glider in Utah on Tuesday, according to local law enforcement. The incident occurred around 5 p.m. near the Salt Lake County Flight Park, a favored location for launching non-powered aircraft from a mountain slope to catch updrafts. The park is located in Draper, a suburb situated to the south of Salt Lake City.

The collision involved a tandem paraglider and a single hang glider, both of which had launched from the park. The crash resulted in a hard landing in a nearby area, as reported by Draper Police Lt. Mike Elkins on Tuesday. The paraglider pilot, identified as 44-year-old Joshua Ellison, succumbed to his injuries before he could be transported to a hospital.

A female passenger who was flying tandem with Ellison was critically injured and immediately rushed to the hospital. The hang glider pilot, on the other hand, managed to escape the accident with minor injuries. The identities of the female passenger and the hang glider pilot have not been disclosed.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation. According to the police, the weather conditions at the time of the incident were clear and mild. Ellison was a seasoned paraglider pilot with a strong connection to the local sports community.

Fellow paragliding instructor JD Cutler expressed his grief on Facebook, stating that losing friends in the paragliding community is one of the most challenging aspects of the sport. He remembered Ellison as a “salt of the earth kind of guy” and said that the community would never be the same without him.

Ellison was fondly referred to as “Captain Avery” by his friends. According to one of his fellow paragliders, Ellison became a tandem paragliding pilot to share the joy of flying with his wife, children, and friends.

The hang glider’s experience level is yet to be determined. A hang glider is a kite-like aircraft with a triangular shape, flown by a pilot who is suspended horizontally underneath. A paraglider, on the other hand, is an elongated parachute designed to glide with a pilot suspended in a seated position.

According to the US Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, there were five paragliding fatalities and three hang-gliding fatalities reported last year.