Friday, May 13, 2022

Paramotor: Fatal accident occurred May 13, 2022 in Beach Lake, Wayne County, Pennsylvania

Jeffrey R. Chorba
November 10, 1969 - May 13, 2022



Jeffrey Ronald Chorba, 52, of Beach Lake, died unexpectedly on Friday, May 13, 2022 in an accident.

Born on November 10, 1969 in Binghamton, New York, he is the son of Eileen (Cosgrove) Chorba of Beach Lake and the late Ronald M. Chorba who died January 16, 2022.  He was a graduate of Honesdale High School, class of 1987.  He attended Temple University for Landscape Architecture and later continued his education at Luzerne Community College and was certified by Microsoft.

Jeff began working at Woodloch where he was the manager of landscaping.  He later started his own business, Chorba Consulting Inc., helping many with their computer needs.  Jeff profoundly impacted the lives of others through his desire to help those in need, both personally and professionally. He was proud to donate his services and time helping many non-profit organizations in the area.  He was a mentor to students who were interested in a career in information technologies through school job shadowing programs.  He also supported the Wayne County Employment Coalition helping those with disabilities.

A man of many interests, Jeff enjoyed kayaking and was certified by the National Canoe Safety Patrol and would volunteer patrolling Skinners Falls.  He was also certified in Tower Climbing Safety and Rescue with Com Train LLC.  He enjoyed riding motorcycles and was a member of Baer’s Drill Team. He also enjoyed rappelling, snowboarding, playing drums, photography and appreciated fine food and wine.  Most of all, Jeff’s passion was flying his paramotor and sharing his love of the sport.  He found peace flying through the skies.  Just recently he began the process of getting his pilot’s license.

He was a member of the Welcome Lake Fire Department where he was the past treasurer and a member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Honesdale where he served on their finance committee.

In addition to his mother, Jeff is survived by his brother, Stephen Chorba and wife Michelle of Beach Lake; his sister, Ellen Wojtowicz and husband Mark of Catawissa; nieces and nephews, Corey, Emily and Mary Chorba and Jordon Wojtowicz; several aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, May 20th at St. John the Evangelist Church, Honesdale at 10 am.  Interment will follow in Indian Orchard Cemetery, Honesdale.  Friends may visit Hessling Murray Funeral Home, 428 Main St. Honesdale, on Thursday, 4 to 7.

Memorial contributions can be made to St. John the Evangelist Parish, 414 Church St. Honesdale, PA 18431 or Welcome Lake Fire Dept., 99 Cosgrove Rd., Beach Lake, PA 18405.


Jeffrey Ronald Chorba
Cherry Ridge Airport (N30)

Earlier this week:  "Well that was neat! First day flying this girl around. I will still take paramotors over planes any day! My flight instructor wants me to teach him Paramotors!" - Jeff Chorba



WAYNE COUNTY, Pennsylvania — In Wayne County, authorities confirm a man died after his paramotor crashed in a field.

The powered paraglider went down in a field just off of Route 652 near Beach Lake. 

State Police and first responders received a 911 call just before 8 a.m. when the crash was discovered.  

According to the Wayne County coroner, 52-year-old Jeffrey Chorba, from the Beach Lake area, died in the crash.  

After two hours of investigating the scene, pieces of the paramotor were taken away on a rollback.

We spoke with some people off-camera area who knew Chorba and said they often saw him flying around in his paramotor.  

Employees at Cherry Ridge Airport near Honesdale also said Chorba was a paramotor instructor and had a lot of experience with the powered paraglider

They also said Chorba took interest in other forms of aviation.

According to a post on his Instagram page, Chorba just took his first flying lesson in an airplane at Cherry Ridge Airport earlier this week.

According to Federal Aviation Regulations, an ultralight aircraft is one that:

has only one seat
Is used only for recreational flying
Does not have a U.S. or foreign airworthiness certificate
If unpowered, weighs less than 155 pounds
If powered:
Weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight, excluding floats and safety devices
Has a maximum fuel capacity of 5 U.S. gallons
Does not exceed 55 knots/63 mph airspeed at full power in level flight
Has a power-off stall speed that does not exceed 24 knots/28 mph airspeed or less.


   
Photo contributed from Jeff Chorba's Facebook page 



HONESDALE, Pennsylvania — On May 13, 2022 at approximately 7:50 am, the Pennsylvania State Police Troop R in Honesdale received a 911 transfer call from the owner of a  property near 27 Barracuda Blvd. in Beach Lake, Berlin Township, Wayne County. The caller related that they discovered a paramotor down in a field on their property.

Members from PSP Honesdale responded to the scene and identified the operator, Jeffrey Ronald Chorba, 52 years of age from Beach Lake, PA. Wayne County Coroner Edward R. Howell and Deputy Coroners arrived on scene at 9:02 AM, and Coroner Howell pronounced Chorba dead at the scene at 9:12 AM.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The Wayne County Coroner's Office is scheduled to perform an autopsy on Monday.

Chorba was the founder of Chorba Consulting Inc., an IT company specializing in computers, servers and networking. He provided services for municipalities, companies and individuals throughout Wayne, Pike and Sullivan County. He was also an enthusiast of powered paragliders.

Chorba's father, Ronald Michael Chorba, passed away on January 16, 2022, age 75.


 



State police were investigating a fatal paramotor crash in Wayne County on Friday.

Pennsylvania State Police in Honesdale received reports of a 9-1-1 call made by the owner of a property along Barracuda Boulevard in the Beach Lake area. The owner related they had discovered a powered paraglider down in a field on their property, police said in a press release.

Troopers responded to the scene and identified the deceased operator of the craft as 52-year-old Jeffrey Ronald Chorba of Beach Lake.

Wayne County Coroner Edward Howell and Deputy Coroners pronounced Chorba dead at the scene at 9:12 a.m. The death is still under investigation. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Beach Lake is a rural village in Berlin Township, Wayne County.

According to Wayne County Emergency Management Services Assistant Coordinator Pete Hooker, authorities contacted the Federal Aviation Administration in regards to the crash. He said the FAA would not be investigating the incident due to the size of the craft.

State police will be conducting the investigation of the crash. The site was cleared by noon on Friday.

The last fatal aircraft crashes in the Poconos occurred in 2019 on the West End of Monroe County, and in 2017 in Wayne County.

A minor crash happened earlier this year at Cherry Ridge Airport near Honesdale, when a pilot's plane ran off the runway.

41 comments:

  1. Early morning flight in calm air, or found the next morning? If this experienced flyer lost his life in calm wind conditions, it really should give pause to those who partake of PPM activity.

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    1. I'm guessing the reasons will never go public so doesn't hurt sales like always money trumps safety.

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    2. Event promoters and sellers of PPG motor units should give potential buyers an in-air demonstration of pulling the handle to cut away a fouled canopy, following through with landing on a deployed reserve chute.

      Doing that should be a trained skill, same as autorotation landing practice for helicopter pilots. Seems especially important for tandem instructors to demo, just need to strap equivalent passenger weight on while qualifying.

      Might lose a few demo pilots, but gain a better community understanding that the reserve chute is useless down low and not something to expect salvation from as a safety backup if you never actually practice the move in the air.

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    3. Jeff, also known as this dude, was a trained professional and often appeared in Tucker Gott's YT channel, based on what Tucker said, it had to been the morning. this means that the sunrise could've ruined some visibility.

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    4. Since a death occurred the NTSB will NOT be swayed by any nickel and dime builders of a PMG.

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  2. I have 2500 hours in planes and 1200 skydives and I would not fly one of those paramotors or paragliders. Reason: The canopies they use are too unstable in even mildly turbulent conditions. Heck I've seen them collapse from aggressive pilot input on the steering toggles.

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    1. Sorry for my poor English grammar and I don’t want to be rude but your comment is very uneducated for a person with 2500 hours.
      The phrase “The canopies they use are too unstable” doesn't make any sense because it doesn’t exist a canopy of this kind.
      An inexperienced pilot could use the wrong wing for his skill level of for bad weather condition.
      A school level wing (A class) is an extremely safe wing and you need to make a HUGE mistake to be caught in a bad situation.

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    2. First, I have 2500 hours in AIRPLANES. Not paragliders. Both single and multiengine. Didn't claim to be an expert at all. But I have seen, with my own eyes, these things collapse in turbulence. Plus, with my skydiving experience, I know how much trouble you can get yourself into with a parachute.

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    3. I have witnessed horrible landings with fixed wings, they must all land that way... I have a parachute... so I know how a paraglider flies... For your experience you are very simple.

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    4. Presumably this pilot used a wing appropriate for his skill level of experience, was experienced enough to give instruction, was wearing a parachute, but had a fatal in spite of all that.

      Losing form/shape of the wing is the para-flyer's equivalent of an inflight structural failure. Maybe you will get a chute deployed from your unstable circumstances without fouling it and survive, but it isn't acting like a gliding aircraft while you give that backup plan a go, and you can't make it work at low AGL.

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    5. Seriously your judging PPG and you fly general aviation? How many been killed flying general aviation this year. The fact is all of it is risky and anyone who claims different other then airline travel is not being honest. You can reduce risk by managing it but even then its still way higher then other modes of travel. People should take a serious look at their life before they take to the air in GA, PPG, or whatever. Lot of new people who get an idea that they can full manage risk just not true. Look at the guy who was killed at the STOL drag even 5 children left without a father. Humans make mistakes and the fact is aviation doesn't forgive mistakes. Equipment sometimes fails lot of the times your one mistake away from death you just don't know it.

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    6. Accepting the higher risk of random death exhibited by this particular accident isn't supported by whataboutism using the STOL crash story of that inexperienced contestant losing control.

      ATV's were configured as trikes to begin with, but the high rate of tipover injuries saw them removed from the marketplace. The unstable nature of tricycle geometry tipping in turns was obvious to everyone. No debating that.

      Similarly, frameless bag canopy collapse tendencies in turbulence are obvious to anyone who doesn't refuse to acknowledge the problem as inherent in the design. Many more footy flyers will needlessly perish, and many of those will be well experienced in the activity, same as this accident's pilot. No debating that.

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    7. My point was that he had 5 kids why was he flying at all? ATV's still don't have the fatal rate of General Aviation. If the design is so bad with PPG why isn't the fatality rate much higher?

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    8. Mike-Smith First of all I'm not judging. Second of all this is NOT powered parachute gliding. It's paragliding.No engine.
      So that makes you're argument moot. I'm not judging, and I despise people who read things that aren't written. You're trying to put words in my mouth that I never said.
      Just read and respond to what's written and not what you think is written. That way you don't get all worked up over nothing.

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    9. Not to stoke you guy's debate, but this accident WAS a motorized flyer. One of the differences that jump out at you when viewing distress videos of non-motorized flyers is the huge emergency chute rigs they wear on their backs.

      It may be an unacknowledged fact that few to none of the powered flyers who get in trouble ever get a benefit from whatever reserve chute arrangement they substituted for the unpowered flyers' massive backpack rig.

      Do motorized flyers that have a canopy collapse just plummet to the ground? Where are videos showing successful landings of those flyers on their emergency chute? Maybe everyone is whistling past the weakness in the reserve chute implementation that resulted from the fan occupying the place where the reserve chute rig should go.

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    10. You all are missing the obvious. He had an emergency landing in a field. He more than likely face planted an that big old cage came slamming into the back of his neck breaking it. He could have also had a medical emergency while in air and passed out and crashed. Equipment failure isn't the most likely cause of his death as he's had many engine outs he's dealt with just fine. He wasn't a risky pilot, he kept at a decent altitude for just this reason

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    11. Face-planted on a trike? The comment section on this incident is totally trash, full of trolls and ignorant people :-(

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    12. As someone who sees the appeal of flying these devices, the suggestion that merely landing in a field (which should not be regarded as an emergency) could break one's neck is not encouraging. I respect the opinions of @av8rdav, based on experience with both aircraft and parachutes, over the rationalizations that are all too common.

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  3. @av8rdav: Exactly right.

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  4. Thousands have perished since frameless gliding began:
    https://ushga.aero/masters/index.php/pdmc/

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    1. 1000's have perished in fixed wing general aviation.

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    2. Reading the ushga article reveals an important distinction from fixed wing aircraft that is being overlooked by cavalier commenters.

      "Apparently, the fatal fault is inherent in the fundamental design concept of the soaring parachute. They collapse in perfectly normal atmospheric turbulence that other aircraft easily survive."

      Videos included in the ushga article provide insight for slow thinkers to absorb. Notice that every fatal footy flyer had the huge emergency-use parachute rig on their back, but believing in deploying as Plan B was as useless as Linus's blanket in those accident scenarios.

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    3. General Aviation has a fatality of 1 per 100k hours driving a vehicle has .063 fatality rate per 100k hours.

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    4. Since canopy collapse mimics structural breakup of a fixed wing aircraft, statistics for fixed wing aircraft inflight structural breakup occurrences provide a valid comparison, not the generalized overall accident rate.

      Fixed wing aircraft inflight structural breakup occurrence rate is a very small sub-share of General Aviation fatalities. If making an automotive comparison is essential, random automotive structural failure causing accidents while in motion is minuscule there, too.

      Most people misunderstand statistics. For example, raising a tax rate from 21% to 28% will be announced as a seven percent change, obscuring the fact that paying the revised tax requires adding a third of the amount that had previously been required. Generalizing accident stats without selecting to get a valid comparison is much the same.

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    5. It's way way way more dangerous driving a car through a big city. Just look at the stats. Dirt biking by number is far more dangerous than paragliding. S&%t happens, you can get run over crossing the street so...

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  5. I was slammed for a comment as a low time rotary wing pilot when Kobe Bryant died along with everyone in the chartered helicopter, by an experienced military pilot describing the death spiral of the disoriented pilot with instrument rating. The anger towards me was made as I attempted to describe my instrument training, following the scan procedures to believe in the instruments. Perhaps I made light of my personal concentration in training that angered this high time pilot. I enjoyed actual instrument fight training, in clear weather of course, compared to sim time.

    The initial NTSB report describes a death from a paramotor/paraglider, what appears to me as a parachute with a backpack motor to propel the pilot with a few steps into the air and flying around a powered parachute. The accolades also mentions many civic achievements by this man. May he RIP and his family/community find closure.

    I've studied many NTSB reports between Schweizer 300's and Robinsons. The fully articulated three bladed Schweizer is more forgiving than Robinson's teeter totter two bladed rotor head. Unfortunately, a few high time fixed wing pilots adding on a rotary wing rating in Robinsons died with most causes of deaths related to mast bumping when the aircraft were recovered. I learned this early on in training for my ppl, in Schweizers. I think I fit the old but never bold pilots category.

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  6. Paramotors - and increasingly unpowered paragliders - are susceptible to this kind of accident unfortunately; not for whatever fouled this poor guy up, but fact nobody saw and nobody knows. I'd be curious how much investigators have pieced together this guy's final flight; if he had no electronic logging it would be a lot of legwork just to figure out where he took off from, and subsequent path to that field.

    I also think its just a matter of time before something bleed-it-leads-newsworthy happens - something like a VIP's kid augurs one of these in, or some regular schmo augurs one of these into a wedding or some-such - and paramotors get the media-scare-frenzy and Senate Hearings treatment.

    I hope that eventuality doesn't ruin FAR103 aviation for everyone else.

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  7. It was a trike, and he did deploy his reserve chute, according to a follow up article with info from a local who responded to the crash scene:
    https://www.tricountyindependent.com/story/news/local/2022/05/20/paramotor-pilot-jeffery-chorba-of-beach-lake-recalled-for-his-passion/65355367007/

    Video of Mr. Chorba''s trike solo with Tucker Gott, 2020:
    https://youtu.be/LxxBwPW45ow

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    1. That is NOT a Trike. It's a powered parachute. Couldn't tell you what model but not a trike. A trike is a dacron covered wing weight shift aircraft.

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    2. You are wrong, it was a trike, a Fly Products Flash Cruiser. A powered parachute is a different thing because is much heavier and it does not use brakes but it use instead a cloche

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    3. Please go to this link. It is a pic of a Trike. Please view it then tell me I'm correct.

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    4. Here's the link:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultralight_trike#/media/File:%D0%94%D0%B5%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%82_1.jpg

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  8. I see many comments here from people who have no idea what they are talking about. If you don't have any experience with this kind of gear then reserve your comments for fixed or rotarywing accidents. In other words, shut up.

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    1. I feel your unjustified anger is directed towards me as one sign of immaturity. Free speech in public forums allows exchange of thoughts and ideas along with disagreements. Civil debates promotes growth to expand one's perspective.

      A sport pilot license implies almost zero instruments for powered paragliding flight and restrictions to avoid clouds. In pilot circles, this usually means visual flight regulations avoiding possibilities of encountering spatial disorientation - flying into a large cloud unable to determine which way is up while flying by the seat of your pants without any instruments for references (used by ifr trained pilots). Spatial disorientation killed Kobe Bryant, passengers and ifr rated helicopter pilot in the short 30 minute flight in imc conditions. While the FAA may not investigate this crash, it might bring more professionals to examine weather, pilot history, aircraft, and any other factors that contribute to this unfortunate death of a respected ppg pilot.

      If this seasoned ppg pilot flew in cloud levels of 1,000 feet, he may have inadvertently encountered "known flight into imc" and became spatially disoriented with too little altitude to recover. **** happens to anyone whether as a low time or extremely experienced high time pilot.

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  9. I read that it was an overcast day at 1000 ft. Jeff has said before that he likes to fly high because it gives you time to sort things out which is true. Well this day was overcast at 1000 ft and you have to fly below that legally. Since something happened that made him pull his reserve he was doomed since he had to fly low and just no time to react. His mistake was flying that day going against his own likes to fly high rule.

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    1. In some country (Italy) you could only legally fly a trike/paramotor below 1000ft (I know, it’s a stupid law but it’s the law).
      It’s not a death sentence, you could successfully deploy an emergency parachute even at low altitude.
      I know a guy that survive an accident at low altitude, I think below 500ft, after the wing suffered a catastrophic failure due to high-G manoeuvre and the emergency parachute was only partially inflated.
      He was le luckiest guy in the world but he survive with only few broken bones.
      Sorry again for my poor English grammar.

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  10. “He was the best mountain climber until he fell off one”. “He was the most professional diver until the day he drowned”. “He was the safest pilot until that time he flew into a mountain”. I NEED to drive my car on city streets but I don’t NEED to fly a parachute. If someone wants to risk their life while enjoying a hobby and seeking thrills…fine…but please don’t hit me on your way down.

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  11. 6000+ skydive and 1000+ aiircraft hours and FAA rigger knows that LIGHT WING LOADING on those rigs are VERY susceptible to turbulence perhaps even in light air with thermal activity. ...poor guy may have lost his inflatable wing, eh ?


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  12. This time of year, it's difficult to keep up with the global fatalities occuring under paragliding canopies. Currently, Richard Willms of Wyoming was the 390th person to die on a powered paraglider by my very incomplete but verifiable count. That includes prop strikes while testing and a few bystanders who were in the way. Freeflight paragliding fatalities have reached an unacceptable and astounding 2,150 deaths since the first in 1986, including some rescuers and a few bystanders. Those who make direct comparisons to other forms of aviation tend to ignore the inherent characteristics of paragliders that make them deficient in terms of being real aircraft. 1) The operator is easily completely decoupled from control input through zero or negative G, twist, turbulence, collapse and cravat. The cravat often results in an unrecoverable nose-down spiral dive, a leading killer of paragliderists, . 2) The paraglider operates within its own Dead Man's Curve where the reserve parachute will likely not deploy below 100 meters during take off, during landing and while ridge soaring. 3) The mass is concentrated essentially with the operator rather than the airfoil, resulting in zero kenitic energy outside the vertical vector for recovery. 4) Pitch and roll are severely limited and delayed. 5) In freeflight mountain launches the canopy is 20 feet above the backwards-facing operator and vulnerable to thermal activity. I have over 3000 miles of cross-country flying on hang gliders. I will not fly a paraglider because I cannot be confident that it will remain an aircraft from take off to landing. That is a reasonable concern for most of us. I consider those who choose to fly them among the greatest denialists in the history of aviation. I discuss these points in greater detail on https://rickmasters.substack.com and https://ushga.aero/masters/index.php/pdmc/

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