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I’ve been neglecting our blog! How can it be? Well, I’ve been writing so very much here at Modular Robotics. Grants, presentations, conference proposals, lesson plans, and

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Be Safe out There on Your Paragliders, Please

By: Modular Robotics

Modular Robotics co-founder Mark Gross was in a paragliding accident last Sunday.  He is not dead!  And he has balloons.


Mark broke his back and a leg, but is stomping around with a cane and in great spirits.  He’s currently encased in a plastic insect shell thing so that his back doesn’t move too much while he heals from surgery.  Falling out of the sky onto rocks sounds pretty harrowing; in Mark’s words:

…one way to clear a tangle is to give a quick gentle tug on one of the tangled lines.  So I give a quick tug on the tangled right brake.   Whoa!  The wing collapses completely, and suddenly the glider steers left sharply in what is aptly and terrifyingly called a “spiral dive”.   Round and around heading for ground: Not much time to think, too low to deploy the reserve parachute, but somehow I get the left side inflated and flying again, but by now I’ve lost a lot of altitude and I’m swinging like a pendulum from the radical changes.   An instant later I swing into the ground.  Hard.

I’m letting you know about Mark’s accident here because he’s not a big social media poster and because he’s got a pretty big community who I know might want to be concerned.

I also wanted to make a little plea for you to be safe out there on your paragliders.  My friend Jacques hit the deck paragliding in the Himalayas in November, broke his back too, and was laid out flat in traction for a month in an Indian hospital.  That makes two for two — both of my paragliding friends have broken their backs falling out of the sky in the last six months.  I think that’s all of my paragliding friends, but if you’re number three, please exercise caution.


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