On the 2.4.2011 a pilot fell to his death after neglecting to connect the leg straps on his harness (Advance Impress 2+). In the summer of 2011 there was another fatality under almost identical circumstances (Gin Genie Race harness).
Both pilots were using harnesses with leg fairings and front cockpits. Sources outside Germany report two further fatalities and a series of near-accidents with harnesses of this design.
After the fatality of 2011, the DHV accident investigation reported extensively on the problems associated with this type of harness, which we summarise here:
Should leg fairings and cockpits be closed before starting, then they prevent a direct view of the other harness straps. An optical check to determine if these straps are closed or not, cannot be made. Due to the compact design of fairing and cockpit, the pilot often feels he is correctly strapped in even when the leg and chest straps are not attached at all. Full Report
Pilots who fly with harnesses of this design must be familiar with the construction details of the harness. During start checks, the pilot should not rely on optical feedback, to determine whether straps are correctly closed or not. Straps must be checked per hand before taking off.
Should other pilots be present at the launch site, then partner checks should be performed to check correct strap closure.
The DHV recommends that all pilots observing the usage of harnesses with fairings and front cockpits offer a partner check to help prevent further accidents..