I was in Mexico for the first PPG Guinness Book of World Records to have the greatest number of PPG in the air at the same time - it was fun. The day before, everyone was having a good time and burning gas practicing. I was flying the lightest machine at the time (DK “beat” from Japan and was doing touch and goes on the water beyond the 6 to 8’ rough surf line. A few of us were doing that, and at the time we were not thinking too much about water landings and the dangers associated to them - the sport was too new and we had never heard of anyone drowning with a PPG before. Little I knew, I was flying downwind at about 70/80’ over the water on the other side of the crashing white wash when I ran out of gas, Oops! I quickly realized that I would not make it to the beach and immediately disconnected my single chest strap buckle and the two leg buckles. At the time, the “Safe-T strap” invented by SUPAIR later did not exist, and the smaller upper strap keeping the shoulder straps in place was not either. It was a quick “Clicl! Click! Click!” disconnect… I dumped my right throttle and moved my ass to the edge of the seat-plate while steering the wing left toward the beach. As soon as I flew over a curling fat wave, I jumped, and clearly remembered seeing my seat passing me overhead before I was swallowed by the crashing water. Felt like I was trapped in a washing machine for a few seconds before being thrown on the beach. No harm done as I was walking on the sand looking like a wet dog. Three people came to my wing’s and PG rescue. Filled with water, it took them quite a bit of strength to bring everything to dry grounds. Each retrieving was dragging the glider back and away from the beach - imagine getting stuck in your harness and lines after a water landing and without a flotation device
With a few friends help, the wing was washed in the kid’s fresh water hotel pool and dried in the shade. Amazingly and due to a Japanese style design, the carburetor, cylinder, a sponge oiled sealed air box, did not took water in. A few hours later, I poured fresh gas in the tank, gave two pulls and the Boxer engine was purring again and i was back in the air that evening. Luck was on my side that day, and I learned a valuable lesson, especially that I fly near the seashore year round in NY. This is the motor I went in with. I have to say that little machine was indestructible and plugged over 200 hours on it before I sold it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2gjlLv53fs&t=9s
At the front is the wing that went in the day before
Anecdote: many of the PPG at the time were using farming water pump motors at the time - they were the only ones we had, until dedicated PPG engines were eventually designed for the purpose. The Zenoah motors were #1 and an average PPG set-up with this motor weighed up to 82lbs without gas - you blew three takeoff and the day was over There is a tandem PPG to the right of the photo which was using this motor). Not exactly certain, but I think we managed to get around 26 PPG in the air at the same time.