FAA Deems October Longmont Skydiving Death an Accident
The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled a fatal October skydiving trip in Longmont an accident.
In a report obtained Friday by the Times-Call, the agency writes that the one-piece tracking suit used by 23-year-old Logan Polfuss might have caused issues during the skydive, and ultimately led to his death.
Shortly before 1 p.m. Oct. 18, Polfuss and eight other skydivers went up with Mile-Hi Skydiving, based out of Vance Brand Municipal Airport, according to the report.
Mile-Hi Skydiving said at this time it is not commenting on the accident that resulted in the death of Polfuss, of Simla.
It was the first time Polfuss jumped in the tracking suit. According to the report, the tag on the suit recommends the wearer complete 400 free falls before using it. It also recommends jumping out of a larger pilot chute with a 36-inch diameter.
“The tracking suit is considered an expert suite [sic],” the report states.
Polfuss had completed around 180 jumps, according to the report. The pilot chute of the plane from which he jumped on Oct. 18 was only 29 inches in diameter.
The autopsy report for Polfuss is still pending at the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.
The automatic activation device from the parachute Polfuss used was sent to the manufacturer for evaluation, the report states. It’s not clear if investigators believe the parachute malfunctioned. The FAA was unable to provide further information on Friday.
The report also states that video from Mile-Hi Skydiving and Vance Brand Municipal Airport and interviews with tandem instructors and flyers who took video were “not conclusive.”
The report states that Polfuss was “fatally injured.” He was found dead the next morning in a field in unincorporated Boulder County, near the airport. His girlfriend had reported him missing the night before around 9 p.m., and police found his car parked at the airport before starting their search.
It’s still not clear why Polfuss’ disappearance was not noted before Thursday night, almost eight hours after his scheduled jump. The agency’s report does not mention the lapse in time between when Polfuss jumped and when he was found.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the case.
Mile-Hi Skydiving has recently come under scrutiny from Longmont City Council, not only for Polfuss’ death but also for suspicions that it skirted payments to the city by renting areas of airport land too small for parachutists to confine themselves to when landing.
Council members have requested a city staff report on Polfuss’ death and municipal and federal regulations for skydiving ; the report has not yet been completed.
Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, email@example.com