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Region Pilot Certificate Pilot Injuries Passenger Injuries Type of Flight Launch Method Type of Aircraft
East Private None None Local Aero Tow Grob Twin Astir
Incident Activity Damage to Aircraft Damage to Canopy Incident Date Incident Time Weather SSA Member
Flight None 2016-08-07 1200-1400 Clear Yes
Incident Description During TWO attempted launches of the Grob Twin Astir (TA), the Tost ring at the glider end released after the tow plane applied tension. After the first attempt, the front-seated pilot admitted that he might have accidentally pulled the release since his hand was near the release knob. So we tried it again...SAME RESULT...even with the pilot’s hand well away from the knob. We stopped the operation and investigated the problem. We found the AFT release knob and had somehow become lodged UNDER the aft fabric seat cushion which extends forward to the instrument panel. The knob was completely hidden from view. How it got there remains a mystery.
Other Comments Apparently, the Tost release was partially opened, just enough to cause a release behind the tug even after a good pull test by the line crew. This was the third flight of the day for TA so I doubt the problem was a result of a previous maintenance action. It is speculated that the knob was pushed under the seat cushion when the aft-seated pilot got into the cockpit. A better cockpit check by the aft-seated pilot may have prevented this incident.

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