The Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) is the Training and Safety arm of the Soaring Society of America (SSA). Our mission is to provide instructors and pilots with the tools needed to teach/learn both the stick & rudder skills and the Aeronautical Decision Making skills needed to safely fly a glider. We also provide information and analysis of incident and accident trends in order to develop better training tools.


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The Soaring Incident Database is now available to help pilots, safety officers, clubs, and commercial operators develop new programs that can help prevent incidents from becoming major accidents. See more incidents by searching the database or register a new incident.

Region Pilot Certificate Pilot Injuries Passenger Injuries Type of Flight Launch Method Type of Aircraft
Midwest Commercial Minor None Local Aero Tow Centrair 101A Pegase
Incident Activity Damage to Aircraft Damage to Canopy Incident Date Incident Time Weather SSA Member
Flight Destroyed 0000-00-00 1000-1200 Clear Yes
Incident Description Assembled glider in morning, was interrupted twice resulting in not connecting the elevator to the push rod in the vertical fin. Noticed elevator bobbing up and down (as it normally did) when towing the glider to the take off area along side of turf runway so paid no further attention to it. Launched behind Pwwnee PA-25 260. On liftoff had abnormal pitchup, tried correcting by full forward trim and cycling dive brakes (closed-open-reclosed) was no help. Began excess pitchup and left roll (45 degree bank) and turn (apparently partially stalled-became a kite). Lost site of tow plane and released (rope apparantly broke at the same time). Got immediate pitch down and rolled wings level with heading about 90 degrees from runway 18 aimed at low point in hedgerow/tree line at airport boundry. Hit ground about 20 degrees nose down at high speed about 100 feet short of hedgerow, was reportedly bounce up about 20 feet and hit hedgerow about six feet up amd came to rest at far side of hedgerow in open cockpit. Was knocked unconscious at first impact with ground and awakened in stationary open cockpit. Was helped out of cockpit and transported to hospital by ambulance with sore lower back. Max altitude was slightly over 100 feet AGL
Other Comments I in my case a rapid shaking the elevator control (stick) fore and aft would have revealed a disconnected elevator. Require mandatory positive control checks at flight line even if you need the tow pilot to assist. Visual check all exposed control connections are safetyed. For pilots, if something does not feel right about the control system response at liftoff, release immediately rather than trying to analizing the problem.

Find out more about the Soaring Safety Foundation: (trustees, mission, By-Laws, or Contact us by email).