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NTSB Identification: LAX07CA036.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 15, 2006 in Tucson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 3/26/2007
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G103 Twin Astir, registration: N4115M
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The glider pilot reported he was attempting to land the glider further down the runway than usual. He stated he added 1/2 spoilers and flared about 10 feet above the runway. He retracted the spoilers, and added them again when he was further down, and about 5 feet above the runway. At the second spoiler application, the glider immediately fell to the runway, hitting hard and bouncing. The glider bounced another two or three times, coming to rest after the tail section separated. The pilot stated that there were no pre accident mechanical or flight control problems with the glider.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's improper use of the spoilers during the landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing, and his inadequate bounced landing recovery technique.

LAX07CA036

On November 15, 2006, at 1437 mountain standard time, a Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G103 Twin Astir glider, N4115M, landed hard at El Tiro Gliderport (AZ67), Tucson, Arizona, and porpoised on runway 8R before coming to a stop. Tucson Soaring Club operated the rental glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private glider pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The tail section of the glider separated forward of the vertical stabilizer and the horizontal stabilizer sustained damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed about 1430. No flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot's written statement, he had conducted two flights on the day of the accident. He noted clear sky conditions, and a slight north crosswind between 3 and 5 knots. The first flight was uneventful, except that he was only able to stay aloft for 16 minutes due to low thermal activity. He made the approach at 60 knots, and the landing was normal.

On the second flight, the accident flight, he flew the pattern with the intent of landing long so that he could put the glider away for the day, as it was not scheduled for additional flights. He made the approach at 60 knots, added 1/2 spoilers, and flared about 10 feet above the ground. At that point, he closed the spoilers so that the touchdown point would be longer than normal. The glider floated about 5 feet above the runway and he applied 1/2 spoilers so that the glider would touch down. The glider immediately dropped and landed hard, which resulted in it bouncing back into the air.

The pilot stated that he held the stick in a fixed position with the wings level, thinking that the glider would float down to the runway and land, with the potential of bouncing 2 or 3 more times. He stated that the glider bounced 2 or 3 more times; however, each touchdown was harder than the previous time. Upon exiting the glider, he noted that the tail section had separated from the fuselage. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical or flight control problems with the glider prior to the accident.

 

NTSB Identification: CHI07CA040.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 14, 2006 in Gregory, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 3/26/2007
Aircraft: Schleicher AS-K13, registration: N545TT
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

The glider contacted trees while on final approach to land. The pilot reported the accident occurred during his second flight of the day. He reported that he checked the winds prior to takeoff and that the flight was bumpy up to 2,000 feet above ground level (agl) at which point it smoothed out to 3,000 feet agl where he was released from the tow plane. He stated that after a 15 minute flight he returned to the airport where he entered a left hand traffic pattern at 1,000 feet agl for runway 18. The pilot reported that when he entered the traffic pattern he noticed the wind sock was shifting and the glider was losing altitude at a rate that was faster than the previous flight. He stated that because of this, he turned onto base leg sooner than normal. He reported, "Upon turning there was an immediate sense of an inability to penetrate thru the airmass as the glider continued to lose altitude." He stated he lowered the nose of the glider in an attempt to gain airspeed and flew an abbreviated base leg, heading straight for the runway. The pilot reported he then noted a shift in the wind and the glider descended into the 75 foot tall trees northeast of the approach end of the runway. The pilot of the tow plane reported he flew 4 flights on the day of the accident and that during the first 3 flights the winds were from the southwest at less than 15 knots. He reported that for the accident flight the windsock indicated the winds were from the southeast and that the automated weather observing system (AWOS) indicated the winds were from 170 degrees at 8 or 9 knots. He stated that after he landed the windsock indicated the winds had shifted again to the southwest. He stated he checked the AWOS from the Mason-Jewett Airport (TEW), Mason, Michigan, and it was indicating the winds were variable from 160 to 240 degrees at 9 knots gusting to 16 or 20 knots. He reported that this was at the same time that the glider was in the traffic pattern to land. The winds rpeorted at TEW, located 20 miles west-northwest of the accident site at 1317 were from 200 degrees at 5 knots gusting to 14 knots. Twenty minutes prior, the TEW winds were reported as being from 200 degrees at 5 knots. The winds reported at the Howell-Livingston County Airport (OZW), Howell, Michigan, located 15 miles north-northeast of the accident site at 1317 were from 170 degrees at 9 knots. Twenty minutes later the OZW winds had shifted to 200 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 15 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's unexpected encounter with wind shear and his inability to remain clear of the trees while on final approach to land.

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA066.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 27, 2006 in Minden, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 3/26/2007
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G-103A, registration: N794G
Injuries: 2 Minor.

The glider drug a wing and ground looped during an off airport landing short of the airport. The CFI and student released the tow line at 8,500 feet in turbulent lift conditions. About 20 minutes into the flight, the tow pilot radioed from the ground that a snow squall was rapidly moving in from the north. The CFI had the student head toward the airport and they prepared for a straight-in approach to runway 34. The wind speed increased and the ceiling quickly lowered. The CFI took control when he determined that they would have to fly a lot faster to beat the storm. About 3 miles south of the field, he noted that the ceiling was descending rapidly enough that he would have to go below the glide slope in order to maintain cloud clearance. He descended with spoilers and told the student to prepare for an off airport landing in a farmer's field short of the airport. The CFI set up for landing. He had to turn and change his path at the last second when he noticed an irrigation sprinkler in his path. The right wing tip contacted the ground, and the glider ground looped during landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the tail boom. The pilot indicated that he had obtained an abbreviated weather brief via telephone and the internet. The weather at the nearest official reporting station, which was 28 nautical miles north of the accident site/departure airport, was similar for a 6-hour period up to an hour before the glider's departure. The weather reports noted 10 miles visibility; winds from the north about 14 knots; and ceilings above 14,000 feet. In the next 30 minutes, the weather deteriorated to 1-mile visibility in light snow; winds gusting 22 to 30 knots; and a 1,000-foot ceiling. In the next 10 minutes, the visibility dropped to 1/4 mile; 20 minutes later the visibility was 3/4 mile. Over the next hour, the weather improved to 10 miles visibility; winds 14 gusting to 22 knots; and overcast conditions at 6,000 feet.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The flight's encounter with a low ceiling while on approach that necessatiated an off-airport precautionary landing on unsuitable terrain. Obstructions were a factor.

LAX07CA066

On December 27, 2006, about 1300 Pacific standard time, a Burkhart Grob G-103A glider, N794G, collided with terrain during an off airport landing near Minden, Nevada. Soar Minden was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) pilot and the student pilot sustained minor injuries; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local instructional flight departed Minden about 1215. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the nearest official reporting station; instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. No flight plan had been filed.

The pilot submitted a written report. The flight was to provide instruction on mountain wave conditions. The CFI and student released the tow line at 8,500 feet in turbulent lift conditions. The instructor took over the controls for the final minute of the tow due to the turbulence. After release, the student resumed control, and worked several small patches of lift south of the airport. About 20 minutes into the flight, the tow pilot radioed from the ground that a snow squall was moving in from the north.

The CFI had the student head toward the airport, and prepare for a straight-in approach to runway 34. The wind speed increased, and the ceiling quickly lowered. The CFI took control when he determined that they would have to fly a lot faster to beat the storm. About 3 miles south of the field, he noted that the ceiling was descending rapidly enough that he would have to go below the glide slope in order to maintain cloud clearance. He descended with spoilers, and told the student to prepare for an off airport landing in a farmer's field short of the airport.

The CFI set up for landing. He had to turn and change his path at the last second when he noticed an irrigation sprinkler in his path. The right wing tip contacted the ground, and the glider ground looped during landing, which resulted in substantial to the tail boom.

The instructor's report indicated that he had obtained an abbreviated weather brief via telephone and the internet from the National Weather Service.

The nearest official reporting stations was Reno, Nevada, which was 345 degrees at 28 nautical miles from the accident site. An aviation routine weather report (METAR) issued for Reno at 1056 stated: winds from 360 degrees at 14 knots; visibility 10 miles; skies 8,000 feet scattered, 12,000 feet broken, 14,000 feet overcast; temperature 6/42 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; dew point -1/30 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury. METAR's for the previous 5 hours reported similar conditions.

A METAR for Reno at 1130 stated: winds from 340 degrees at 22 knots gusting to 30 knots; visibility 1 mile with light snow; skies 1,000 feet scattered, 4,000 feet overcast; temperature 2/36 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; dew point -1/30 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; altimeter 29.77 inches of mercury. A METAR at 1137 reported 1/4 mile visibility in light snow and fog, and overcast at 2,000 feet. The visibility was 3/4 mile, and winds were 330 degrees at 11 knots in a 1202 METAR; other conditions remained the same.

A METAR for Reno at 1256 stated: winds from 310 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 25 knots; visibility 10 miles; skies 6,000 feet overcast; temperature 3/37 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; dew point -4/25 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; altimeter 29.83 inches of mercury.

 

NTSB Identification: MIA07LA041.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 06, 2007 in Immokalee, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 7/25/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33, registration: N5728S
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured.

Shortly after takeoff after being towed by an automobile, the "weak link" of the tow rope broke while the glider was at an altitude of 40 feet. The pilot-rated student pitched down and established landing attitude at about 5 feet. The glider made a hard landing, seriously injuring the CFI. The pilot-rated student was not injured. The failed "weak link" was discarded by the operator before the NTSB made contact.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The failure of the glider towing "weak link," for undetermined reasons, at an inadequate altitude to effect a normal landing, resulting in a hard landing.

MIA07LA041

On January 6, 2007, about 1330 eastern standard time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33 glider, N5728S, registered to and operated by High Soaring, Inc., was landed hard following failure of the weak link during a tow from the Immokalee Airport, Immokalee, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight from Immokalee Airport. The glider was not damaged and the certified flight instructor (CFI) sustained serious injuries but the pilot-rated student was not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The CFI stated that the pilot-rated student was at the controls during an auto tow, and while at 40 feet and 43 knots indicated airspeed while increasing pitch, the "weak link" at the automotive end broke. The pilot-rated student responded immediately by pitching down per their previous briefing. Landing attitude was established approximately 5 feet above the ground, but the glider made a hard landing onto grass on airport property.

The CFI notified the NTSB of the accident on January 16, 2007, which was after her release from the hospital on January 11, 2007. The failed weak link was discarded by the operator before the NTSB made contact.

 

NTSB Identification: NYC07CA060.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 29, 2007 in Bath, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 4/25/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-32, registration: N32BM
Injuries: 2 Serious.

The glider collided with trees while the pilot was attempting an off airport landing. The glider was towed to an altitude of 3,000 feet and released. The pilot flew around a ridgeline for about 30 minutes, and when the lift dissipated, he elected to attempt a landing in a corn field. During the base to final approach turn, the glider impacted trees prior to coming to rest in the field. The outboard 6 feet of the glider's left wing separated, and the fuselage was damaged. The pilot reported that he extended the downwind leg too far, and did not compensate adequately for winds. Winds were reported about the time of the accident, at an airport located 22 miles north of the accident site, from 290 degrees at 8 knots. The pilot reported 3,400 hours of total glider flight experience, which included about 300 hours in the same make and model as the accident glider.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's misjudged altitude/distance while on approach, which resulted in an in-flight collision with trees during an off airport landing. A factor in the accident was the loss of lift.

NYC07CA060

The Schweizer SGS 2-32 glider was towed to an altitude of 3,000 feet and released. The pilot flew around a ridgeline for about 30 minutes, and when the lift dissipated, he elected to attempt a landing to a corn field. During the base to final approach turn, the glider impacted trees, prior to coming to rest in the field. The outboard 6 feet of the glider's left wing separated, and the fuselage was damaged. The pilot reported that he extended the downwind leg too far, and did not compensate adequately for winds. Winds reported about the time of the accident, at an airport located 22 miles north of the accident site, were from 290 at 8 knots. The pilot reported 3,400 hours of total glider flight experience, which included about 300 hours in the same make and model as the accident glider.

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA086.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 09, 2007 in Jean, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 5/29/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-32, registration: N2438W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

The glider hit the ground hard at a steep vertical angle when the tow hook jammed sideways, and failed to release. The pilot set up a winch and cable ground launch system. He spent about 1.5 hours inspecting, removing, and repairing the winch cable. He launched to the east, released at 1,400 feet agl, made a 5-minute flight, and landed. He moved the cable and winch to set up for a launch to the west. He requested a 65 mph cable speed; he cleared the pattern and midfield from both ends via radio. The takeoff was normal to 700 feet agl. The glider entered a thermal, and experienced a strong surge in rate of climb. The airspeed decreased to 50 mph, and then to 44 mph. He requested that the ground personnel adjust the winch for more speed, but he did not see an airspeed increase. He dove the glider to 60 mph, and requested more speed again. He noticed the airspeed getting slower despite a nose down attitude, which he assumed was from the cable weight with no cable forward pull. As he made a third request for an increase in winch speed, he simultaneously pushed the nose down, and pulled the cable release. He did not hear a click, so he assumed that the cable had already back released. Looking forward, he noticed that he was getting very close to the winch and parked vehicles. His altitude was now below 400 feet agl; he elected to turn away for a downwind landing. He turned away, and was perpendicular to the winch. He saw his shadow on the ground, and was surprised and alarmed to see that the winch cable was still attached to the underside of glider. He pulled the release again, but the cable became taught. He felt no release, and the cable was pulling the glider quickly toward the ground. The control responses decreased. He unsuccessfully attempted to dive and build enough airspeed to break the cable's weak link. The nose responded momentarily when he pulled back on the control stick. He thought that he detected a very brief forward motion rather than down motion; however, the glider hit the ground hard.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

the tow hook jamming and failing to release from the glider.

LAX07CA086

On February 9, 2007, about 1430 Pacific standard time, a Schweizer SGS 2-32 glider, N2438W, collided with terrain near Jean, Nevada. The pilot was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot submitted a written report. He arrived at the launch site about 1030, and set up a winch and cable ground launch system. He spent about 1.5 hours inspecting, removing, and repairing the winch cable. About 1200, he launched to the east on a normal climb, and released at 1,400 feet agl. He made a 5-minute flight and landed.

The pilot moved the cable and winch to set up for a launch to the west. He requested a 65 mph cable speed; he cleared the pattern and midfield from both ends via radio. The takeoff was normal to 700 feet agl. The glider entered a thermal, and experienced a strong surge in rate of climb. The airspeed decreased to 50 mph, and then to 44 mph. He requested more speed, but he did not see an airspeed increase. He dove the glider to 60 mph, and requested more speed again. He noticed the airspeed getting slower despite a nose down attitude, which he assumed was from the cable weight with no cable forward pull.

As the pilot made a third request for an increase in winch speed, he simultaneously pushed the nose down, and pulled the cable release. He did not hear a click, so he assumed that the cable had already back released. Looking forward, he noticed that he was getting very close to the winch and parked vehicles. His altitude was now below 400 feet agl; he elected to turn away for a downwind landing. He turned away, and was perpendicular to the winch. He saw his shadow on the ground, and was surprised and alarmed to see that the winch was still attached to the underside of glider. He pulled the release again, but the cable became taught. He felt no release, and the cable was pulling the glider quickly toward the ground. The control responses decreased. He unsuccessfully attempted to dive, and build enough airspeed to break the cable's weak link. The nose responded momentarily when he pulled back on the control stick. He thought that he detected a very brief forward motion rather than down motion. However, the glider hit the ground hard at a steep vertical angle.

The pilot surmised that the tow hook jammed sideways.

NTSB Identification: ATL07CA043.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 12, 2007 in Monticello, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 4/25/2007
Aircraft: Burkhart-Grob G109, registration: N3875R
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The pilot of the motor glider airplane stated that he bounced twice during the landing attempt, and he elected to apply power and abort the landing. During the aborted landing, he said he lost directional control, and the right wingtip struck the corner of a hangar. The airplane then struck the runway, collapsing the landing gear. There were no preaccident mechanical anomalies reported by the pilot, or discovered during the postaccident inspection.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's improper recovery from a bounced landing, which resulted in a loss of control, an in-flight collision with a hangar, and subsequent in-flight collision with the runway.

ATL07CA043

According to the pilot, he had been doing touch and goes and this landing was to be a full stop. He observed the wind sock on downwind and it was hanging with no indication of wind. He stated he "did a normal base [and] final [and] upon touch down I bounced slightly, touched down again [and] bounced more so I decided to go around. I had plenty of runway left approximately 2/3 or about 3,000 feet. I applied full power [and] eased the stick back [and] all seemed normal. I suddenly started drifting to the right [and] toward a pine tree adjacent to the runway. I applied almost full left rudder to try to re-center [the] glider on the runway but was not able to. I determined that I did not have sufficient altitude or rate of climb to clear the tree so I lifted my right wing [and] cleared the tree." The glider turned toward the runway but he stated that he lost some altitude. "I then straightened up [and] again was pushed to the right by, I assume, a gust of wind [and] toward a hangar. I again tried to lift my right wing to clear [the hangar] but was unsuccessful. At this point my right wing tip struck the corner of the hangar. I was slightly banked left at that point [and] the glider moved toward the runway center, struck the runway [and] the gear collapsed. [The] glider then skidded on its belly and came to a stop at the edge of the runway. While on the ground before [and] after the incident I observed no wind gust but after the incident I talked to a contractor who had been working on a crane on a hangar and he informed me that during that afternoon that he had encountered short periods of wind gust followed by period of complete calm. I feel that this significantly contributed to the glider drifting to the right and [the] ensuing accident." The pilot egressed the glider without injury.

According to a witness, the airplane was attempting to land on runway 32. It touched down and then ballooned, then touched down again and ballooned again, gaining altitude. The glider then veered to the right, went off the runway above the hangars on the right, clipping the top of a hangar then abruptly hitting the ground. The pilot exited the glider unhurt.

Examination of the glider by an FAA Inspector found that the airplane had struck a hangar and then a tractor substantially damaging the right wing and landing gear. There were no mechanical problems reported by the pilot or discovered during the post-accident examination of the airplane.

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA104.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 11, 2007 in Williams, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 6/27/2007
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-27B, registration: N273W
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The glider touched down short of the runway and ground looped during landing. The pilot returned to the airport after he couldn't find any lift. He encountered some sink on his base and final legs. He felt that he didn't retract his spoilers soon enough to prevent his landing just short of the paved runway. The glider ground looped, which broke off the tail boom. The pilot made a recommendation regarding prevention of the accident. He noted that this was an uneventful day, which could lull one into not paying full attention to all phases of flight. The runway was more than long enough to allow him to land 1/4 of the way down the runway, which would have provided a much larger safety margin for his landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's misjudged distance/altitude and delay in retracting the spoilers that led to an undershoot, which resulted in a collision with terrain.

LAX07CA104

On March 11, 2007, about 1500 Pacific daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-27B, N273W, ground looped during landing at Williams, California. The pilot/owner was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot was not injured; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed Williams about 1415. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated in a written report that he returned to the airport after he couldn't find any lift. He encountered some sink on his base and final legs. He felt that he didn't retract his spoilers soon enough to prevent his landing just short of the paved runway. The glider ground looped, which broke off the tail boom.

The pilot made a recommendation regarding prevention of the accident. He noted that this was an uneventful day, which could fool one into not paying full attention to all phases of flight. The runway was more than long enough to allow him to land 1/4 of the way down the runway, which would have provided a much larger safety margin for his landing.

NTSB Identification: DEN07LA074A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 13, 2007 in Pueblo, CO
Aircraft: North American SNJ-5, registration: N12KY
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On March 13, 2007 approximately 1615 mountain daylight time, a North American SNJ-5, N12KY, piloted by an airline transport certificated pilot, sustained minor damage when it collided with a Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G103 Twin Astir, N39810, piloted by a commercial pilot, while taxiing from landing at Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB), Pueblo, Colorado. The Grob, which was stationary but with its engine running, was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both flights were personal and were being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilots on board both airplanes were not injured. The flight of the SNJ-5 originated at 1445 from Centennial Airport (APA), Englewood, Colorado. The flight of the Grob had not yet originated.

According to the pilot of the SNJ-5, he landed on runway 8L. He exited the runway on taxiway Echo, merged onto taxiway Foxtrot, and taxied south across runway 8R and onto the ramp. From there, he taxied southwest towards taxiway Alpha and some private hangars, located in the southwest corner of the ramp. The pilot used S-turns as he taxied. The SNJ-5's right wheel ran over the right wing of the Grob. The SNJ-5 sustained minor damage to its right wing tip, leading edge and right aileron.

According to the pilot of the Grob, he had stopped and was obtaining taxi clearance and ATIS information when the SNJ-5's main landing gear rolled over his right wing. Damage to the Grob included a broken right wing spar. The outer portion of the right wing and the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer were crushed. The wooden propeller of the motor glider was also damaged.

 

NTSB Identification: ATL07LA066
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 31, 2007 in Sylacauga, AL
Aircraft: Szybowcowy Zaklad SZD-36A, registration: N6SZ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On March 31, 2007, at 1630 central daylight time, an experimental SZD-36A Glider, N6SZ, registered to a private individual operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, experience an in-flight breakup during cruise flight in Sylacauga, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated from the Merkel Field Sylacauga Municipal Airport, in Sylacauga, Alabama on March 31, 2007 at 1600.

According to the pilot's brother they had trucked the glider from Birmingham, Alabama, to Sylacauga, to fly around in the local area. The brother of the pilot stated that he assisted the pilot in assembling the glider prior to the flight. Witnesses stated that the glider had been airborne for about 30 minutes when they observed both wings fold up, and the glider descend out of control until impacting the ground. The glider broke up into numerous pieces after impact. The glider has been recovered for further examination.

ATL07LA066

On March 31, 2007, at 1530 central daylight time, an amateur-built experimental Szybowcowy Zakland DO, SZD-36A glider, N6SZ, registered to a private individual, was substantially damaged when both wings failed and separated from the glider during a personal flight in Sylacauga, Alabama. The private pilot received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which departed Merkel Field Sylacauga Municipal Airport (SCD) Sylacauga, Alabama, about 1500. No flight plan was filed for the local flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot's brother, they had trucked the glider from Birmingham, Alabama, to Sylacauga, to fly around in the local area. The brother of the pilot stated that he assisted the pilot in assembling the glider prior to the flight. Witnesses stated that the glider had been airborne for about 30 minutes when they observed both wings fold up, and the glider descend out of control until impacting into a rock quarry, about 2 miles south of SCD.

The tow plane pilot stated that he towed the glider to altitude and released it. He added that the last time he saw the glider, it was about 1500 feet above the ground. He said he did not observe the breakup, but did see the wings fluttering through the air towards the quarry. The tow plane pilot circled the area looking for the fuselage but could not find it.

Witnesses working in the quarry stated that they initially heard what sounded like a "rocket," looked up and saw the fuselage descending at a very fast rate. The fuselage impacted in the bottom of the quarry, and the wings "floated" down like leaves from a tree and impacted "several minutes" after the fuselage impacted. The workers located the glider in a small impact area.

Examination of the fuselage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found it substantially damaged. Debris from the fuselage was scattered approximately 10 feet forward of the impact crater with the majority of the fuselage remaining in the crater. The wings were located about 1/2 mile north of the impact crater on the upper rim of the quarry.

Examination of the wing attachments found that the lower attachment lugs had disengaged, allowing the wing to move upwards 45degrees, breaking the left upper wing attach lug. The examination revealed that during assembly, the lower attach pin had failed to enter the lower attachment hole on the left wing. The misalignment allowed the pin to rest on the top surface of the left wing attach lug in a clamping action. The upper wing attachment pin was found to be properly installed. Examination of the mechanism that actuates the movement of both pins found that there had been two tabs located above the center pivot, these two tabs were not found.

No autopsy or toxicology was performed on the pilot. A review of the glider's logbooks by an FAA inspector found that the annual condition inspection was performed on June 22, 2006, at a total time of 537 hours. Total glider time was estimated at 556 hours with the pilot's logbook entries. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had an estimated 685 hours of total time in powered aircraft and 36 hours of glider experience

 

NTSB Identification: SEA07LA101A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 13, 2007 in Llano, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/30/2007
Aircraft: LET Blanik L-13, registration: N101JJ
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: SEA07LA101B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 13, 2007 in Llano, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/30/2007
Aircraft: Glaser-Dirks DG 505 Elan, registration: N505TW
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

In a written statement, the student pilot reported that he was landing his glider, a LET Blanik L-13 on 25L, while another glider, a DG 505 was positioned on 25R approximately 1000 feet from the departure end of the runway. The DG 505 was hooked to a tow plane and waiting for takeoff on runway 25R. The Blanik L-13 made a normal landing on runway 25L with a touchdown point 500 feet from the end of the runway. During the landing roll, the glider veered to the right and collided with the DG 505 before coming to a stop. The right wing of the Blanik L-13 impacted the left wingtip of the DG 505. The flight instructor in the DG 505 stated in a written report: "there was ample room (for landing), but the pilot made the mistake of looking at the obstruction (me), rather than ahead up the runway." A post accident inspection revealed substantial damage to the Blanik L-13, including distorted wing skins, detached wing attachments and bent bulkheads in the fuselage. The minor damage to the DG 505 was contained to a detachable wing tip.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The failure of the other pilot to maintain directional control during landing roll.

 

On April 13, 2007, at 1500 Pacific daylight time, a LET Blanik L-13, N101JJ, operated by Great Western Soaring School collided with a Glaser-Dirks DG 505 Elan, N505TW, during the landing roll at Crystal Airport, Llano, California. The DG 505 was preparing for departure at the time. The Blanik L-13 was flown by a student pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 solo instructional flight, while the DG 505 was to be flown by a certified flight instructor, as a sightseeing flight. Neither the student pilot nor the flight instructor was injured. The Blanik L-13 was returning from a flight that originated from Llano about 20 minutes prior to the accident. The Blanik L-13 was substantially damaged while the DG 505 received minor wingtip damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and neither pilot filed a flight plan.

The Crystal Airport has a dirt runway 250 feet wide (runway 7/25). Due to the width of the runway, it is common procedure for multiple aircraft to use the runway at one time. Under these conditions, pilots use the designators 25L or 25R for the area of the runway being used.

In a written statement, the student pilot reported that he was landing on 25L, with the DG 505 positioned on 25R approximately 1000 feet from the departure end of the runway. The DG 505 was hooked to a tow plane and waiting for takeoff on runway 25R. The Blanik L-13 made a normal landing on runway 25L with a touchdown point 500 feet from the end of the runway. During the landing roll, the glider veered to the right and collided with the DG 505 before coming to a stop. The right wing of the Blanik L-13 impacted the left wingtip of the DG 505.

The flight instructor in the DG 505 stated in a written report: "there was ample room (for landing), but the pilot made the mistake of looking at the obstruction (me), rather than ahead up the runway."

A post accident inspection revealed substantial damage to the Blanik L-13, including distorted wing skins, detached wing attachments and bent bulkheads in the fuselage. The minor damage to the DG 505 was contained to a detachable wing tip.

 

 

NTSB Identification: NYC07LA095
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 16, 2007 in Circleville, WV
Aircraft: Rolladen-Schneider LS8-18, registration: C-GFPQ
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On April 16, 2007, at 0946 eastern daylight time, a Rolladen-Schneider LS8-18 glider, C-GFPQ, was substantially damaged when it impacted mountainous terrain near Circleville, West Virginia. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight, which originated at Williamsport Regional Airport (IPT), Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The competition flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot's wife, he was attempting a world distance flight record for 15-meter gliders, primarily utilizing ridge lift, and had intended to land back at Williamsport upon the flight's completion. She also noted that the weather conditions for such a flight occurred about every 10 years.

The pilot and glider were located on April 17, 2007, about 0830.

The accident occurred during daylight hours, in the vicinity of 38 degrees, 37.2 minutes north latitude, 79 degrees, 29.2 minutes west longitude. Plotted elevation for that location was about 4,100 feet.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector was able to speak to the pilot between surgeries. According to the inspector, the pilot reported that he was in cruise flight, at ridge-top level, when the glider encountered "sheer winds" and "rotor winds" from a nearby rock face, and there was a loss of flight control effectiveness.

The flight loggers were recovered, and transported to the Safety Board Recorders Laboratory for download.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with airplane single engine land, and glider ratings. He was the current Canadian National Champion in standard class gliders, and previously represented Canada in the World Championships.

Weather, reported at the airport in Elkins, West Virginia, about 20 nautical miles to the northwest, at 0951, included winds from 320 degrees true at 17 gusting to 31 knots, 10 statute miles (sm) visibility, a few clouds at 1,900 feet above the ground (agl), a broken cloud layer at 2,400 feet agl, an overcast cloud layer at 6,000 feet agl, temperature 30 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 25 degrees F, and an altimeter setting of 29.59 inches of mercury (Hg). Airport elevation was 1,987 feet.

Weather, reported at the airport in Petersburg, West Virginia, about 25 nautical miles to the north, at 0943, included winds from 280 degrees true at 25 gusting to 33 knots, 7 sm visibility, a broken cloud layer at 2,500 feet agl, an overcast cloud layer at 3,300 feet agl, temperature 39 degrees F, dew point 25 degrees F, and an altimeter setting of 29.47 inches Hg. Airport elevation was 963 feet.

Weather, reported at the airport in Staunton, Virginia, about 35 miles to the southeast, at 1003, included winds from 300 degrees true at 16 gusting to 25 knots, 10 sm visibility, clear skies, temperature 43 degrees F, dew point 27 degrees F, and an altimeter setting 29.46 inches Hg. Airport elevation was 1,201 feet.

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA133.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 22, 2007 in Banks, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 6/27/2007
Aircraft: Jiran FJ-1, registration: N366W
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The glider experienced a loss of lift and collided with a bench during a forced landing in a field. A towplane launched the glider, releasing it 4 nautical miles southwest of the departure airport at an altitude of 2,700 msl. The pilot discovered several thermals in the area and ascended to 3,700 feet msl. Shortly thereafter, the glider encountered rain showers and began to lose altitude. Though the bad weather appeared as though it was dissipating, the glider continued to descend. The pilot opted to land in a plowed field. The glider touched down in the field farther down than the pilot anticipated. The pilot did not have a sufficient distance to stop before the glider's right wing collided with a robust bench.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

the pilot's misjudged distance/altitude that led to a failure to attain the proper touchdown point.

LAX07CA133

The glider experienced a loss of lift and collided with a bench during a forced landing in a field. In a written statement, the pilot reported that prior to departure he spoke with a McMinnville Flight Service Station (FSS) briefer. He received a weather forecast indicating that the top of lift was to be 5,300 feet mean sea level (msl).

The pilot further stated that a towplane launched the glider, releasing it 4 nautical miles southwest of the departure airport at an altitude of 2,700 msl. The pilot discovered several thermals in the area and ascended to 3,700 feet msl. Shortly thereafter, the glider encountered rain showers and began to lose altitude. Though the bad weather appeared as though it was dissipating, the glider continued to descend. The pilot opted to land in a plowed field. The glider touched down in the field farther down than the pilot anticipated. The pilot did not have a sufficient distance to stop before the glider's right wing collided with a robust bench.

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA149.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 29, 2007 in Minden, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 7/25/2007
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G102 CLUB ASTIR IIIB, registration: N851BG
Injuries: 1 Minor.

The glider landed 300 yards short of the airport and collided with low vegetation causing substantial damage. When the glider was on downwind, the pilot observed a glider on the runway preparing to depart. He decided to extend his downwind in order to avoid a collision and land instead on an adjacent taxiway. On final approach he realized he would not be able to reach the taxiway. The pilot stated that he had either extended the downwind leg too far, or had encountered sink. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the glider.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

the pilot's misjudgment of distance and altitude that resulted in an undershoot of the runway.

LAX07CA149

On April 29, 2007, about 1540 Pacific daylight time, a Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G102 Club Astir IIIB glider, N851BG, collided with flat desert terrain at the approach end of runway 12 at the Minden Tahoe Airport (MEV) Airport, Minden, Nevada. Soar Minden, Inc., operated the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local area flight departed Minden about 1512. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed; no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated in a written report that he departed Minden with the intention of making a recreational soaring flight. Unable to find any workable lift, he elected to return to the airport and land. When the glider was on downwind the pilot observed a glider on the runway preparing to depart. He decided to extend his downwind and land on the adjacent taxiway. On final approach he realized he would not be able to reach the taxiway and landed the glider 300 yards short in sagebrush. The impact caused cracking of the fuselage and empennage bulkheads, as well as substantial damage to the keel and landing gear. The pilot stated that he had either extended the downwind leg too far, or had encountered sink.

The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the glider.

 

NTSB Identification: DEN07FA089.
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Records Management Division
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 29, 2007 in Castle Rock, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/30/2007
Aircraft: Schleicher Alexander GMBH ASH 26E, registration: N123KS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

According to several witnesses, the self-launching sailplane entered a turn to the left. During the turn, the left wing dropped and the sailplane dove towards the ground. Ground scars at the scene were consistent with a nose low, left wing low, impact attitude. An examination of the glider's systems revealed no anomalies. Thunderstorm activity existed along the route of flight. The pilot had not obtained a full weather briefing prior to the flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control resulting in an inadvertent stall/mush.

DEN07FA089

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 29, 2007, at 1713 mountain daylight time, a Schleicher Alexander GMBH ASH 26E self launching sailplane, N123KS, owned and piloted by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain approximately 5 miles west of Castle Rock, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The local flight originated from Kelly Airpark at 1310.

According to several members of the Black Forest Soaring Society, the accident pilot arrived at the Kelly Airpark with the intention to fly his personal sailplane. The Black Forest Soaring Society tow plane pilot was unable to fly and the accident pilot elected to fly the club tow plane until another tow pilot was available. They estimate he flew for 1 hour.

After conducting 4 tow flights, the accident pilot got into his personal sailplane to fly. According to Black Forest Soaring Society members, 8 to 10 gliders launched from Kelly Airpark the day of the accident. At least five of those gliders, including the accident flight, flew to the west of Kelly Airpark. Three of those flights proceeded as far north as Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The accident flight, and one other glider flew up and down the Front Range.

Several witnesses, just west of Castle Rock, observed a sailplane, matching the description of the accident sailplane, flying in the area. One witness reported observing the sailplane enter a bank to the left. The witness stated that the sailplane leveled off and then initiated a turn to the left again. The witness stated that the left wing dropped, and the nose of the sailplane dove straight to the ground. The sailplane disappeared behind the ridge. Another witness observed the flight from a distance and stated that the sailplane was descending. The witness commented that the first 1,000 feet of the descent "did not seem too fast." He stated further that the last 1,000 feet of altitude loss "took place between 30 seconds and a minute."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 44, held a commercial pilot certificate, with an airplane single engine, multi-engine, glider, and instrument ratings, which was last issued on October 1, 2006. He was issued a second class airman medical certificate on October 23, 2006. The certificate contained the limitation that the "holder shall wear lenses that correct for distant vision while exercising the privileges of his/her airman certificate." According to an instructor with the Black Forest Soaring Society, the pilot obtained a spring currency flight April 14, 2007. The flight duration was 45 minutes.

The aircraft maintenance log was provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (Safety Board) investigator-in-charge (IIC) for review. The pilot had logged his flight experience in the accident sailplane maintenance log, excluding the accident flight, and the flight from the day prior. According to this log, the pilot had no less than 123 hours in the accident sailplane.

The family provided the Safety Board IIC a photocopied page of an aircraft pilot log and a glider pilot log, both appearing to belong to the accident pilot. A review of these flight logs revealed that the accident pilot had logged no less than 1,664 hours total time; 367 hours of which was in gliders.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident sailplane, a Schleicher Alexander GMBH ASH 26E (serial number 26157), was manufactured in 1999. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration on a standard airworthiness certificate for utility category operations. The sailplane was equipped with a Diamond AE50R, rotary engine rated for 50 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. The engine was equipped with a 2-blade, stowable propeller.

The sailplane was registered to and operated by the pilot, and was maintained under an annual inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection had been completed on April 2, 2007, at an airframe total time of 509 hours. The sailplane had flown approximately 6 hours between the last inspection and the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

Weather Radar Data (WSR-88D) (approximately 30 nautical miles northwest of the accident location) scanned the accident area at 1722, 1728, and 1734. Data indicated reflectivity values of 30 to 45 dBz in the accident area round the accident time. Visible satellite and infrared satellite imagery depicted cumulonimbus clouds with cloud top temperatures of minus 41.06 and minus 49.56 degrees Celsius. These temperatures correspond to cloud tops near 31,500 to 35,000 feet mean sea level (msl).

Airman's meteorological information (AIRMET) SIERRA for turbulence and TANGO for icing was valid for Colorado, including the accident sailplane's route of flight. No Significant meteorological information (SIGMET) or Convective SIGMET were issued for the time of the accident. A center weather advisory (CWA) for scattered thunderstorms, with tops from 30,000 to 35,000 feet msl, was issued at 1415 and was valid until 2000. Several pilot reports (PIREPS) had been issued for the Denver area regarding turbulence. Reports given for turbulence included light to moderate turbulence from 7,000 feet to 21,000 feet msl.

The closest official weather observation station was Centennial Airport (APA), Englewood, Colorado, located 7 nautical miles (nm) north northeast of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 5,883 feet msl. The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for APA, issued at 1753, reported, winds, 230 degrees at 17 knots, gusting to 22 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, few 8,000, scattered 13,000, broken 22,000; temperature 21 degrees Celsius (C); dewpoint, 02 degrees C; altimeter, 30.07 inches. The remarks section reported virga distant south through west, cumulonimbus clouds distant south.

Witnesses in the area, around the time of the accident, reported high, gusty surface winds, and thunderstorm activity directly west of the accident location. One witness reported that the sailplane appeared to have come from the thunderstorm. Heavy rain began shortly after the accident. No record of a weather briefing was found with Flight Service Station or Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS).

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) arrived on scene approximately 1900 on April 29, 2007. The accident site was located in sparsely vegetated, hilly terrain at the corner of a ranch. A global positioning system receiver reported the coordinates of the main wreckage as 39 degrees 22 minutes 17.1 seconds north latitude, and 104 degrees 56 minutes 52.7 seconds west longitude. The accident site was at an elevation of 6,105 feet msl and the sailplane impacted on a magnetic heading of 070 degrees.

The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was located to the west of the main wreckage. The FIPC consisted of a ground crater 11 feet long, 4 feet at its widest point, and 8 inches deep. The dirt within the crater was pushed out towards the main wreckage. White paint chips were located within the crater. A second ground scar was located just to the north of the FIPC. This scar was 17 feet in length, 16 inches at its widest point, and was oriented north to south or perpendicular to the FIPC. A third ground scar, located just to the south of the FIPC, was 3 feet long and 4 inches at its widest point. It was oriented in a west to east direction.

A debris path extended from the FIPC to the main wreckage. Paint chips, fiberglass, fragmented Plexiglas, various rubber hoses, portions of the control tubes, and fractured control surfaces were all located within the debris path. The main wreckage was located 100 feet from the FIPC and came to rest on a magnetic heading of 170 degrees. The main wreckage consisted of the left and right wings, portions of the empennage, and the fuselage (to include the engine and propeller assembly). The wreckage came to rest upright.

The front portion of the fuselage, to include the cabin, canopy, and instrument panel was crushed up and aft and was destroyed. The rudder control quadrant separated from the fuselage; the right rudder pedal was crushed aft and the left pedal separated partially from the quadrant. The push tubes for the ailerons and elevator separated from the control stick. The left side solar panel door separated partially from the fuselage. The right door was unremarkable. The propeller was found in the stowed position. The main landing gear separated from the fuselage. The position of the gear could not be confirmed.

The right wing, to include the aileron and flap, remained attached to the fuselage. The outboard portion of the aileron had separated from the wing. The wing flap was crushed and fragmented. The leading edge of the wing was unremarkable. Control continuity to the spoiler, aileron, and flap was confirmed. Due to impact damage, the position of the flap could not be confirmed.

The left wing, to include the aileron and flap, remained partially attached to the fuselage. The wing was partially delaminated and broken 67 inches outboard from the wing root. Eight feet of the outboard portion of the wing separated partially and the aileron was fractured at mid-span. The entire leading edge was crushed aft and fragmented. Control continuity to the spoiler, aileron, and flap was confirmed. Due to impact damage, the position of the flap could not be confirmed.

The empennage, to include the vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, elevator, and rudder separated from the fuselage. The horizontal stabilizer and elevator separated from the empennage and were located approximately 37 feet south of the main wreckage. The control cables for the rudder control remained attached. Control continuity to the elevator and rudder was confirmed.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The autopsy was performed by the Douglas County Coroner's office on May 1, 2007. The autopsy revealed the cause of death "due to head and internal injuries secondary to blunt force trauma." During the autopsy, specimens were collected for toxicological testing to be performed by the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (CAMI Reference #200700094001). Results were negative for all tests conducted.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The sailplane was equipped with a Cambridge Aero Instruments 301/302. The unit was removed from the instrument panel and taken to Kelly Airpark for download of the data. According to the data, the flight began at 1310:05, when the glider departed from Kelly Airpark. The flight proceeded west towards Palmer Lake and then south towards Woodland Park and Florissant. The flight reversed course to the north and proceeded to Grand Lake, just north of Granby, Colorado. The flight then reversed course to the south, back towards Denver, and Castle Rock. The recording ended at 1713:33.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Parties to the investigation included the FAA as represented by an airworthiness inspector from the Denver Flight Standards District Office. The wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company on May 17, 200

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA154.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 10, 2007 in Minden, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 7/25/2007
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G103 Twin II, registration: N49443
Injuries: 1 Minor.

The student pilot stalled the glider and impacted the ground hard about 100 feet short of the 5,300-foot-long runway. The accident occurred while the certified flight instructor (CFI) observed his student perform the 4th landing following her initial solo flight. The CFI reported that his student's first three landings had been somewhat long. Before the student departed on her 4th flight, she stated to him that she would try to land shorter. The CFI reported that the glider appeared to be descending slowly, and when it was about 100 feet short of the approach end of runway 30 it stalled, rapidly descended, and impacted the ground. The wind was light and variable.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed, which led to an inadvertent stall.

LAX07CA154

On May 10, 2007, about 1040 Pacific daylight time, a Burkhart Grob, G103 Twin II, N49443, stalled on short final approach and impacted the ground hard. The accident occurred at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, Minden, Nevada. The glider was substantially damaged, and the pilot received a minor injury. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan had been filed for the local area solo instructional flight. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and it originated from Minden about 1027.

The student held a private pilot certificate, airplane single engine land, and she was working to obtain a glider rating. In the student glider pilot's completed "Aircraft Accident Report," she indicated that on short final approach the glider "encountered heavy sink, lost altitude, and landed 100 feet short of runway." She additionally reported that the accident could have been prevented if she had "more altitude/speed on final."

The student's certified flight instructor (CFI) reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he was monitoring his student's first solo flight, and he witnessed the accident. The CFI stated that his student's first three landings had been somewhat long. Before the student departed on her 4th flight, she stated to him that she would try to land shorter. The CFI reported that the glider appeared to be descending slowly, and when it was about 100 feet short of the approach end of runway 30 it stalled, rapidly descended and impacted the ground.

The student reported to the Safety Board investigator that the wind was light and variable. The CFI reported that he did not detect any wind gust. About 46 minutes after the accident the airport's automated weather observing system reported a calm wind condition.

Runway 30 is 5,300 feet long and 75 feet wide.

 

NTSB Identification: DEN07CA092.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 12, 2007 in Alamogordo, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 6/27/2007
Aircraft: Centrair 101C, registration: N991JB
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The pilot was landing on a dirt strip that parallels the main runway. Surface winds were "light." Approximately 25 to 50 feet above the ground, the pilot encountered a "heavy sink" and realized he was probably going to touch down in a ditch perpendicular to the dirt strip. The glider touched down at the far end of the ditch. The right wing dropped and struck a runway marker causing substantial damage to glider. The glider spun around and came to a stop 120 to 150 feet from the marker.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's inability to control the glider after encountering the downdraft causing the glider to land short of the dirt strip. Factors contributing to the accident were the downdraft and the runway marker.

DEN07CA092

The pilot was landing on the dirt strip that parallels runway 21. Surface winds were "light." Approximately 25 to 50 feet above the ground, the pilot encountered "heavy sink" and realized he was probably going to touch down in a ditch perpendicular to the dirt strip. The glider touched down at the far end of the ditch. The right wing dropped and struck a runway marker. The glider spun around and came to a stop 120 to 150 feet from the marker. The pilot reported no anomalies with the glider prior to the accident. He reported finding a 2 ft. x 2 ft. hole in the right wing leading edge, and several stress cracks and skin delamination on the top and bottom surfaces of the wing. The tail wheel was severed from the fuselage and bent. He said, "wing spar damage and internal fuselage damage were likely."

 

NTSB Identification: NYC07CA118.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 13, 2007 in Franconia, NH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 6/27/2007
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G103, registration: N39783
Injuries: 2 Minor.

After about 2.5 hours of soaring in the Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G-103 glider, the pilot returned to the airport and entered the traffic pattern at 1,200 feet with a "small amount" of spoilers deployed. He turned onto the downwind leg at 800 feet, and used "more spoilers" to descend to 500 feet. He then turned onto the base leg, and at 300 feet and 60 knots airspeed, he turned onto the final leg of the approach and aligned the glider with the runway. He immediately felt the glider had entered rising air, so he performed a full slip with the spoilers deployed; however, the glider did not descend significantly. The pilot waited for the glider to exit the rising air mass, and it continued to descend moderately until about mid-field, when it descended rapidly. The glider touched down about 3/4 down the runway and bounced back into the air. Due to a pile of debris at the end of the runway, the pilot elected to close the spoilers, overfly the debris, and land the glider in the treetops ahead at a slow speed. Before he could accomplish his plan, a crosswind blew the glider towards a tree. The left wing contacted the tree, and the glider subsequently impacted the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to obtain the proper touchdown point. A factor in the accident was an encounter with an updraft while on approach.

NYC07CA118

According to the pilot, after about 2.5 hours of soaring in the Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G-103 glider, he returned to the airport and entered the traffic pattern at 1,200 feet with a "small amount" of spoilers deployed. He turned onto the downwind leg at 800 feet, and used "more spoilers" to descend to 500 feet. He then turned onto the base leg, and at 300 feet and 60 knots airspeed, he turned onto the final leg of the approach and aligned the glider with the runway. He immediately felt the glider had entered rising air, so he performed a full slip with the spoilers deployed; however, the glider did not descend significantly. Due to the proximity of the surrounding trees to the glider, the pilot felt that he could not successfully perform an s-turn or a 360-degree turn to lose energy, and instead felt that he should wait for the glider to exit the rising air mass. The glider continued to descend moderately until about mid-field, when it descended rapidly. The glider touched down about 3/4 down the runway and bounced back into the air. Due to a pile of debris at the end of the runway, the pilot elected to close the spoilers, overfly the debris, and land the glider in the treetops ahead at a slow speed. Before he could accomplish his plan, a crosswind blew the glider towards a tree. The left wing contacted the tree, and the glider subsequently impacted the ground.

 

NTSB Identification: SEA07LA132
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 19, 2007 in Lake Elsinore, CA
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26A, registration: N2707Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On May 19, 2007, about 1404 Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 1-26A glider, N2707Z, sustained substantial damage when it struck a fence during an off-airport landing near Skylark Field Airport, Lake Elsinore, California. The student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The glider was registered to and operated by the Lake Elsinore Soaring Club of Wildomar, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local solo instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 and no flight plan was filed.

Local authorities who responded to the accident site reported that the student pilot stated that he encountered a downdraft while maneuvering to land at Skylark Field Airport and was unable to make it to the airport. They further reported that the student pilot landed the glider in a park about 1/2 mile south of the airport, and during the landing roll, the glider struck a fence and trees.

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA172.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 22, 2007 in Los Alamitos, CA
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS2-33A, registration: N65844
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

On May 22, 2007, at 1555 Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33A, N65844, veered off the runway following a forced landing and struck a truck at the Los Alamitos (SLI) airport, Los Alamitos, California. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) operated the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The glider sustained substantial damage to the nose area. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was originating at the time

LAX07CA172

On May 22, 2007, at 1555 Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33A, N65844, veered off the runway following a forced landing and struck a truck at the Los Alamitos (SLI) airport, Los Alamitos, California. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) operated the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The glider sustained substantial damage to the nose area. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was originating at the time.

According to the pilot, at 300 feet above the ground, the towrope broke. He made turns to land on the dirt runway, but was not able to align the glider with the runway.

According to the CAP representative, a normal winch launch had been initiated. The tow rope broke at a low altitude, and the pilot made a short approach and landing. The glider landed at an angle and skidded off the runway where it struck a truck parked about 75 feet off the runway edge.

 

NTSB Identification: DFW07LA157
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 23, 2007 in Castroville, TX
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33A, registration: N65804
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On May 23, 2007, at approximately 1300 central daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider, N65804, was substantially damage following a loss of control while being towed during takeoff from the Castroville Municipal Airport (T89), near Castroville Texas. The flight instructor (CFI) and the student were not injured during the mishap. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight for which a flight plan was not filed. The local flight was originating a the time of the accident.

The glider student glider, who was occupying the front seat of the glider, reported that the glider was resting on the left wing in tall grass before takeoff. During takeoff, the gliders' acceleration was affected by the drag inflicted on the left wing by tall un-mowed vegetation, causing the glider to veer to the left during takeoff. As the glider continued left towards the cornfield, the flight instructor released the glider from the tow rope causing the aircraft to impact a cornfield.

The flight instructor reported that the left wing tip of the glider was dragged by the tall grass on the left side of the taxiway, causing the glider to veer to the left side.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who traveled to the scene, examined the wreckage. The inspector found that the tow-rope was disconnected on the glider side. A visual inspection of the glider revealed structural damage to the fuselage due to the impact with the tall vegetation.

 

NTSB Identification: LAX07CA176.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 26, 2007 in Mokuleia, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 7/25/2007
Aircraft: I.C.A.-Brasov IS-28B2, registration: N1052Y
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

During a forced landing downwind, the pilot lost directional control and struck an unattended parked glider. He departed under tow using runway 08 with winds reported as 080 degrees at 15 knots with gusts to 21 knots. When he was about 500 feet agl, the tow rope broke; the pilot attempted to make a 360-degree turn to return to runway 08. Once the pilot had made the first 180-degree turn, he realized that he would have to land downwind using runway 26. As the glider slowed after touchdown, the pilot lost directional control and it veered off the runway and collided with an unattended parked glider. The pilot stated that the glider had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

the pilot's inadequate compensation for the gusting tailwind conditions and failure to maintain directional control. The failure of the tow rope during takeoff was also causal.

LAX07CA176

On May 26, 2007, about 1430 Hawaiian standard time, an I.C.A.-Brasov, IS-28B2, N1052Y, collided with a parked unattended glider at Dillingham Airfield, Mokuleia, Hawaii, during a forced landing. North Shore Aircraft Leasing Company, LLC, was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and the one passenger were not injured; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed Mokuleia about 1420. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The approximate global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the primary wreckage were 21 degrees 34.46 minutes north latitude and 158 degrees 11.50 minutes west longitude.

The glider pilot stated in a written report that he departed under tow using runway 08 with winds reported as 080 at 15 knots with gusts to 21 knots. When he was about 500 feet agl, the tow rope broke; the pilot attempted to make a 360-degree turn to return to the runway. Once the pilot had made the 180-degree turn, he realized that he would have to land downwind using runway 26. After touchdown, during the landing rollout, and as the glider slowed down, the pilot lost directional control, and it departed the runway where it struck an unattended parked glider.

The pilot stated that the glider had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.

NTSB Identification: ANC07LA046.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 09, 2007 in Clear, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Schleicher ASK-21, registration: N621CP
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

The flight instructor was conducting student training in the airport traffic pattern under Title 14, CFR Part 91. On short final the dual student deployed full spoilers, resulting in the glider touching down short of the runway. The nose wheel of the glider impacted the edge of the runway threshold, damaging the landing gear attachment and the fuselage.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The dual student's misjudged distance/altitude during the final approach to land, and the flight instructor's inadequate supervision of the student, which resulted in an undershoot, and substantial damage.

about 1004 Alaska daylight time, a Schleicher ASK-21 glider, N621CP, sustained substantial damage when it landed short of the runway at the Clear Airport, Clear, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by Civil Air Patrol Inc, Fairbanks, Alaska, as a visual flight rules (VFR) instructional flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.

In a written statement to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dated July 13, the instructor wrote that he was providing instruction to the student pilot, and that on short final the student deployed full spoilers causing the glider to touch down short of the runway threshold. He wrote that the nose wheel impacted the leading edge of the runway, which damaged the nose wheel mount and fiberglass fuselage. According to the pilot, there were no known mechanical anomalies with the glider prior to the accident.

 

NTSB Identification: SEA07CA175
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 16, 2007 in Wickenburg, AZ
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G102 Std Astir III, registration: N123KG
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The glider pilot was conducting a cross-country flight. Approximately 4 hours into the flight, the pilot experienced a loss of thermal lift. He reversed course and attempted to land on an uncharted airstrip. During the forced landing, wind gusts and a tailwind were present. On final approach, "a strong gust/windshear" moved the glider to the right side of the runway. The right wing impacted a cactus tree and sustained substantial damage. The pilot said that there were no mechanical malfunctions.

 

NTSB Identification: SEA07CA162
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 16, 2007 in Minden, NV
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-3DM, registration: N374AM
Injuries: 1 Minor.

The pilot of the motor glider reported that he had been airborne on a local soaring flight for about 30 minutes when the flight encountered "severe downdrafts." Due to the downdrafts, he was unable to return to the airport and had to land in an alfalfa field. During the landing roll, the glider collided with a ditch and a fence that were not visible during the landing approach.

NTSB Identification: NYC07CA151.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 27, 2007 in Warren, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/31/2007
Aircraft: LET Super Blanik L-23, registration: N8022
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

The LET Super Blanik L23 flight instructor and a student pilot were towed to 2,700 feet above the airport, where the student pilot performed a series of maneuvers. Afterwards, the student pilot descended the glider toward a midfield downwind entry, about 1,500 feet above the airport. While descending, turbulence from an approaching rain shower increased, so the flight instructor took the controls. The flight instructor flew the remainder of the downwind leg, followed by a base leg, at 70 knots with full spoilers deployed since the glider would not descend. Turning onto final, while heading into the wind, the glider experienced an "extremely strong" sink rate, from which, the flight instructor could not recover. The glider subsequently landed hard about 100 feet short of the runway causing substantial damage. Shortly after the landing, light rain fell on the airport, and there was thunder in the distance. Ten minutes later, there was lightning 2 miles southeast of the airport, and the winds dropped and remained at less than 10 knots the rest of the afternoon. The flight instructor reported over 9,600 hours of flight time with 3,700 hours as a pilot in command of gliders.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The glider's inadvertent encounter with windshear. A factor was the outflow from a nearby thunderstorm.

NYC07CA151

According to the LET Super Blanik L23 flight instructor, he and a student pilot were towed to 2,700 feet above the airport, where the student pilot performed a series of maneuvers. Afterwards, the student pilot descended the glider toward a midfield downwind entry, about 1,500 feet above the airport. While descending, turbulence from an approaching rain shower increased, so the flight instructor took the controls. The flight instructor flew the remainder of the downwind leg, followed by a base leg, at 70 knots with full spoilers deployed since the glider would not descend. Turning onto final, while heading into the wind, the glider experienced an "extremely strong" sink rate, from which, the flight instructor could not recover. The glider subsequently landed hard about 100 feet short of the runway causing substantial damage. Shortly after the landing, light rain fell on the airport, and there was thunder in the distance. Ten minutes later, there was lightning about 2 miles southeast of the airport, and the winds dropped and remained at less than 10 knots the rest of the afternoon. The flight instructor reported over 9,600 hours of flight time with 3,700 hours as a pilot in command of gliders.

 

NTSB Identification: NYC07LA155
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 01, 2007 in Centre Hall, PA
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau Speed Astir II, registration: N176SS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The accident glider was under tow for takeoff when the accident occurred. The glider lifted off before the tow airplane and then ascended to between 20 and 50 feet above the ground very quickly, and at a "high" angle of attack. The glider then yawed to the left and the left wing dropped before it began a slow roll to the right. The glider continued to roll right until it reached an attitude where the wings were perpendicular to the ground. It then sank down until the right wing impacted the ground. The glider "cart wheeled" onto its nose before coming to rest inverted. Examination of the glider revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies, and that the tow rope disconnected at the glider end at some point during the accident sequence. Toxicological testing of the pilot revealed the presence of a prescription antidepressant. The extent to which the drug may have affected the pilot, if at all, could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's inability to maintain control of the glider for undetermined reasons.


On July 1, 2007, about 1600 eastern daylight time, a Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau Speed Astir II, N176SS, was substantially damaged when it impacted the runway while being towed for takeoff from Centre Airpark (N16), Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Mifflin County Airport (RVL), Reedsville, Pennsylvania. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot of the tow airplane, the purpose of the accident flight was to tow the glider aloft so that the glider pilot could return to RVL. The tow pilot conducted a preflight briefing with the glider pilot on tow procedures prior to the takeoff, and the glider was connected to the tow airplane without any difficulties.

After establishing radio contact, the glider pilot and the tow airplane pilot agreed to start the takeoff from runway 6. The tow airplane pilot watched the glider in his mirror, and initially it appeared to be in a wings level attitude and directly behind the tow airplane during the takeoff roll. After raising the tow airplane's tailwheel off the ground, he felt a slight yaw, but did not feel this was unusual given the wind conditions. He then felt a distinct loss of drag, which he felt was consistent with a disconnect or breakage of the tow rope. The airplane's main wheels remained on the ground during these events. As he could no longer see the glider in the mirror with the tailwheel raised, he elected to continue the takeoff in order to clear the runway. Upon returning to the airport, he observed that the glider way laying inverted on the runway.

Two members of a radio control aircraft club were at the airport when they witnessed the accident flight. They both recounted a similar series of events during a telephone interview. According to the witnesses, the glider was connected to the tow airplane during the takeoff roll. The glider lifted off before the tow airplane and then ascended to between 20 and 50 feet above the ground very quickly, and at a "high" angle of attack. The glider then yawed to the left and the left wing dropped before it began a slow roll to the right. The glider continued to roll right until it reached an attitude where the wings were perpendicular to the ground. It then sank down until the right wing impacted the ground. The glider "cart wheeled" onto its nose before coming to rest inverted.

Both witnesses reported that there was a direct crosswind present at the time of the accident, and estimated that the velocity was around 10 knots. One of the witnesses added that there were routinely crosswinds at the airport, and that it was not uncommon to see gliders being towed in crosswinds up to 17 knots.

Following the accident the tow airplane pilot and one of the witnesses inspected the tow cable and attach fittings and found that they were intact and undamaged.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage following the accident. He found that the tow rope was disconnected on the glider side of the rope. A visual inspection of the tow airplane, the airplane's tow rope mechanism, the tow rope, the glider's tow rope mechanism, and the glider's flight controls revealed no discrepancies.

The glider pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for glider and airplane single engine land. Her most recent application for an FAA third class medical certificate was dated February 7, 2005, and on that date she reported 130 total hours of flight experience.

The weather conditions reported at University Park Airport (UNV), State College, Pennsylvania, about 8 nautical miles west of the accident site, at 1600, included winds from 330 degrees at 5 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 8,000 feet, temperature 73 degrees Fahrenheit, dewpoint 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury.

NTSB Identification: ATL07CA101.
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14 CFR Part 91: General AviationAccident occurred Sunday, July 01, 2007 in Freehold, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/31/2007
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Discus-CS, registration: N42CA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The pilot stated that the takeoff was normal. His glider and the tow plane were on the initial climb out. During the climb they began to encounter heavy turbulence. At 200 feet AGL he continued to encounter heavy turbulence and bumped his head twice against the canopy. He inadvertently hit the release cable handle at a low altitude, and disconnected from the tow plane. He attempted to return to the airport and collided with trees after losing lift. The pilot did not report any flight control anomalies with the glider.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's inadvertent activation of the tow release handle at a low altitude following an encounter with turbulence.

 

That the take-off was normal his glider and the tow plane were on the initial climb out. During the climb they began to encounter heavy turbulence. At 200 feet AGL he continued to encounter heavy turbulence and bumped his head twice against the canopy. He inadvertently hit the release cable handle at a low altitude, and disconnected from the tow plane. He attempted to return to the airport and collided with trees after losing lift. The pilot did not report any flight control anomalies with the glider.

 

TSB Identification: LAX07CA206.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 05, 2007 in Bridgeport, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/30/2007
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Ventus-2C, registration: N11YD
Injuries: 1 Minor.

The glider landed short of the runway after encountering unfavorable wind conditions. According to the pilot and data retrieved from an on-board data recorder, heavy sink was experienced while the pilot maneuvered in the pattern to land, which reduced the glide ratio from 50:1 to 10:1. With inadequate altitude to compensate for the sink, the glider impacted a berm in the rough terrain several hundred feet short of the runway, whereupon it nosed over.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's encounter with an unfavorable wind and high sink rate conditions.

LAX07CA206

On July 5, 2007, at 1617 Pacific daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Ventus-2C, N11YD, made an off field landing and nosed over in Bridgeport, California. The glider was substantially damaged, and the private pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the personal flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The glider was operated by the pilot. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and it originated from Truckee, California, about 1330.

The pilot of a tow plane reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that the pilot was considered to be extremely experienced and was familiar with the area. The tow pilot released the accident glider over the Truckee Airport, about 1,600 feet above the ground.

The pilot reported to the Safety Board investigator that while soaring an unfavorable wind was encountered. He attempted to land at the Bridgeport airport, but upon experiencing "heavy sink," the glider touched down in rough terrain a few hundred feet short of runway 34. The glider impacted a berm.

The pilot reported that in still air his glider has a glide ratio of about 50:1. According to his data logger, on final approach during the accident flight his glide ratio had decreased to about 10:1.

 

NTSB Identification: MIA07LA121
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 14, 2007 in Unionville, PA
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau G102 ASTIR CS, registration: N775SS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On July 14, 2007, at 1745 eastern daylight time, a Burkhart Grob Flugzeugbau, G102 ASTIR CS, N775SS, registered to Knauff & Grove Inc. and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed while on approach to land at Ridge Soaring Gliderport, Unionville, Pennsylvania. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The private-rated pilot received fatal injuries, and the glider incurred substantial damage. The flight originated earlier that day, about 1640, from the same gliderport.

Witnesses stated that they observed the glider flying on the downwind leg after hearing the pilot's radio call that he was entering the landing pattern. The downwind leg and the turn onto base leg were performed at a steady airspeed and an appropriate, nose-below-the-horizon, attitude at perhaps 200 feet above the trees along the ridge-line. As the glider finished the base leg turn, the nose of the glider pitched suddenly and rapidly down so the glider was in a vertical attitude, which it held for some three seconds, as it disappeared into the forest. There was no attempt to raise the nose before the glider entered the trees. The glider was suspended in the tops of the trees as rescue personnel arrived.

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NTSB Identification: CHI07CA233.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 20, 2007 in Northfield, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/30/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-35C, registration: N135EX
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The glider was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing. The pilot stated that as he was returning from a flight about 7 miles west of the departure airport, he encountered heavy sink and found himself at 1,100 feet above ground level. The pilot then elected to make an off-airport landing to a cow pasture. He stated that his approach was "somewhat high, and [he] had to lose altitude while rapidly approaching the upslope terrain with a dirt/rock pile at the far end." The pilot stated that he pitched up to either lose speed, or avoid the dirt/rock pile, causing the glider to balloon. The glider then stalled about 5 to 10 feet above the ground and bounced "very hard." The glider's fuselage was subsequently found to have damage to the bulkhead and skins.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in a stall during the off-airport landing. A factor contributing to the accident was the dirt/rock pile.

CHI07CA233

The glider was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing. The pilot stated that as he was returning from a flight about 7 miles west of the departure airport, he encountered heavy sink and found himself at 1,100 feet above ground level. The pilot then elected to make an off-airport landing to a cow pasture. He stated that his approach was "somewhat high, and [he] had to lose altitude while rapidly approaching the upslope terrain with a dirt/rock pile at the far end." The pilot stated that he pitched up to either lose speed, or avoid the dirt/rock pile, causing the glider to balloon. The glider then stalled about 5 to 10 feet above the ground and bounced "very hard." The glider's fuselage was subsequently found to have damage to the bulkhead and skins.

NTSB Identification: MIA07CA125.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 21, 2007 in Big Flats, NY
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26E, registration: N2768H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

Pilot stated that he was towed up to 3,700 feet mean sea level (msl) and released. He was up for approximately 1.45 hours and then found himself 3 miles south of the airport at 2,000 feet msl. During the approach to the airport, he encountered a gusty headwind and lost altitude. He realized too late that he wasn't going to have enough altitude to make it to the airport. The glider collided with trees and dropped to the ground about 100 meters south of the intended airport.

MIA07CA125

Pilot stated that he was towed up to 3,700 feet mean sea level (msl) and released. He was up for approximately 1.45 hours and then found himself 3 miles south of the airport at 2,000 feet msl. During the approach to the airport, he encountered a gusty headwind and lost altitude. He realized too late that he wasn't going to have enough altitude to make it to the airport. The glider collided with trees and dropped to the ground about 100 meters south of the intended airport.

NTSB Identification: NYC07CA172.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 22, 2007 in Windsor, VA
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26C, registration: N2743Z
Injuries: 1 Minor.

According to the pilot of the Schweizer SGS 1-26C glider, while returning from a local flight he realized that the glider did not have enough altitude to reach the airport. He identified a farm field to perform a forced landing to. While on approach to the field, and while gliding over trees, the glider was "hit by a gust of wind," and entered the tree tops while traveling about 50 mph. The left wing struck a large tree, turning the glider 180 degrees, before the nose pitched down and impacted the forest floor. The pilot reported no mechanical deficiencies of the glider, and reported that the winds were "very gusty" on the day of the accident.

NYC07CA172

According to the pilot of the Schweizer SGS 1-26C glider, while returning from a local flight he realized that the glider did not have enough altitude to reach the airport. He identified a farm field to perform a forced landing to. While on approach to the field, and while gliding over trees, the glider was "hit by a gust of wind," and entered the tree tops while traveling about 50 mph. The left wing struck a large tree, turning the glider 180 degrees, before the nose pitched down and impacted the forest floor. The pilot reported no mechanical deficiencies of the glider, and reported that the winds were "very gusty" on the day of the accident.

NTSB Identification: CHI07CA232.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 26, 2007 in Warrensburg, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/30/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33A, registration: N33950
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

The glider impacted terrain during an approach to land. The certified flight instructor (CFI) stated that the glider was towed to 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL) before releasing from the tow plane, after which soaring maneuvers and turns were performed. The glider then entered the traffic pattern at 1,000 feet AGL. When the glider turned to the base leg, the CFI noticed that it was "above glide path" and he performed 360 degree turns to lose altitude and "give time for second glider to launch." The CFI stated that while on final approach the glider rolled "abruptly" to the right at approximately 80 degrees of bank and began to descend. The CFI recovered just above the ground and then noticed that the glider was heading toward a fence line. The glider was able to climb over the fence and began a turn toward the airport. The pilot reported that the glider "stalled" and impacted terrain as he attempted to maneuver the glider over a second fence line.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The flight instructor's failure to maintain adequate airspeed and aircraft control, which resulted in a stall while on final approach. A factor in the accident were the two fences.

CHI07CA232

The glider was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an approach to land. The certified flight instructor (CFI) stated that the glider was towed to 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL) before releasing from the tow plane, after which soaring maneuvers and turns were performed. The glider then entered the traffic pattern at 1,000 feet AGL. When the glider turned to the base leg, the CFI noticed that it was "above glide path" and he performed 360 degree turns to lose altitude and "give time for second glider to launch." The CFI stated that while on final approach the glider rolled "abruptly" to the right at approximately 80 degrees of bank and began to descend. The CFI recovered just above the ground and then noticed that the glider was heading toward a fence line. The glider was able to climb over the fence and began a turn toward the airport. The pilot reported that the glider "stalled" and impacted terrain as he attempted to maneuver the glider over a second fence line.

NTSB Identification: SEA07FA231
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 10, 2007 in Benton, CA
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Ventus CM, registration: N41BM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On August 10, 2007, at approximately 1415 Pacific daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Ventus CM glider, N41BM, was destroyed upon impact with mountainous terrain in the Inyo National Forest, near Benton, California. The private pilot, the sole occupant in the glider, was fatally injured. The pilot/owner was operating the glider under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the round-robin cross-country flight that had originated at Minden, Nevada, at approximately 1300. No flight plan had been filed.

Friends of the pilot said that five gliders departed Minden, Nevada, with the intention of flying to Keeler, California, located at the south end of the White Mountains and returning to Minden, Nevada. In the accident pilot's last transmission to the other glider pilots, at approximately 1400, he stated that he was at 16,700 feet and heading for Boundary Peak, which is at the north end of the White Mountains. The accident site was located from the air, by members of the Minden Soaring Club, on August 12, 2007.

NTSB Identification: LAX07LA257
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2007 in Heber, UT
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus, registration: N62305
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On August 25, 2007, about 1630 mountain daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus glider, N62305, departed from controlled flight and collided with terrain while on approach to Heber City Municipal Airport (Russ McDonald Filed), Heber, Utah. The pilot, who was additionally a co-owner, was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The glider sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed from Heber about 1545. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

In an interview with a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, another co-owner of the accident glider stated that the pilot departed Heber about 1545 with utilization of a tow plane. The glider was released in the vicinity of Wellsburg Valley.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage the day after the accident and spoke to several witnesses. He stated that witnesses observed the glider approaching the airport. The glider was configured with the spoilers in the extended (open) position. While on approach, the glider stalled and spun into the desert terrain below.

NTSB Identification: SEA07LA250.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 31, 2007 in Morgan, UT
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33, registration: N5731S
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured.

On August 31, 2007, approximately 1350 mountain daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33 glider, N5731S, sustained substantial damage following a loss of control and subsequent impact with trees while on approach to landing at the Morgan County Airport (42U), Morgan, Utah. The certificated commercial pilot received minor injuries, and the student pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed 42U about 1300.

SEA07LA250

On August 31, 2007, approximately 1350 mountain daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33 glider, N5731S, sustained substantial damage following a loss of control and subsequent impact with trees while on approach to landing at the Morgan County Airport (42U), Morgan, Utah. The certificated commercial pilot received minor injuries, and the student pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed 42U about 1300.

In a statement submitted to the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the flight instructor reported that on short final to Runway 21 the aircraft encountered a gust of wind, which lifted the tail and rolled the glider to the right. The flight instructor stated that by the time he was able to level the wings he was right of the runway centerline and headed toward a group of large bushes/trees, which were also off the right side of the runway. The flight instructor further stated that the airplane's right wing subsequently impacted a tree, which resulted in the airplane flipping over and coming to rest inverted; the impact force to the right wing resulted in substantial damage to the glider. The flight instructor estimated that the wind at the time of the accident was from 240 degrees and between 10 to 15 knots.

NTSB Identification: CHI07CA291.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 01, 2007 in Alliance, OH
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33A, registration: N65832
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

The pilot reported he normally sets the altimeter to zero prior to takeoff. The pilot reported he was distracted during the preflight and he forgot to reset the altimeter which was set to field elevation, approximately 1,000 feet. This resulted in the pilot releasing from the tow 1,000 feet lower than what he thought he was. The pilot stated the glider hit the tops of trees while on final approach.

CHI07CA291

The pilot reported he normally sets the altimeter to zero prior to takeoff. The pilot reported he was distracted during the preflight and he forgot to reset the altimeter which was set to field elevation, approximately 1,000 feet. This resulted in the pilot releasing from the tow 1,000 feet lower than what he thought he was. The pilot stated the glider hit the tops of trees while on final approach.

NTSB Identification: DEN07LA152
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 02, 2007 in Hutchinson, KS
Aircraft: Slingsby Swallow Type T.45, registration: N7476
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On September 2, 2007, approximately 1555 central daylight time, a Slingsby Swallow Type T.45 glider, N7476, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain following a loss of control during takeoff from the Sunflower Aerodrome Gliderport (SN76), Hutchinson, Kansas. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was seriously injured. The aircraft was registered to Wichita Soaring Association, Inc., Wichita, Kansas, and operated by the pilot. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness, the glider encountered "pilot induced oscillations while being towed during takeoff climb." Subsequently, the glider released from the tow plane, turned 180 degrees back toward the airport, "got low and slow," and impacted the terrain.

The husband of the pilot involved in the accident had flown the glider prior to the accident flight and reported no anomalies.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the glider came to rest inverted. The forward fuselage was destroyed, and both wings were separated from the airframe.

At 1552, the automated weather observation from Hutchinson Municipal Airport, located approximately 9 miles north of the accident site, reported variable winds at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 32 degrees Celsius, dew point 11 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of Mercury.

NTSB Identification: MIA07CA151.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 12, 2007 in Morganton, NC
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-24E, registration: N24WR
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The pilot stated that after being towed aloft, light winds and light lift existed. He elected to return because he was not flying well, and while turning base to final, the left wing contacted the ground. He further reported that the traffic pattern was entered too low, and the airspeed was not maintained. Additionally, he had not flown the glider in the previous 2 years, and his "Lack of recent flying time is the major factor resulting in poor decisions on landing resulting in major damage to the glider."

MIA07CA151

The pilot stated that after being towed aloft, light winds and light lift existed. He elected to return because he was not flying well, and while turning base to final, the left wing contacted the ground. He further reported that the traffic pattern was entered too low, and the airspeed was not maintained. Additionally, he had not flown the glider in the previous 2 years, and his "Lack of recent flying time is the major factor resulting in poor decisions on landing resulting in major damage to the glider.

NTSB Identification: LAX08CA003.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2007 in Hemet, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: LET Blanik L-13, registration: N510CS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The pilot encountered a loss of lift during the latter part of the pattern and subsequently collided with the airport boundary fence on final approach. The pilot stated that during the downwind leg, he partially deployed the flaps, and partially opened the air brake. He encountered a significant loss of lift on the final leg, but could not recall whether he closed the air brake. A photograph taken immediately after the accident by the pilot's flight instructor showed the air brake to be open, with the flaps deployed. The pilot was checked out by his flight instructor to fly the L-13 glider earlier that day. The accident flight was his first solo flight in this glider type.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to maintain a proper descent rate due to his failure to close the air brake and/or partially retract the flaps during an encounter with lost lift on final approach.

LAX08CA003

On October 6, 2007, about 1400 Pacific daylight time, a LET Blanik L-13, N510CS, collided with an airport boundary fence during final approach near Hemet, California. Orange County Soaring Association was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local area personal flight departed Hemet-Ryan Airport about 1300. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

In a written report, the pilot stated that he encountered a significant loss of lift during the latter part of the pattern, and subsequently collided with the airport boundary fence.

An FAA investigator interviewed the pilot after the accident. The pilot stated that during the downwind leg, he partially deployed the flaps, and partially opened the air brake. He stated that he encountered a significant loss of lift on the final leg, but could not recall whether he closed the air brake.

A photograph taken immediately after the accident by the pilot's flight instructor showed the air brake to be open. The flaps were deployed.

The pilot was checked out by his flight instructor to fly the L-13 glider earlier that day. The accident flight was his first solo flight since the checkout.

NTSB Identification: MIA08LA002
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2007 in Toughkenamon, PA
Aircraft: Bellanca 7GCAA, registration: N8642V
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On October 6, 2007, at 1025 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCAA, N8642V, registered to Brandywine Soaring Association, Inc, and operated by the commercial pilot, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from the New Garden Airport, in Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post-crash fire. The pilot received fatal injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness, the airplane was taking off towing a glider. As they proceeded down the runway gaining airspeed the tailwheel of the towplane began to shimmy back and forth. The towplane seemed to go straight with the shimmying for at least a hundred feet or so and then began to veer off the right side of the runway. The glider released the tow rope and continued straight down the runway. The towplane continued off the right side of the runway into the grass. At some point the towplane became airborne and it's wings appeared to be level at that time. Its heading was towards the trees and the towplane made a steep climb. The left wing turned over the right wing and it headed almost straight nose down toward the ground. It appeared to be turning when the witness lost site of it. He did not see the impact. The witness, ran to the main airport office to advise them of the crash.

Examination of the airplane by an FAA Inspector found the airplane in a nose down attitude and consumed by the post-crash fire.

MIA08LA002

On October 6, 2007, at 1025 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCAA, N8642V, registered to Brandywine Soaring Associates Incorporated, crashed while attempting to takeoff with a glider in tow at the New Garden Airport (N57), Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial pilot was killed, and the airplane sustained substantial damage by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operated for the purpose of glider towing under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident.

Several witnesses stated that the airplane was taking off towing a glider. As they proceeded down the runway gaining airspeed, the tailwheel of the airplane began to shimmy back and forth. The airplane seemed to go straight with the shimmying for at least 100 hundred feet or so and then began to veer right. The glider pilot released the towrope and continued straight down the runway. The airplane continued off the right side of the runway onto grass with the tailwheel on the ground. The airplane then became airborne, and with trees ahead, made a steep climb. The airplane then rolled right and entered a near vertical descent. The witness added that the airplane appeared to be turning when he lost sight of it. He did not see the impact. The witness then ran to the airport office to advise of the crash.

The pilot, age 63, held a commercial pilot certificate, issued December 28, 2005, with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent medical, a third-class medical certificate, was issued on April 17, 2006, which required the pilot to wear corrective lenses. A review of the pilot’s logbook found that he had accumulated 1,344 hours of total flight time with 20 total hours in the accident airplane make and model.

The two-seat, high wing, fixed tailwheel airplane, was manufactured in 1975, it was powered by a Lycoming O-320-A2B, 150-horsepower engine. The airplane’s logbooks were not recovered.

Examination of the airplane by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found the airplane in a nose down attitude and consumed by the postcrash fire. At the conclusion of a limited examination (due to extensive postcrash fire damage) of the airframe and engine, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions were identified.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on October 7, 2007, by Richard T. Callery, M.D., Forensic, Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Newark, Delaware. The autopsy findings reported the cause of death as; Inhalation of products of combustion and extensive fourth degree thermal burns covering 100 percent of external body surfaces.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Aeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that no Carbon Monoxide, Cyanide, Ethanol or Drugs were detected in the pilot’s blood.

NTSB Identification: SEA08CA011.
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 15, 2007 in Tehachapi, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33A, registration: N17888
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This was the pilot's first solo glider flight. He made a standard entry into the traffic pattern for a landing approach. He noted some turbulence that caused a decrease in altitude. On the final leg, the pilot attempted a slight correction to align with the runway. The right wing tip collided with a wire fence and the glider came to rest facing the fence approximately 50 feet short of the runway. The instructor of the accident pilot, and several witnesses, noted that the traffic pattern was flown lower than normal. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's misjudged distance/altitude that led to an undershoot, and his failure to attain the proper touchdown point.

SEA08CA011

On October 15, 2007, about 1140 Pacific daylight time, a Schweitzer SGS 2-33A glider, N17888, collided with a fence during landing at Mountain Valley Airport, Tehachapi, California. Skylark North was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot undergoing instruction was not injured. The glider sustained substantial damage. The local flight departed Mountain Valley about 1100. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

In a written report to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot stated that this was his first solo glider flight. The departure, climb, and release were all conducted without incident. After a short flight, he headed back towards the airport and made a standard entry into the traffic pattern. He noted some turbulence on the downwind leg, which caused a decrease in altitude, and he continued the normal approach. On the final leg, the pilot attempted a slight correction to align with the runway. He noted more turbulence at this point, which caused a large decrease in altitude and the right wing tip collided with a wire fence. The glider came to rest facing the fence approximately 50 feet from the runway. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine.

The instructor of the accident pilot submitted a written statement to the Safety Board. He confirmed that the three previous instructional flights covered basic maneuvers, including normal approach and landing. After the third satisfactory flight, he endorsed the student for solo flight. The instructor witnessed the solo flight and noted that the traffic pattern was flown slightly low.

Several other witnesses also reported to the Safety Board that the glider was low during the traffic pattern and landing. The witnesses said the glider appeared low when compared to other airplanes flying the same pattern. They also noted that the glider had a large bank angle to the right while at a low altitude before landing.

The closest official weather observation station was in Mojave, California (MHV), which was located 14 nm east of the accident site. An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for Mojave issued at 1155 stated the winds were from 180 degrees at 15 knots.

NTSB Identification: DEN08LA017
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 26, 2007 in Salida, CO
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Ventus B/16.6, registration: N36LB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On October 26, 2007, approximately 1400 mountain daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Ventus B/16.6 glider, N36LB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Salida, Colorado. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant and registered owner of the glider, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight departed the Harriet Alexander Field Airport (ANK), Salida, Colorado, approximately 1330.

According to local authorities, the glider was towed by an airplane from ANK to an altitude of 11,800 feet mean sea level (msl) approximately 7 miles south of Salida. After the glider released from the tow airplane, the tow airplane returned to ANK to tow another glider to join the accident glider. When the tow airplane returned with the other glider, the tow airplane and other glider attempted to contact the accident glider via radio. The attempts to the contact the accident glider were unsuccessful. The weather at the time of the accident was reported as clear sky and light winds.

At 2215, an Alert Notice was issued by the Prescott Flight Service Station, Prescott, Arizona, for the accident glider. On October 27th at 2100, the Civil Air Patrol located the glider wreckage in tree-covered mountainous terrain approximately 7 miles south of Salida.

The accident site was located at 38 degrees 27.332 minutes north latitude and 106 degrees 01.338 minutes west longitude, at an elevation of approximately 11,550 feet. According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, who responded the accident site, the forward fuselage and both wings were fragmented and destroyed. A flight data recorder was recovered from the wreckage and retained for further examination.

 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering resulting in an inadvertent stall and impact with terrain.

DEN08LA017

 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

 

On October 26, 2007, approximately 1340 mountain daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Ventus B/16.6 glider, N36LB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Salida, Colorado. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant and registered owner of the glider, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The local flight departed the Harriet Alexander Field (ANK), Salida, Colorado, approximately 1314.

 

According to local authorities, the glider was towed by an airplane from ANK to an altitude of 11,800 feet mean sea level (msl) approximately 7 miles south of Salida. At 1327, the glider released from the tow airplane, and the tow airplane returned to ANK to tow another glider that was to join the accident glider. At 1339, when the tow airplane returned with the other glider, the tow airplane and other glider attempted to contact the accident glider via radio. The attempts to contact the accident glider were unsuccessful. The weather at the time of the accident was reported as sky clear and light winds.

 

At 2215, an Alert Notice was issued by the Prescott Flight Service Station, Prescott, Arizona, for the accident glider. On October 27th at 2100, the Civil Air Patrol located the glider wreckage in tree-covered mountainous terrain approximately 7 miles south of Salida.

 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

 

The pilot, age 53, held a private pilot certificate with a glider rating. The pilot did not hold a current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued medical certificate. According to CFR Part 61.23 (b), Operations Not Requiring a Medical Certificate, a person is not required to hold a valid medical certificate if they are exercising the privileges of a pilot certificate with a glider category or balloon class rating.

 

A review of the pilot records provided by the pilot's insurance company revealed that as of June 2007, the pilot had accumulated 621.0 total glider flight hours, and 180.0 total hours in the accident glider. The pilot's most recent flight review was completed on September 30, 2006.

 

According to the insurance records, on June 23, 2007, the pilot was involved in an off-airport landing in the accident glider. The forced landing was performed because the pilot was "unable to locate sufficient lift to remain airborne." During the landing to a field, the left wing tip contacted vegetation and the glider ground-looped. The glider sustained minor damage, and the repairs were completed on June 30, 2007.

 

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

 

The Schempp-Hirth Ventus B/16.6, serial number 239, was a single-seat, high performance, flap-equipped, T-tail glider. The glider was registered to the pilot on February 7, 2003. A review of the most recent glider logbook revealed that a conditional inspection was conducted on March 24, 2007, at a total airframe time of 1,637.2 hours. The total airframe time of the glider at the time of the accident could not be determined.

 

The glider was 21.59 feet in length. The four-piece wing had a triple trapezoid planform. The wingspan was 54.46 feet and the wing area was 107.21 square feet, which equated to an aspect ratio of 27.7. The trailing edge airbrakes were a combination of flaps and spoilers. The glider's maximum gross weight was 948 pounds.

 

The glider flight manual stated that the stall speed in straight flight was between 33 and 48 knots (kts) dependent upon the configuration and weight. A stall warning occurs "2 or 3 kt above stalling speed and is indicated by a slight buffeting and increasing vibration in the control system when pulled further back. Ailerons get spongy and the sailplane tends to slight pitching motions."

 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

 

At 1328, the Monarch Pass (MYP) automated weather observing system (AWOS), located approximately 10 miles west of the accident site, reported the wind from 260 degrees at 14 knots, gusting to 20 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 8 degrees Celsius, dew point minus 10 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.54 inches of Mercury.

 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

 

The accident site was located in mountainous tree-covered terrain at 38 degrees 27.332 minutes north latitude and 106 degrees 01.338 minutes west longitude, at an elevation of approximately 11,550 feet. According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, who responded the accident site, the forward fuselage and both wings were fragmented and destroyed. The glider "appeared to have entered the trees in a nose-low vertical attitude."

 

A flight data recorder was recovered from the wreckage and sent to the manufacturer for data downloading. Upon receipt of the recorder, the manufacturer informed the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) that the data on the recorder had been erased during the accident and was not retrievable.

 

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

 

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by the El Paso County Coroner's office on October 30, 2007. According to the autopsy report, the probable cause of death was from "multiple injuries." Specimens were retained for toxicological analysis by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute's (CAMI) Forensic and Accident Research Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological analysis results were negative for all screened drug substances. Tests revealed 54, 74, and 5 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol were detected in the liver, muscle, and blood, respectively.

 

TESTS AND RESEARCH

 

On November 14, 2007, the glider wreckage was examined by the NTSB IIC at the facilities of Beegles Aircraft Services, Greeley, Colorado. Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces. No anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation.