NTSB Identification: BFO94LA083.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 01, 1994 in FAIRFIELD, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/12/1995
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth VENTUS-C, registration: N166W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT REPORTED THAT THE GLIDER SUDDENLY PITCHED UP AS HE DESCENDED THROUGH THE 'START GATE' AT A GLIDER COMPETITION. HE ADMITTED THAT THE PITCH-UP WAS 'PROBABLY PILOT INDUCED.' HE STATED THAT HE THEN HEARD A LOUD CRACKING NOISE AND HIS HAND-HELD RADIO FELL LOOSE IN THE COCKPIT. HE ATTEMPTED TO RETRIEVE THE RADIO, BUT IT BROKE THROUGH THE CANOPY. THE PILOT DECIDED TO EXIT THE AIRPLANE AFTER FAILED ATTEMPTS TO REGAIN CONTROL. HE RELEASED HIMSELF FROM THE SEAT RESTRAINTS AND FELL THROUGH THE PLEXIGLASS CANOPY. HE DEPLOYED HIS PARACHUTE AND LANDED IN A TREE, AND THEN FELL FROM THE TREE ONTO THE GROUND, CAUSING SERIOUS INJURIES. THE UNMANNED GLIDER IMPACTED TERRAIN INVERTED AND WAS SUBSTANTIALLY DAMAGED. NO MECHANICAL MALFUNCTIONS WITH THE FLIGHT CONTROLS, CANOPY, OR SEAT RESTRAINT SYSTEMS WERE FOUND.

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

THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE AIRPLANE DURING THE MANEUVER.

Full narrative available

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