NTSB Identification: LAX95LA123.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 26, 1995 in JEAN, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/31/1995
Aircraft: BURKHART GROB G102 ASTIR CS, registration: N57GE
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

THUNDERSTORMS AND LIGHTNING WERE OBSERVED WEST OF THE AIRPORT. GROUND WITNESSES REPORTED THAT THE GLIDER ACHIEVED ABOUT 300 FEET AGL DURING THE TAKEOFF ON RUNWAY 20 BY AUTO TOW. INSTEAD OF COMPLETING A NORMAL PITCH UP TO INCREASE ALTITUDE, THE PILOT RELEASED THE TOW LINE, FLEW TO THE DEPARTURE END OF THE RUNWAY IN A DESCENT, AND WAS PERFORMING A 270-DEGREE LEFT TURN TO LAND ON A SHORT CROSSWIND RUNWAY WHEN THE LEFT WING TIP DRUG THE GROUND. THE GLIDER THEN CARTWHEELED. THE PILOT SAID HE WAS AWARE OF THE THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY TO THE WEST OF THE RUNWAY, BUT ELECTED TO DO A SHORT FLIGHT. HE SAID THE TAKEOFF WAS NORMAL UNTIL THE GLIDER ACHIEVED 300 FEET AGL WHEN HE ENCOUNTERED A SUDDEN DOWNWIND CONDITION. DURING THE ATTEMPT TO RETURN TO THE AIRPORT, HE WAS UNABLE TO MAINTAIN AIRSPEED AND ALTITUDE DURING THE TURN AND THE LEFT WING TIP INADVERTENTLY CONTACTED THE GROUND.

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

the pilot's decision to fly in known adverse weather conditions which resulted in a wind shear encounter at low altitude during the takeoff initial climb.

Full narrative available

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