NTSB Identification: LAX95LA183.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 11, 1995 in PEORIA, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/30/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-235, registration: N7403Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
A WITNESS STATED THAT THE TOW PLANE ENCOUNTERED A 'DUST DEVIL' BETWEEN 100 AND 200 FEET AGL. HE THEN SAW THE GLIDER ENCOUNTER THE 'DUST DEVIL' AND GAIN ALTITUDE ABOVE THE TOW PLANE UNTIL THE TOW ROPE FORMED A 30- TO 45-DEGREE ANGLE. THE NOSE OF THE TOW PLANE THEN DROPPED AND THE AIRCRAFT DESCENDED TO THE GROUND. THE TOW ROPE WAS FOUND TO HAVE SEPARATED AFT OF THE TOW PLANE TOW RING. THE ROPE, WITH THE TOW RING ATTACHED, WAS LOCATED NEAR THE AIRCRAFT. THE REMAINDER OF THE ROPE, WITH THE GLIDER TOW RING ATTACHED, WAS FOUND BACK ALONG THE FLIGHT PATH. AN INSPECTION OF THE TOW PLANE HOOK RELEASE MECHANISM FOUND IT TO BE IN THE OPEN POSITION. THE MECHANISM OPENED ON IMPACT BASED ON THE SEPARATION OF THE TOW ROPE AND THE PROXIMITY OF THE ROPE TO THE TOW PLANE HOOK, AS WELL AS THE APPARENT SNAP BACK OF THE REMAINDER OF THE ROPE AWAY FROM THE CRASH SITE.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's inflight loss of control due to his delay in releasing the glider after the towed glider experienced an unplanned altitude gain on takeoff when it encountered a dust devil. Full narrative available
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