NTSB Identification: LAX95LA197.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 20, 1995 in HELENDALE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/23/1995
Aircraft: Bölkow PHOEBUS C, registration: N1379
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

DURING A LONG CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT, THE REQUIRED LIFT TO SUSTAIN FLIGHT WAS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. THE PILOT SELECTED A SUITABLE OFF-AIRPORT FIELD TO LAND. HIS GROUND CREW REPORTED WINDS FROM THE SOUTH AT 5 KNOTS AND UPSLOPING TERRAIN TOWARD THE NORTH. THE PILOT CHOSE TO LAND DOWNWIND IN AN UPHILL DIRECTION. THE WINDS WERE STRONGER THAN THE GROUND CREW INDICATED AND THE GLIDER LANDED LONG. THE PILOT SAID BRAKING ACTION WAS POOR DUE TO THE LOOSE SAND ON A HARD SOIL BASE. BEFORE THE PILOT COULD STOP THE GLIDER, IT SLID INTO A DRY WASH AND COLLIDED WITH A DIRT WALL. THE PILOT STATED THAT AFTER THE ACCIDENT HE OBSERVED THE WINDS FROM 180 DEGREES AT 10 KNOTS WITH HIGHER GUSTS TO 13 KNOTS. THE PILOT REPORTED NO MECHANICAL FAILURES OF THE FLIGHT CONTROLS.

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

the pilot's selection of a downwind landing and his failure to attain the proper touchdown point. Factors in the accident were the inaccurate wind information provided by his ground crew which led the pilot to select the improper landing direction, and, the loose sandy nature of the landing site which inhibited the effectiveness of the glider brakes.

Full narrative available

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