NTSB Identification: LAX96LA144.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 23, 1996 in HOLLISTER, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/20/1996
Aircraft: Eiriavion Oy PIK 20D, registration: N4HT
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.

According to the pilot, after an aerial tow aloft he soared in thermals above nearby ridges as he flew toward the San Luis Reservoir. As the thermals began to dissipate he turned back toward Hollister and took what he described as the long route to [the airport]. The lack of available lift precluded making the airport and he landed in an open field. As the right wing dropped, the tip snagged in a large gopher hole and the aircraft ground looped, damaging the wing and empennage.

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

the pilot's improper in-flight decision to take a longer than necessary route back to the airport during a period of marginal lift.

Full narrative available

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