NTSB Identification: LAX96LA212.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 28, 1996 in SPARKS, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/1996
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-20, registration: N204Q
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 said he was in full control of the glider during the ground roll portion of an aero tow, with the wings level as the glider accelerated through an airspeed between 20 and 30 knots. He reported that 'without warning, the right wing was (then) slammed to the ground.' He applied full opposite aileron which had no effect, and the glider became airborne. The pilot then released from the tow plane, but during touchdown, the glider's nose collapsed, the canopy broke, and the left wing was damaged. When the takeoff was initiated, the local wind was between 5 and 10 knots, with gusts to 12 knots. Following the accident, the wind speed was between 2 and 7 knots. The pilot stated that he believed his glider was 'hit by a freak high velocity wind gust.'

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

the pilot's inadequate compensation for wind conditions during the takeoff roll, and his failure to maintain control of the glider. The gusty wind condition was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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