NTSB Identification: LAX96LA234.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 15, 1996 in MESQUITE, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1997
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G102, registration: N154SS
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.

The pilot and 11 other glider pilots planned to fly nonstop on a 500 kilometer flight from their point of departure, after an aero tow to 7,000 feet mean sea level. No communication difficulties or control problems were reported during periodic radio contacts between the glider pilot and the ground crew. En route, some of the glider pilots experienced turbulence and occasional downdrafts. Subsequently, the glider collided with rough terrain near a ridge line. There were no witnesses to the accident. The pilot's son indicated that his father was apparently unable to locate sufficient lift to continue his flight for an additional 11 miles to the destination airport.

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

improper in-flight planning/decision by the pilot, which resulted in his being forced to land in an area with unsuitable terrain. Factors relating to the accident were: the lack of available (thermal) lift, downdraft(s), and the resultant lack of suitable terrain for an off-airport (emergency) landing.

Full narrative available

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