NTSB Identification: LAX96LA330.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 09, 1996 in WARNER SPRINGS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/1996
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G102, registration: N3950B
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

In preparation for an aero tow takeoff, the pilot closed and secured the glider's canopy, and the aero tow proceeded. During the initial climb, the pilot recognized that the glider's yaw indicator string was caught in the canopy and was therefore unusable. The pilot decided to make a precautionary landing. At about 500 feet above ground level, he released the towline and attempted to return to the airport. According to the pilot, during the approach, he encountered heavy sink. The glider collided with trees and terrain short of the runway.

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

improper planning/decision by the pilot concerning a low altitude release to return to the airport after takeoff. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's inadequate preflight by failing to ensure that the yaw indicator string movement was free, when he closed the canopy; and the heavy sink (downdraft) that was encountered during the approach to land.

Full narrative available

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