NTSB Identification: NYC97LA084.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 25, 1996 in WADSWORTH, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/02/1998
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth CIRRUS-S, registration: N9775
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.

This was second flight of the day for the pilot/owner of the glider. The first flight lasted about 5 minutes, because the pilot stated that he could not gain any altitude, and he landed back at the airport. During the second takeoff, the pilot noticed the speed brakes were deployed. When he retracted the speed brakes, the glider 'popped up' higher than the tow plane, and the pilot released the tow rope. The pilot believed that he was too low to make it back to the airport, and went under telephone wires onto a road. The glider then ground-looped, and the left wing trailing edge struck a tree and the glider's tail broke midway down the tail cone. The pilot stated that there was the possibility that he may have bumped the speed brake handle.

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

The pilot's inadvertent activation of the speed brakes while being towed for takeoff. Subsequently, the glider pilot lost sight of the tow airplane due to excessive altitude, released the tow rope, and performed an off airport landing during which the glider collided with a tree.

Full narrative available

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