NTSB Identification: FTW97FA033.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 02, 1996 in BOULDER, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/14/1997
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-36, registration: N3616Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A witness observe the glider to come from behind the mountains in a wings level attitude, traveling in a northeast direction. She said the glider made a complete 360-degree roll to the right about its longitudibal axis. The glider rolled out on a more easterly heading, then began losing altitude in an increasingly nose down attitude and entered either a spin or spiral. She then observed the wings to fail and fold aft along the fuselage. According to NTSB's metallurgist's report, 'all fractures in both wing sections were typical of overstress separations. No evidence of fatigue or other types of preexisting cracking was found.'

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

The pilot exceeding the design stress limits of the aircraft by performing an aerobatic maneuver, resulting in total failure of the wing spar.

Full narrative available

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