NTSB Identification: LAX97FA156.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 11, 1997 in MINDEN, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/1998
Aircraft: Glaser-Dirks DG-300, registration: N70644
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.
The pilot had 30 hrs of total glider experience & was on his 1st flight in a Glaser-Dirks DG-300 (a European, single place, production glider). He had been inactive in gliders for a year & had received 5 hrs of recurrency training in Grob 102 & 103 gliders during the previous 5 days. His logbook contained an entry for the previous day's solo flight in a Grob 102, which stated 'steep turns and stalls.' Subsequently, the glider crashed on rolling terrain in a nose-low attitude without appreciable forward motion. During impact, the nose was crushed & the fuselage failed about 3 ft aft of the cockpit. The aft fuselage & empennage were found lying inverted over the left wing. The canopy jettison control was found to have been pulled (released), & there were impact marks on the horizontal stabilizer leading edge at locations consistent with the canopy frame dimensions. Plexiglas from the canopy was found up to 300 yds away. The pilot was found seated upright in the cockpit with his parachute on & his seat belt restraint system fastened. Despite severe lacerations due to ground impact, there was no blood apparent anywhere on the pilot's face. However, a large contusion (bruise) was found across the pilot's forehead, apparently sustained before ground impact, which was consistent with impact with the jettisoned canopy.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: loss of aircraft control for undetermined reason(s), inadequate design of the canopy jettison system, and incapacitation of the pilot, when he was struck by the canopy frame during a jettison sequence. Full narrative available
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