NTSB Identification: LAX97LA215.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 16, 1997 in MACDOEL, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth NIMBUS 3/24.5, registration: N4427M
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.

The pilot reported that while in a closed circuit race he was attempting to gain altitude in a thermal, which disappeared. The glider did not have sufficient altitude to continue and the pilot elected to return and land at an airport he had passed earlier. About 4 miles from the airport, an unexpected heavy sink rate was encountered. He picked an alternate landing site and on final approach to the south, he noticed a set of power lines different than the ones he had previously seen. They ran from east to west at the northern edge of the dirt strip. In order to avoid the obstructions, he went over the power lines. The right wing caught the wires, and the glider fell to the ground.

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

the pilot's failure to see and avoid a set of power lines while making an off-airport landing due to a lack of lift.

Full narrative available

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