NTSB Identification: SEA97LA142.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 14, 1997 in WESTON, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/24/1998
Aircraft: Glaser-Dirks DG-400, registration: N321V
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.

After using the engine to take off and fly to the area where he was going to soar, the pilot retracted the engine into the fuselage. When he was finished soaring, the pilot extended the engine and attempted to restart it. When he could not get it to restart after several attempts, the pilot elected to make a forced landing in an open field. Because the aircraft was low to the ground when the pilot gave up on his attempts to get the engine started, he did not have time to retract the engine, and he forgot to extend the wing flaps. Because the engine was extended and the flaps were in the up position, the aircraft touched down with an excessive rate of descent. The force of the impact caused both wings to flex downward and contact the terrain. One wing became stuck in the soft dirt, and as the aircraft was spun around, its structure received substantial damage. According to the pilot, the reason his engine would not start was because he had forgotten to move the ignition switch to the 'on' position prior to attempting the engine start. He also stated that he had recently purchased the aircraft, and that he did not use a checklist for the engine start, nor did he use a before landing checklist. He further stated that the gliders he was accustomed to flying did not have wing flaps.

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

The pilot's failure to attain a proper descent rate during the forced landing. Factors include: the pilot's failure to use an 'engine start' checklist, failure to turn the ignition switch to the 'on' position, failure to use the landing checklist, failure to lower the wing flaps, and lack of experience in this make and model aircraft.

Full narrative available

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