NTSB Identification: FTW97LA257.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 03, 1997 in WARD, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/07/1998
Aircraft: REIFFER RS-15, registration: N8032H
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Witnesses reported that the glider was approaching to land with the landing gear extended at a normal speed and altitude; however, it floated at 6 to 8 feet above the runway. The witnesses stated that the glider's flaps were not deployed which accounted for the glider's extended flight over the runway without a perceived loss of altitude or airspeed. The witnesses further reported that as the glider was approximately 400 feet from the departure end of the east runway, the pilot elected to abort the landing and execute a climbing right turn with approximately 60 degrees bank angle. One witness stated that the glider 'appeared to stall at about 65 feet above the ground and dropped into trees' south of the runway. The 1979 glider was described as a high performance sailplane with a 40:1 glide ratio that relies solely on the flaps for airspeed and altitude control. Three full rotations are required to either extend or retract the flaps. The 19 hour glider pilot discussed 'going counter crank on the flaps' as a factor. The flap crank was not marked as to the direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) required to extend and retract the flaps.

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

The pilot's inadvertent stall. Factors were the pilot's failure to attain the proper touchdown point, his failure to use the flaps to obtain the proper touchdown point, and the pilot's lack of recent experience in the type of aircraft.

Full narrative available

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