NTSB Identification: LAX98LA092.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 1998 in WILLIAMS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth VENTUS-B, registration: N948B
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.

The pilot reported that there was a drilling rig parked approximately 30 to 40 feet from the end of the runway and he was aware of the location of the rig before takeoff. He further stated that he usually placed a wooden wedge behind the landing gear handle to secure it in place before landing, but while on final he noticed that he had not yet secured it. While he attempted to secure it in place, he noticed that the aircraft had a very great rate of descent. He then 'concentrated in controlling the direction of the aircraft to land properly on the runway, looking ahead and losing reference of the drilling rig.' The right wingtip then hit the upper portion of the rig and approximately 3 to 4 feet of the wing separated from the aircraft, and the nose of the glider hit the ground. The glider spun to the right approximately 180 degrees before coming to a complete stop.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain an adequate clearance from the oil drilling rig due to his attention being diverted inside the cockpit in order the secure the landing gear control.

Full narrative available

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