NTSB Identification: SEA98LA094.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 10, 1998 in NORTH PLAINS, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/15/1999
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33A, registration: N65918
Injuries: 2 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-in-command (PIC) reported that he 'failed to maintain proper control of the aircraft, deviated from an acceptable track down a grass runway (270) and contacted a pole with the left wing' while he 'was in the process of turning out to avoid another object.' Conditions at the time were calm winds, with heavily overcast gray skies with light precipitation. After a comment from his passenger the PIC saw the bright white golf cart and began to maneuver away from it. The PIC's 'first reaction on feeling the contact with the pole was disbelief, because I knew I could not have struck the cart, and the pole simply hadn't registered in my mind at all.' Neither the PIC nor passenger ever saw the pole which was ordinarily marked with bright yellow parachute extending out and centered around the pole. With the parachute having been removed, the PIC's expectation of the pole's usual vivid (yellow) image was different from reality and he had no incentive to execute any corrective action. Additionally, the gliderport grass runway had no markings delineating its boundary nor did it have any centerline marking to guide the PIC in maintaining directional control.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control and his failure to maintain clearance from a pole. Contributing factors were rain and an overcast which resulted in less than optimal conditions to detect the pole.

Full narrative available

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