NTSB Identification: SEA00LA096.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 29, 2000 in EPHRATA, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: AS+ (RUSSIA) AS-4, registration: N1995M
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After being towed several miles west of the departure airport and to 4,300 feet MSL, the glider pilot released from the towplane. Shortly thereafter, he encountered a sink and turned west and north, away from the airport, during which the sink conditions did not abate. Having lost 1,100 feet in altitude, the pilot decided that he could not return to the departure airport, and once again turned west and north in search of lift. He then turned towards a plowed field in which to land but, still encountering sink conditions, landed 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile short in sagebrush covered terrain. During the landing roll the glider ground looped to the right damaging the tail-boom. The pilot reported that he should have immediately turned back to the departure airport when the heavy sink was encountered.

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

The pilot's improper in-flight decision by not immediately seeking a safe landing site upon encountering the sink. A factor was the high vegetation (sagebrush).

Full narrative available

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