NTSB Identification: FTW85FA331.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 30338.
Accident occurred Saturday, August 24, 1985 in ABILENE, TX
Aircraft: VALENTIN TAIFUN 17E, registration: N164RB
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE GLIDER WAS THERMALING IN A SLOW RIGHT CLIMBING TURN ABOUT 600 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL. WITNESSES STATED IT STARTED A RIGHT SPIRALING DESCENT AND THE NOSE SUDDENLY DROPPED UNTIL IT WAS IN A NEAR VERTICAL ATTITUDE. THE SPIRAL THEN DEVELOPED INTO A TIGHT RIGHT HAND SPIN WHICH CONTINUED UNTIL GROUND IMPACT OCCURRED. THE WITNESS ESTIMATED THE ALTITUDE AT 300 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND WHEN THE SPIN STARTED. SEVERAL DIFFERENT PILOTS WHO ARE QUITE FAMILIAR WITH GLIDER OPERATION STATED NO PILOT SHOULD ATTEMPT THERMALING (RECEIVING ADEQUATE LIFT FOR FLIGHT FROM RISING AIR CURRENTS) UNLESS HIS ALTITUDE IS AT LEAST 1000 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL.

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

AIRSPEED..NOT MAINTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

REMEDIAL ACTION..NOT POSSIBLE..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

IMPROPER USE OF PROCEDURE..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

PROPER ALTITUDE..NOT ATTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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