NTSB Identification: FTW02LA043.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 23, 2001 in Alamogordo, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/02/2002
Aircraft: Eiriavion Oy PIK 20D, registration: N2078D
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 shortly after an aero tow takeoff the flight encountered a strong wind gust which "caused the glider to balloon dangerously high above the tow plane." The pilot elected to release the tow rope at approximately 200 feet above ground level. An immediate right turn was initiated to an intersecting runway. The glider did not have sufficient altitude to make the runway and, subsequently, the right wing impacted small trees and the ground. The glider then ground looped 180 degrees and slid approximately 50 feet before coming to rest upright. The pilot reported that the wind at the time of the accident was from 350 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 25 knots. The automated weather observation facility on the airport reported the wind as from 210 degrees at 4 knots.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain altitude and clearance with small trees during a precautionary landing.

Full narrative available

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