NTSB Identification: FTW02LA092.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, March 12, 2002 in Moriarty, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/2003
Aircraft: Schleicher AS-W19, registration: N333US
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 glider and tow plane and were climbing through 400-500 feet AGL, when both aircraft encountered turbulence. The glider was "climbing and sinking rapidly and the glider pilot could not neutralize the motion. She believed that she had enough altitude to turn and make a downwind landing, so she released the tow line. The pilot then turned back to the runway to make a downwind landing. While in the turn, the pilot received a radio call from the ground telling her to try to continue around to make a landing into the wind. The pilot attempted to follow the instructions from the person on the ground, and the left wing tip contacted the ground before the turn was completed. The pilot stated that if she had continued on her original plan to land downwind, then she thought that she could have made the landing without incident.

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

The pilot's attempt to perform a turn upwind at a altitude too low to complete the turn. A factor was the turbulance.

Full narrative available

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