NTSB Identification: DEN02GA039.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 26, 2002 in USAF Academy, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2003
Aircraft: Piper/Cub Crafters PA-18-150, registration: N990CC
Injuries: 1 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 public aircraft accident report.

During a tow approximately 7,500 feet msl, the glider was positioned above and to the right of the tow plane. The tow plane suddenly rolled left and descended in a vertical spiral, pulling the glider with it. After making several attempts to release the tow, the cadet instructor heard a loud "snap" and the glider broke free. The tow plane struck the ground, exploded, and burned. The glider returned to the airport and landed without further incident. The tow plane's tow hook was found unlatched and the tow line was draped over the surrounding trees. One end of the rope, with eyelet still attached, was next to the tow plane. The other end had failed and the braids were "feathered." No anomalies with the glider's latching mechanism were noted. The portion of tow rope and hook that attached to the glider was not located. Postmortem examination disclosed "significant atherosclerotic plaque deposition" of the coronary arteries.

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

The loss of control for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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