NTSB Identification: LAX02LA208.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 23, 2002 in Loch Lomand, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: WSK PZL Swidnik PW-5, registration: N115TM
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 failed to maintain obstacle clearance while on a visual approach to an airstrip and impacted trees and terrain short of the runway. According to the pilot, he encountered a "severe sink" while soaring and "struggled for +/- 30 minutes to gain altitude." He elected to land the glider at another airport instead of flying to his departure airport. The pilot could not recall much of the landing except for the wind sheer and turbulence. He did indicate a way to avoid such an accident in the future would be to land "when at 1,000 feet, attempting a thermal recovery from 300 feet is dangerous." The closest weather observation facility, 24 miles from the accident site, reported wind speeds between 7 and 11 knots.

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

the pilot's inadequate compensation for wind conditions, and his failure to maintain clearance with trees during final approach. A contributing factor was the windshear and turbulence encountered during the approach.

Full narrative available

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