NTSB Identification: FTW02LA237.
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Accident occurred Thursday, August 15, 2002 in Hobbs, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/01/2003
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26B, registration: N696U
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 reported that approximately 5 to 10 miles east of the airport, the glider was "thermaling" at 8,000 feet msl. The glider encountered a downdraft with a rainshower, and subsequently, quickly lost altitude. Unable to locate a thermal to gain altitude, the pilot initiated a forced landing to a field. While attempting to land in the field, the glider struck a wire fence. The glider came to rest upright and tangled in the fence wire.

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

the pilot's inadvertent flight into adverse weather conditions which resulted in the loss of thermal lift. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

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