NTSB Identification: SEA04LA092.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 24, 2004 in Creswell, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Start & Flug H-101 Salto, registration: N101Q
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 glider was released from the tow plane about 10 miles north of Hobby Field, approximately 7,000 feet above the ground (agl). After release, the pilot attempted to find areas of lift around the Coburg Hills, and then started back toward the airport with the intention of being at least 3,000 feet agl when she arrived at the northern edge of Springfield, Oregon (about seven miles north of the airport). But, as the pilot flew south toward Springfield, she encountered a considerable amount of descending air, and the aircraft was down to about 2,400 feet agl when it arrived over the northern portion of Springfield. The pilot then continued to the south, and attempted to find ascending air around Pisgah Mountain, but was unable to do so. She then proceeded further south to Short Mountain (about one mile east of the accident site), and again tried to locate an ascending air mass, but was again unsuccessful. Soon thereafter she decided to discontinue her attempt to continue to Hobby Field, and instead set up for a landing in a nearby open field. The field she chose was about three miles north of Hobby Field, and covered with very tall grass/grain. As she approached the field from the north, she realized that the aircraft's ground speed was higher than it would normally be during an approach for landing because it was at that time experiencing a tailwind of 10 or more knots. She therefore decided to attempt to turn back into the wind prior to touching down in the field. During that turn the pilot allowed the aircraft's left wing to get caught in the tall grass, and it did a one-quarter cartwheel into the terrain.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the terrain while attempting to maneuver the aircraft into the wind during an off-airport landing in an open field. Factors include the pilot's inadequate in flight planning, tailwind conditions during an attempted turn from downwind to base, and tall vegetation in the area that the pilot found it necessary to land in.

Full narrative available

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