NTSB Identification: IAD04LA022.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 22, 2004 in Alexandria, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Masak Scimitar, registration: N12PX
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 accident pilot was attempting to fly over a ridge, in the fold in a ridgeline, during a national soaring competition. The glider descended about 1,400 feet in about 6 minutes, and 350 feet "in a very small space" before striking a large tree. According to a nationally known, locally based glider instructor, if the accident pilot had been successful in crossing the ridgeline, "he would have been the only pilot to do so, and probably would have easily won the day." The instructor also noted that as he retraced the accident flight in a motorglider, "I could not help believe I would have done the same thing in the same circumstances," and further observed that there was a good landing field at the base of the ridge, and the valley was wide enough to make shallow turns, but that the accident pilot probably "tried to fly a sharp 180-degree turn to return to the lifting air he just passed." The accident pilot had first flown from the instructor's airport in 1979, and was "an accomplished pilot" who had logged numerous cross country flights and international competitions. Winds aloft would have resulted in turbulence and downdrafts in the vicinity of the crash site.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin. A factor was the turbulent wind conditions.

Full narrative available

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