NTSB Identification: MIA04CA090.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 28, 2004 in Starkville, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Caproni Vizzola Cos. Aero. A-21, registration: N40171
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot stated that prior to the flight he was concerned with the possibility of a low cloud deck forming, but due to the four to five degree Fahrenheit temperature/dew point spread and a gentle wind he decided to go ahead with the flight, while monitoring the improving weather conditions. The weather conditions continued to improve during the tow up to 12,000 feet pressure altitude where the glider was released from the tow airplane. He stated that his tow airplane pilot remarked that there was a scattered layer forming to the east and north of the airport. The pilot continued the flight until he noticed the scattered layer was getting thicker and elected to return to the airport and land. When he realized the scattered layer was beginning to form over the airport, he began a maximum rate descent. As he approached the top of the scattered layer at 3,000 feet, the glider's canopy fogged completely over almost instantly. The pilot's only view outside the glider was through a two inch by two inch vent window. At 700 feet AGL he realized he was not going to make the airport so he elected to land in a field. The glider touched down wings level and rolled out about 40 feet before hitting several tree stumps.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate preflight planning and preparation and his delayed decision to return to the airport leading to an off airport landing as a result of deteriorating weather conditions. A finding in the investigation was the windshield that fogged up. Full narrative available
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