NTSB Identification: DFW05CA075.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 20, 2005 in Midlothian, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2005
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS1-26B, registration: N7569
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 360-hour private pilot reported that he was unable to find any thermal lift to assist in gaining altitude to return to the gliderport. The pilot then selected a nearby open field suitable for landing. The pilot stated that while on final approach to the open field, he experienced gusty headwinds resulting in an "excessive sink rate." At an altitude of approximately 30 feet above ground level, the outer portion of the left wing struck the top of a tree. Subsequently, the glider nosed over and impacted the ground. The pilot stated that the wind at the time of the accident was from the southwest at approximately 15 knots, gusting to 20 knots.

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

The pilot's misjudgment in distance/altitude and his failure to maintain clearance from a tree while on final to approach to landing. Contributing factors were the lack of thermal lift and the gusty wind conditions.

Full narrative available

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