NTSB Identification: LAX05LA131.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, April 06, 2005 in Mokuleia, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-32, registration: N693U
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During a for-hire sightseeing flight, the glider entered an inadvertent stall and spun to ground impact. The flight was conducted in an area where normal wind conditions brought trade winds that produced strong updrafts when they encountered the accident site ridgeline. On the day of the accident, the winds were described as shifty and gusting and they did not produce the updraft along the ridgeline that was most common in that area. In addition, the cloud bases would not allow for a tow greater than 2,000 feet. A witness (also a glider pilot), observed the accident glider eastbound about 400 to 500 feet above the ridge. She then noticed the glider "turn right (toward the ridge) and its nose come up slightly." The glider turned "approximately 45 degrees to the right, then turned back to the left and immediately entered a spin to the left." The witness reported that the glider rotated twice before it entered a second spin to the right. Post-accident examination of the glider revealed no anomalies that would have prevented its normal operation. A video recording of the flight revealed no anomalies with the glider. As captured during the final moments of an audio recording of the flight, the pilot's last transmission indicated that the glider was encountering a sink rate. According to the accident glider's flight manual, after spin entry, the pilot might experience one nose up and down oscillation before the stable spin occurs. The rotations are relatively slow with an altitude loss of approximately 300 feet per turn. Recovery technique was normal, except that considerably more control was needed to stop the rotation and to lower the nose. Instead of easing off back pressure on the stick, it must be pushed forward of neutral and instead of neutralizing the rudder, opposite rudder must be applied. The rotation could be stopped in 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Review of the pilot's training records and experience brought into serious question the quality of both. In less than 3 months after beginning flight training the pilot obtained his commercial pilot certificate, just 2 days after passing his private pilot check ride. Upon obtaining his commercial pilot certificate the pilot began conducting tour flights for fare-paying passengers; at this point his total flight experience amounted to 48.4 hours of flight time, of which 31.2 hours were as pilot-in-command. Review of the pilot's training records revealed he received stall/spin training on the same day he received training on a myriad of complex subjects. The operator said that when he conducted spin training with the pilot, on one occasion the pilot didn't get the control stick forward enough on a spin recovery and got into a secondary stall. The operator then had the pilot demonstrate two additional spin/spin recovery maneuvers. Federal Aviation Regulations indicated that an applicant may obtain their commercial glider certificate with as little as 25 hours of flight time and 100 flights as pilot-in-command. According to the Soaring Society of America and the Soaring Safety Foundation, it is unusual to obtain a commercial glider pilot certificate in as little time as the accident pilot, and it usually takes about 6 months to 1 year to obtain the required experience.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed while maneuvering during a scenic flight, which led to an inadvertent stall/spin and secondary stall/spin encounter. Contributing factors were the pilot's lack of total flight experience, his inadequate flight training, and the unfavorable wind conditions.

Full narrative available

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