NTSB Identification: LAX05LA171.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2005 in Jean, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26E, registration: N633S
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 pilot made a forced landing on desert terrain adjacent to a pipeline. The glider landed hard on a mound, bounced back into the air, and struck the ground at a 30-degree nose down attitude. The pilot said that after release from an aero tow he was unable to find sufficient thermals to support continued flight and decided to return to the airport. He indicated that he had not realized that he had lost 1,000 feet of altitude since release from the aero tow and he was now too low to either make it back to the airport or to pick a more suitable off airport landing site. He chose to land near a pipeline, which appeared to be smoother than the surrounding area. The pilot also reported that the area was typical of the desert terrain, flat with small mounds and hills, and rocks.

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

the pilot's in-flight decision to continue a flight with weak thermal lift activity, and his delayed recognition of a loss of altitude while attempting to find a thermal in which to soar. A factor in the accident was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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