NTSB Identification: LAX05CA161.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 08, 2005 in Peoria, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Discus 2b, registration: N15MM
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 glider was damaged during a forced landing 1.5 miles south of the landing strip in rocky desert terrain. The pilot was on a circular cross-country flight designed to depart, and then return to the same airport. Along the route there were numerous navigation turn points to maintain a proper track on the course. About 250 miles into the flight, and at the second to last turn point, the pilot determined that he did not have enough altitude to make it to the last turn point before heading back to the airport. His flight computer indicated that he had enough altitude to go directly to the destination airport with a 1,000-foot altitude margin. While returning he encountered some downward subsiding air of about 7-8 knots (700-800 feet per minute downdraft). At this point he determined that he would not make it to the destination airport and decided to divert to an auxiliary dirt landing strip to make a precautionary landing. The pilot did not make it all the way to the auxiliary strip and landed about 1.5 miles south, in rocky desert terrain. The pilot stated that the glider had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the glider pilot encountered a downdraft that forced him to land in rough terrain. Full narrative available
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