NTSB Identification: LAX05LA196.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 07, 2005 in Jean, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Elan DG 300, registration: N303LV
Injuries: 1 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.
Shortly after takeoff, the glider dragged a wing and collided with the runway. The glider pilot said he discussed the takeoff with the tow plane pilot and requested a climb at 65, though he did not specify whether the speed was in knots or miles per hour. The tow plane departed and climbed at an airspeed that was lower than what was discussed by himself and the glider pilot. The glider pilot realized airspeed was not sufficient and attempted to release from the tow but missed the tow release handle. On the second attempt, the glider pilot released from the tow plane at approximately 100 feet above ground level (agl) with little airspeed remaining. The glider then began a slow roll to the right and the pilot realized that the glider had stalled. He applied forward pressure on the stick in an effort to regain airspeed. Shortly thereafter, the right wing impacted the terrain and was dragged forward. The fuselage then descended and impacted the terrain on the main landing gear. The main landing gear structure failed as result of the impact, and the glider slid across the ground on the fiberglass fuselage. The pilot stated that the glider had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight. A witness to the accident reported that after both the glider and tow plane had lifted off, the tow plane began a very steep climb. The tow plane was considerably higher than the glider with a significant amount of slack in the towrope. The glider then moved slightly to the left, which corrected for the slack. The glider and tow plane flew at a level altitude briefly, but then the tow plane became considerably higher than the glider. The tow plane continued to climb and the glider remained configured in a straight and level attitude. About 100 feet agl, the glider released from the towrope and appeared to be heading straight ahead to land. As the glider descended towards the runway, the right wing dipped down approximately 30 to 40 degrees. The glider continued to descend until the right wing touched the terrain. According to the data retrieved from the recorder installed in the glider, the highest altitude that the glider reached was approximately 130 feet agl; the highest airspeed obtained was approximately 45 knots. The glider's flight manual states that the glider will exhibit certain stall characteristics while in specific attitudes. In level and turning flight, at stall speed, the glider will begin to mush; there is no abrupt stall and the ailerons will remain effective. When following the recommended manufacturer specified procedure stall recovery is possible in less than 65 feet.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the glider pilot's failure to release from the towline in a timely manner, and to maintain adequate airspeed. Contributing to the accident was the glider pilot's failure to recognize and correctly recover from the stall in a timely manner, and the inadequate airspeed flown by the tow plane pilot. Full narrative available
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