NTSB Identification: LAX05CA294.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 10, 2005 in Peoria, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS2-33A, registration: N2054T
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 student pilot reacted to an unusual noise, released from the tow plane immediately after liftoff, and the glider collided with a cactus. This was the first flight of the day for the glider and the pilot. He preflighted the glider, and noted no anomalies. The tow started from the normal point about midway down runway 23L. About 10 feet in the air, the pilot heard a metallic flapping sound. Believing that it might be a structural problem, he released from the tow. While the pilot was looking for a place to land, the glider hit the ground and bounced. The glider then hit a cactus plant about 1,200 feet from the runway, and the pilot lost control. It hit a second cactus with the right wing. The glider spun around, and collided with terrain resulting in substantial damage. Post flight examination revealed a loose wing root gap cover fairing. A ground witness observed the fairing come loose during the takeoff ground roll. An instructor who flew this glider the previous week reported that the fairing checked good on preflight, but came loose in flight. The instructor said the glider's handling characteristics were not affected by the loose fairing and he landed uneventfully.

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

the pilot's encounter with obstacles and unsuitable terrain in the landing area during the pilot's attempted precautionary landing. A factor in the accident was the loose wing root gap seal fairing.

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