NTSB Identification: LAX06LA024.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 02, 2005 in Sparks, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/26/2007
Aircraft: Schleicher ASH 26 E, registration: N26XL
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.

During cruise flight while in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), the pilot lost control of his glider and experienced an in-flight breakup. The wings separated from the glider, and the pilot bailed out. The flight was planned as an attempt to set a cross-country glider record using standing lenticular wave conditions along the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The pilot was on an instrument flight plan and was cleared for a block altitude between 18,000 and 28,000 feet. The pilot reported experiencing internal canopy icing that interfered with his view through the canopy. When wiping the canopy clear of frost, he observed that the glider was approaching clouds and would shortly be in instrument conditions. The pilot turned on his emergency standby gyro (electric turn and bank), but it did not spool up completely before he entered the clouds and lost control.

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions which resulted in a subsequent loss of control and an in-flight breakup. A contributing factor was the spool up delay for the emergency turn and bank indicator.

Full narrative available

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