NTSB Identification: DEN06CA086.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 11, 2006 in Buena Vista, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Rolladen-Schneider Gmbh LS-3, registration: N48CW
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 pilot had been soaring for about 4 hours when he decided to return to the airport. The AWOS (automated weather observation system) had been indicating that the wind was generally from the south-southeast at 10 to 18 knots. As the pilot got closer to the airport, AWOS indicated the wind was from 240 degrees and greater than 20 knots, then 250 degrees at 20 knots. When the pilot had descended to 700 feet agl (above ground level), he encountered a "strong sink." He said that he lost 400 feet in 12 seconds (2,000 fpm descent) and there was a barn, aircraft, and vehicles in his flight path. He decided to make a 180-degree turn in an attempt to land in a field west of the airport. The pilot rolled out of the turn at 30 feet agl. At 15 feet agl, the glider stalled and landed hard on rough, uneven terrain. The landing gear was torn off and the fuselage was buckled.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control resulting in an inadvertent stall/mush. Contributing to the accident was the downdraft.

Full narrative available

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