NTSB Identification: LAX06TA234.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 11, 2006 in Los Alamitos, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: LET SUPER BLANIK L-23, registration: N381BA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The glider stalled and collided with terrain during takeoff. The operator was using a winch to launch the glider and as the winch operator watched it become airborne, he diverted his eyes from the winch gauges. When he looked back at them, he realized that he was accelerating the glider faster than desired and he reduced the winch's power momentarily. The glider stalled at 80 feet above ground level and it landed hard, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing. The Glider Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-13) notes that a pilot should be ready for a takeoff any time that the towline is attached to the glider. It advises the pilot to smoothly raise the nose to the proper pitch attitude after liftoff, and watch for an increase in airspeed. The handbook says to avoid raising the nose too rapidly or steeply, as it may be difficult or impossible for the pilot to recover from the steep pitch attitude if the towline breaks or the launch mechanism loses power. It also says to avoid raising the nose too slowly, as the glider may gain excessive airspeed or not attain the planned release speed. If this situation occurs, it advises the pilot to pull the release, and land straight ahead.

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

failure of the winch operator to maintain an adequate winch tow speed, resulting in a stall and hard landing.

Full narrative available

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