NTSB Identification: LAX07CA066.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 27, 2006 in Minden, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/26/2007
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G-103A, registration: N794G
Injuries: 2 Minor.
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 glider drug a wing and ground looped during an off airport landing short of the airport. The CFI and student released the tow line at 8,500 feet in turbulent lift conditions. About 20 minutes into the flight, the tow pilot radioed from the ground that a snow squall was rapidly moving in from the north. The CFI had the student head toward the airport and they prepared for a straight-in approach to runway 34. The wind speed increased and the ceiling quickly lowered. The CFI took control when he determined that they would have to fly a lot faster to beat the storm. About 3 miles south of the field, he noted that the ceiling was descending rapidly enough that he would have to go below the glide slope in order to maintain cloud clearance. He descended with spoilers and told the student to prepare for an off airport landing in a farmer's field short of the airport. The CFI set up for landing. He had to turn and change his path at the last second when he noticed an irrigation sprinkler in his path. The right wing tip contacted the ground, and the glider ground looped during landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the tail boom. The pilot indicated that he had obtained an abbreviated weather brief via telephone and the internet. The weather at the nearest official reporting station, which was 28 nautical miles north of the accident site/departure airport, was similar for a 6-hour period up to an hour before the glider's departure. The weather reports noted 10 miles visibility; winds from the north about 14 knots; and ceilings above 14,000 feet. In the next 30 minutes, the weather deteriorated to 1-mile visibility in light snow; winds gusting 22 to 30 knots; and a 1,000-foot ceiling. In the next 10 minutes, the visibility dropped to 1/4 mile; 20 minutes later the visibility was 3/4 mile. Over the next hour, the weather improved to 10 miles visibility; winds 14 gusting to 22 knots; and overcast conditions at 6,000 feet.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The flight's encounter with a low ceiling while on approach that necessatiated an off-airport precautionary landing on unsuitable terrain. Obstructions were a factor. Full narrative available
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