NTSB Identification: ERA09CA259
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 23, 2009 in Fairfield, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/28/2009
Aircraft: ROLLADEN-SCHNEIDER LS8-18, registration: N818FM
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.

According to witnesses, the glider was towed toward the mountains west of the airport, where the cable was released. The glider circled for about 10 minutes, but failed to gain lift. The glider proceeded to the south end of the airport, where it continued to circle and lose altitude. Approximately 400 yards short of the approach end of Runway 33, the glider made a steep left turn to enter the final approach, when it "suddenly snapped 90 degrees, wings vertical, then nosed into the ground." The tow pilot stated that the area where the accident occurred was known for its turbulent conditions. Winds at the time were recorded at an airport 18 miles to the west, from 290 degrees at 21 knots, gusting to 24 knots. The pilot was sent an NTSB Form 6120.1, Pilot/Operator report, but had not completed it at the time of this report.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while turning on to final approach, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Full narrative available

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