NTSB Identification: WPR09LA449
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 12, 2009 in Lake Elsinore, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2011
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER SGS 1-34, registration: N7656
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

Shortly after takeoff, the tow airplane pilot felt slack in the tow line and in response he attempted to slow the airplane. He then felt the airplane surge forward and looked back to observe the glider in a sharp turn. The pilot noted his altitude was between 225 to 250 feet above the ground. Witnesses reported that it appeared that the glider released from the tow airplane, and then veered sharply to the right before it entered into a nose dive and impacted the ground. A Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector established flight control continuity of the glider at the accident site. He also noted that the tow line had broken at the weak link. The weak link is a safety line that is designed to release under sudden or extreme loads to protect/ensure that the airframe of the glider is not damaged. The weak link can break at low altitude, causing an inadvertent release.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the glider after the tow line released during the initial climb.

Full narrative available

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