NTSB Identification: WPR10CA215
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 25, 2010 in Marana, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/12/2010
Aircraft: PZL-Swidnik PW-5, registration: N500JN
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 pilot had been checked out in the glider the day of the accident and it was the first time she had flown this make and model. Approximately two hours into the flight, she smelled a burning rubber smell before all of the electronics ceased operating. She turned back to her departure airport, but due to her lack of experience she was unable to find a thermal and the glider continued to descend. During the forced off-field landing, the glider impacted trees and desert brush. Postaccident examination of the glider revealed that the cable supplying power to the removable data logger was routed improperly and had rubbed against a metal computer port, causing an electrical short and disabling the glide computer, global positioning system, and the vertical speed indicator.

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

The pilot's inability to find thermal lift. Contributing to the accident was the failure of a computer that provided glide information and vertical speed instrumentation as a result of an improperly routed electrical cable that caused a short in the electrical system and the pilot's lack of experience in the glider.

Full narrative available

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