NTSB Identification: ERA10CA260
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 09, 2010 in Unionville, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/12/2011
Aircraft: SCHLEICHER ASW-20C, registration: N6BF
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 the glider pilot, the flight was intended as a local recreational flight. He planned to climb via thermals to get across a five-mile gap between ridges, but was unable to gain altitude. He then attempted to turn to a "spur" that was separate from the main ridge to gain lift, but while performing the maneuvers the glider continued to lose altitude in a downdraft. The glider subsequently impacted trees and came to rest inverted, seriously injuring the pilot. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical problems with the glider. He stated that, in retrospect, he should have released the 10 gallons of water ballast in each wing and deployed positive flaps. A weather observation taken 35 miles from the accident site, approximately at the time of the accident, recorded the wind from 301 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 20 knots.

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

The pilot's lack of remedial action in response to a loss of altitude, which led to a forced landing in unsuitable terrain.

Full narrative available

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