NTSB Identification: ERA10LA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 18, 2010 in Shelbyville, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2011
Aircraft: SCHLEICHER ASH26, registration: N26EL
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

The pilot departed in the self-launching motorized glider for the local flight. He stated that it was a smooth day with no lift, and he had to use the engine several times in order to stay aloft. While returning to the departure airport, at approximately 1,000 feet, the pilot raised the engine and attempted to start it. He received a battery warning indication in the cockpit and was unable to start the engine with the electrical system. The pilot selected a field for landing, but continued to troubleshoot the engine. The pilot successfully restarted the engine, abandoned the landing approach and flew for an additional few seconds before the engine stopped again and the pilot executed a forced landing to a second field. He stated that he was not properly configured to land and landed hard, which resulted in substantial damage to the glider's fuselage. Examination of the glider revealed that the engine start system and propeller pylon extension system could not be activated due to a dead battery. A charge was applied and subsequent attempts were still unsuccessful. The battery was charged overnight and examination behind the instrument panel the next day revealed a loose cannon plug. The plug was retained in place by two clips, one of which was disconnected. Once the cannon plug was retightened, all systems routed through the panel (fuel pump, propeller pylon extension, engine start) energized immediately and functioned as designed. The cannon plug was difficult to access and the manner in which the plug came loose could not be determined.

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

A complete loss of electrical and engine power over unsuitable terrain due to a cannon plug that became disconnected for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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