NTSB Identification: ERA11FA413
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 23, 2011 in Ridgely, MD
Aircraft: MOYES DRAGONFLY, registration: N402HA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 23, 2011, about 0715 eastern daylight time, a Moyes Dragonfly airplane, N402HA, operated by Highland Aerosports, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at Ridgely Airpark (RJD), Ridgely, Maryland. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 glider tow flight.

According to a flight instructor who was towed aloft by the airplane with his student in a tandem configured hang glider, it was "hot and sticky" that morning and he had briefed his student prior to the flight that it would take a longer ground roll than normal to takeoff. After they took off in tow, the flight instructor climbed the glider up to an altitude of about 15 feet above ground level (agl) behind the airplane. During the tow he observed that the airplane did not lift off until it was near the end of the grass runway. As the airplane reached the end of the runway, he saw the towline "release" from the airplane. He also observed that as the airplane reached an adjacent soybean field, that the airplane was "tickling the beans with its wheels". The flight instructor then continued straight ahead and executed a landing to that same soybean field. Then as he and his student were getting out of their harnesses. He heard the airplane above him. It was "really loud" and he wondered what the pilot was doing. Moments later he heard the airplane impact the ground behind him.

According to a witness, after the release, the airplane began to turn left while climbing until it had completed a 270 degree turn, and reached a peak altitude of approximately 200 feet agl. It then "dropped into a spin" and impacted the ground in an approximately 45 degree nose down attitude.

Examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact failures or anomalies with the airplane's engine or flight control system.

Instrumentation and portions of the airplane's structure were retained by the Safety Board for further examination.

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