NTSB Identification: WPR12CA084
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 28, 2012 in Peoria, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/02/2012
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER SGS 2-33A, registration: N17873
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 stated that he set the altimeter to the field elevation of 1,600 feet mean sea level (msl) before takeoff. He planned to have the glider towed to 4,000 feet above ground level (agl), which would be 5,600 feet msl, then to release the tow line. During the tow, the pilot released from the tow plane when the altimeter read 4,000 feet (which was 2,400 feet agl). During the return glide back to the airport in a headwind, he realized he was too low to make it to the airport and executed a landing 2 miles short of the runway into desert terrain. On final approach for landing, the pilot maneuvered the glider to avoid a canal. The glider landed hard, and the fuselage sustained substantial damage. The pilot stated that he mistakenly released from the tow at 4,000 feet msl, when he should have released at 4,000 feet agl. He also stated that the glider had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.

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

The glider pilot released from the tow airplane at a lower altitude than the planned altitude, which resulted in an off-airport landing.

Full narrative available

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