LAX95LA123
LAX95LA123

On February 26, 1995, at 1612 Pacific standard time, a Burkhart Grob G102 Astir CS glider, N57GE, drug a wing and collided with the ground while attempting a rejected takeoff maneuver at the Jean, Nevada, airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed with witness reports of lightening and cumulonimbus cloud activity nearby. The glider was destroyed in the ground collision sequence. The certificated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident as a local area personal operation.

Ground witnesses reported that the glider achieved about 300 feet above ground level (agl) during the takeoff on runway 20 by auto tow. Instead of completing a normal pitch up to increase altitude, the pilot released the tow line, flew to the departure end of the runway in a descent, and was performing a 270-degree left turn to land on a short crosswind runway when the left wing tip drug the ground. The glider then cartwheeled.

The pilot was interviewed March 1, 1995, by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors from the Las Vegas, Nevada, Flight Standards District Office. The pilot stated that he was aware of the thunderstorm activity to the west of the runway. The takeoff was normal until the glider achieved 300 feet agl when the pilot encountered a sudden downwind condition. The pilot decided that the glider was incapable of gaining altitude with the wind conditions and elected to land on a short crosswind runway. He was attempting a 270-degree turn to that runway, but was unable to maintain airspeed and altitude during the turn and the left wing tip inadvertently contacted the ground.

The 1550 official Las Vegas aviation surface weather observation was reporting in part: " . . . Cumulonimbus clouds southwest through west moving northeast. Occasional cloud to cloud and cloud to ground lightening southwest. Moderate cumulus clouds over mountains all quadrants." The accident site is 23 miles south of the weather observation station.

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