ATL95LA069
ATL95LA069

On March 23, 1995, about 1520 eastern standard time, an Aero Tek Zuni, N19PF, collided with the ground during an approach to the Morganton-Lenoir Airport, Morganton, North Carolina. The glider was operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. A flight plan was not filed for the local personal flight. The private pilot had minor injuries, and the glider was substantially damaged. Origination of the flight was Morganton, about 1430, on the same day.

According to a sailplane instructor who witnessed the accident, the glider began the turn from downwind to base during the approach to runway 21. He stated that the airspeed was approximately 60 knots, but should have been much higher, considering the gusty wind conditions at the time of the accident. As he watched, the bank angle increased to approximately 60 to 70 degrees and the nose of the glider fell to an almost vertical position. The glider then disappeared from his view behind some trees. The glider subsequently impacted trees and the ground.

The pilot stated that, while turning base to final at approximately 350 feet, the glider hit a windshear. As a result of the windshear, the glider lost altitude and airspeed and the right wing was lifted. The pilot reported that the glider was blown from the intended course to land on runway 21 to above the trees to the east of the runway. The pilot reported moderate turbulence.

A mountain wave soaring event was underway at the Morganton-Lenoir Airport. Wind conditions were reported to be strong and gusty, 15 knots with gusts to 25 knots. The glider was turning into a headwind as it made the turn onto the left base for runway 21.

An inspection of the aircraft revealed no indication of a mechanical failure. The right wing was located about 30 yard from the main wreckage. The marks on the wing revealed that it broke off when the glider first impacted the trees. The left wing and empennage were separated but located with the fuselage.

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