On April 15, 1995, at 1300 eastern daylight time, N5725S, a Schweizer SC2-33A glider, registered to Mohawk Soaring Club Inc. of Alpus, New York, ground looped after landing at Harriman- and-West Airport in North Adams, Massachusetts. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) and the certificated private pilot (glider aero tow) were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The local, instructional flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The CFI reported that the certificated glider pilot had not flown consistently over the winter, and requested that the CFI accompany him on the accident flight. The CFI stated that the glider pilot handled the flight controls and maintained "...proper position behind the towplane..." but when the glider was about 250 feet above the ground, "...we encountered a wind gust...developed a minor amount of slack in the towrope. About three or four seconds after the rope became taut [again] it parted." The CFI reported that he assumed command of the glider and turned back to the airport where he performed a downwind landing on the grass strip adjacent to the runway. He stated that during the landing roll he intentionally ground looped the glider to avoid colliding with the blast fence at the end of the runway.
The tow rope was examined after the accident by an FAA Safety Inspector. The examination revealed that the 220 foot long, 5/16th inch, yellow propylene rope broke about 37 feet from the tow airplane. The CFI reported that the rope was about one year old, and that he inspected the rope during his preflight inspection. He stated that there was no evidence of it coming apart.
The reported wind at the time of the accident was 290 degrees at 20 knots, with gusts to 29 knots. The pilot stated that the accident could have been prevented if he had used a different tow rope system, and that there was no inspection program for tow ropes.