CHI95LA340
CHI95LA340

On September 24, 1995, at 1240 central daylight time, a Piper PA- 25-235B, N7753Z, registered to Saint Louis Soaring Association, of Glendale, Missouri, was involved in an accident while hooking up a glider. The glider pilot became entangled in the tow line and was knocked to the ground. The airplane sustained no damage. The commercial pilot reported no injuries. The glider pilot received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, no flight plan was filed.

From the tow pilot's written statement, he had just returned back to the setup area with his intention to tow the next glider in line. He said that there were a group of glider pilots and bystanders conducting release checks on the second tow plane/glider. He said he became confused by all the different hand signals by the group of people there, so he decided to taxi forward to clear the setup area and shut down to figure out what they wanted him to do. He noticed a group of people standing around the injured glider pilot lying on the ground.

Witnesses stated they were conducting release checks for a second tow plane and a glider when the first tow plane arrived in the setup area. There was confusion between the tow pilot and the glider pilots on the plan of who was going to be towed by what tow plane. One glider pilot went to retrieve the tow rope without a tow rope hook, and used an around the waist fashion of retrieval. The glider pilot gave the tow pilot the stop hand signal when the tow rope came within 30 feet, but instead the tow pilot increased speed to about 15 MPH. The glider pilot was, "...gesturing to us that he was unsuccessful in communicating to the tow pilot what our plan was and the tow rope from the tow plane was spinning around his waist and then down his legs and pulled his legs out from under him... ." The injured glider pilot received seven broken ribs when his upper body impacted the ground.

On the day of the accident, the Saint Louis Soaring Association did not have a dispatcher present. He would normally coordinate the ground and air scheduling.

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