LAX96LA212
LAX96LA212

On May 28, 1996, at 1515 hours Pacific daylight time, an experimental Schleicher ASW-20, N204Q, owned and operated by the pilot, collided with terrain during an aero tow takeoff from the Air Sailing private airstrip, about 20 nautical miles north of Sparks, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the personal flight, and no flight plan was filed. The experimental category glider was substantially damaged, and the private pilot was seriously injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he was in full control of the glider during the ground roll portion of the aero tow. The wings were level as he accelerated through an airspeed between 20 and 30 knots. The pilot reported that "without warning the right wing was (then) slammed to the ground." The pilot further reported that he applied full opposite aileron which had no effect, and the glider then became airborne. The pilot released from the tow plane, and during touchdown the glider's nose collapsed, the canopy broke, and the left wing was damaged.

When the takeoff was initiated, the local wind was between 5 and 10 knots, with gusts to 12 knots. Following the accident, the wind speed was between 2 and 7 knots. The pilot stated that he believes his glider was "hit by a freak high velocity wind gust."

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