LAX98LA221
LAX98LA221

On July 5, 1998, at 1335 hours Pacific daylight time, a Rolladen-Schneider LS-6 glider, N6686, collided with the ground during the takeoff initial climb at the Crystal Gliderport in Llano, California. The glider was destroyed and the pilot/owner, the sole occupant, suffered serious injuries. The local area personal flight was originating at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The airport owner observed the accident sequence and reported that on the initial takeoff roll, the right aileron and right wing were oscillating. He further reported that as the glider pilot rotated to about 10 feet agl, both wings appeared to be oscillating violently. Approximately 400 to 500 feet agl, the glider pilot released from the tow plane and went into a right spiral and impacted the ground. The airport owner opined that the glider pilot may not have released sooner because he may have attributed the oscillations to turbulence.

The airport owner reported that he examined the glider after the accident. He stated that the glider is equipped with quick disconnect fittings on the control system located in the wing center section that allow it to be disconnected and reconnected as the wings are removed or installed. The right aileron fitting was found disconnected.

The pilot reassembled the glider on the morning of the accident flight and witnesses did not see him perform a control continuity check prior to takeoff. The pilot does not remember the accident or the events leading up to it.

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