LAX98LA289
LAX98LA289

On September 9, 1998, at 1310 hours mountain standard time, a Glasflugel H 301 B Libelle glider, N2200, experienced an aileron malfunction during takeoff while still attached to the tow aircraft. After being released, the glider landed short of the runway and struck a bush at the private El Tiro gliderport, Tucson, Arizona. The glider, operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, sustained substantial damage. The commercial glider pilot/owner was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the local area personal flight and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot stated that the glider was stored disassembled in a trailer. When he arrived at the gliderport, he proceeded to reassemble the glider. The wings were assembled first, and then the aileron push rods with ball lock safety pins were connected. The pilot stated that he inserted the pins in the left and right aileron push rod attach fittings and moved the control stick to check that the ailerons were properly engaged. The pilot reported that he completed the assembly of the glider with no discrepancies noted.

A preflight inspection was conducted with no anomalies noted. On the first takeoff attempt, directional control was unable to be established, and the takeoff was aborted. The pilot attributed the lack of directional control to dust devils in the vicinity. He reported that the second takeoff attempt was made up to 100 feet above ground level (agl) with no discrepancies. The pilot stated that he noted difficulty in maintaining a wings level attitude and the aircraft was turning to the right. He reported that the tow plane made a standard left turn at 200 feet agl, but the glider did not follow. The pilot stated that the glider started a nose down right-hand turn and he had to release the glider from the tow plane.

The pilot stated that he applied full left aileron, which stopped the roll to the right, but the aircraft did not go to straight and level flight. He applied full left rudder and continued left aileron inputs and the glider maintained a 10-degree right wing down attitude. He attempted to make an intersection landing at the private strip, but due to insufficient altitude was unable to do so. The pilot stated that when the glider contacted the ground, with the right wing low condition, the right wing collided with a brush and ground looped.

The pilot inspected the aircraft and noted that the right aileron attach pin was inserted in the female part of the junction, but not through the ball joint of the aileron push rod. He stated that the push rod would have been lying in the fitting but would not have been engaged. The pilot and the line chief, who was holding the aileron, "noted the lack of response to a pull on the push rod (Aileron up). The left aileron was properly connected and checked out in the positive control check." He further attributed the lack of directional control on the first attempted takeoff to a lack of aileron control, which he did not recognize at the time. No further discrepancies were noted.

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