On April 1, 2000, about 1500 Eastern Standard Time, a homebuilt RF-5B, a motorglider, N55GS, was substantially damaged during takeoff from a grass field near Gillespie, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial glider pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight destined for the Garrett County Airport, Oakland, Maryland. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot, while at an altitude of 2,500 feet above mean sea level, he opted to change the propeller pitch from climb to cruise. While doing so, the pilot noticed a sudden power loss, and the engine shut off. The pilot attempted to restart the engine with no success and performed a forced landing to a farm field. During the landing an outrigger rod broke. The pilot also found the engine ignition switch in the off position, "indicating the possibility that I had inadvertently touched it while operating the mechanical lever for the pitch change."
After the outrigger rod was replaced and it was confirmed that there were no problems with the engine, the pilot decided the motorglider was airworthy. The pilot determined that that the wind was coming from his right, and positioned the motorglider for a takeoff. After liftoff, the pilot noticed that the motorglider began to drift to the right, and struck a small tree located on the edge of the field. The motorglider veered further to the right, touched down on the ground, struck two embankments lined with fence posts, and came to rest in an adjacent farm field.
Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane departed the field on a heading of about 080 degrees.
The winds reported at 1453, at an airport 20 miles to the northwest were from 210 degrees at 10 knots.
The FAA inspector did not find any abnormalities with the engine, nor did the pilot report any.