On August 15, 2002, approximately 1545 mountain daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 1-26B glider, N696U, was substantially damaged when it struck a fence during a forced landing to a field near Hobbs, New Mexico. The private pilot, sole occupant of the glider, sustained serious injuries. The glider was registered to and operated by the Hobbs Soaring Society Inc., of Hobbs. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight departed from the Hobbs Industrial Airpark, near Hobbs, approximately 1330.

The pilot reported that approximately 5 to 10 miles east of the airport, the glider was "thermaling" at 8,000 feet mean sea level (msl). The glider encountered a downdraft with a rainshower, and subsequently, quickly lost altitude. Unable to locate a thermal to gain altitude, the pilot initiated a forced landing to a field. While attempting to land in the field, the glider struck a wire fence. The glider came to rest upright and tangled in the fence wire. The elevation at the accident site was 3,700 feet msl.

According to the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, both wing spars were bent and the canopy was destroyed.

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