SEA04LA092
SEA04LA092

On Monday, May 24, 2004, approximately 1500 Pacific daylight time, a Start and Flug H-101 Salto glider, N101Q, impacted the terrain during an attempted forced landing about three miles north of Hobby Field, Creswell, Oregon. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, and who holds a private pilot glider rating, received serious injuries, and the aircraft, which is owned and operated by Wingover Aerobatics, sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal proficiency flight, which departed Hobby Field about one hour earlier, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot, the glider was released from the tow plane about 10 miles north of Hobby Field, approximately 7,000 feet above the ground (agl). After release, the pilot attempted to find areas of lift around the Coburg Hills, and then she started back toward Hobby Field, with the intention of being at least 3,000 feet agl when she arrived at the northern edge of Springfield, Oregon (about seven miles north of Hobby Field). But, as the pilot flew south toward Springfield, she encountered a considerable amount of descending air, and the aircraft was down to about 2,400 feet agl when it arrived over the northern portion of Springfield. The pilot then continued to the south, and attempted to find ascending air around Pisgah Mountain, but was unable to do so. She then proceeded further south to Short Mountain (about one mile east of the accident site), and again tried to locate an ascending air mass, but was again unsuccessful. Soon thereafter she decided that she should discontinue her attempt to continue to Hobby Field, and instead set up for a landing in a nearby open field. The field she chose was about three miles north of Hobby Field, and covered with very tall grass/grain. As she approached the field from the north, she realized that the aircraft's ground speed was higher than it would normally be during an approach for landing because it was at that time experiencing a tailwind of 10 or more knots. She therefore decided to attempt to turn back into the wind prior to touching down in the field. According to two witnesses, during that turn the aircraft's left wing caught in the tall grass, and the aircraft did a one-quarter cartwheel into the terrain. According to these same witnesses, the aircraft was about 50 to 60 feet above ground, and going very slowly, when the aircraft started to bank. Although the pilot intended to use approximately 30 degrees of bank during the turn, both witnesses reported that the aircraft reached a "very steep" bank angle before it started to sink, and ultimately became entangled in the grass. Both witnesses reported that there was a significant wind blowing from the north at the time of the accident.

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