DFW05CA211
DFW05CA211

On August 8, 2005, approximately 1700 central daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-27b glider, N274DW, sustained substantial damage during an off-airport landing on a road near Encinal, Texas. The commercial rated glider pilot, sole occupant of the glider, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated at the Garner Field Airport (UVA), near Uvalde, Texas, approximately 1300, for a cross-country competition flight, with a minimum enroute time of 4 hours and 30 minutes.

According to the 5,635-hour pilot, while attempting to fly to the Jim Hogg County Airport (HBV), near Hebbronville, Texas, he encountered poor thermal lift conditions and elected to return towards the A P Ranch Airport (TX27), near Encinal, Texas, which was the only airport within gliding distance. As the pilot approached the airfield, it became clear that the ranch airport had been abandoned and was unsuitable for landing. The pilot decided the best landing area was a nearby dirt road. As the glider was touching down, the left wing of the glider collided with a mature cactus, which then turned the glider into a fence. The left wing came into contact with a fence post and a 180-degree ground loop followed.

Photos provided by the pilot, revealed structural damage to the glider when the fuselage broke aft of the cockpit. Additional damage was observed on the control surfaces of the right wing.

At 1656, the automated surface observing system (ASOS) at Laredo International Airport (LRD), near Laredo, Texas, located approximately 28 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, reported winds from 150 degrees at 10 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, a clear sky, temperature 100 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.87 inches of Mercury.

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