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On April 29, 2006, about 1215 Pacific daylight time, a non-powered Schempp-Hirth Discus B glider, N13SG, impacted a ridgeline after encountering a loss of thermal lift near Minden, Nevada. Soar Minden, Inc., was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed Minden-Tahoe Airport, Minden, about 1145. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot reported that he was operating near the Minden and Smith valleys. He maneuvered towards a ridge in an attempt to position the glider in a thermal, which he believed to be in the area. The glider did not ascend as expected and there appeared to be no thermal activity. The pilot attempted an emergency landing in a clearing he spotted on a side of the ridge. The left wing impacted a bush and the glider collided with terrain.
A sheriff's deputy interviewed the pilot at the hospital 2 days after the accident. The pilot stated that he was attempting to gain lift in the area of the accident site. The glider's airspeed began to diminish and the glider subsequently stalled. He tried to regain control of the glider but did not have enough altitude or airspeed to recover; the glider collided with pine trees. The pilot stated that the accident was a result of pilot error.
As a result of the impact, the pilot broke both of his ankles. He called for help on his cell phone shortly after the accident occurred. The pilot reported that he had crashed the rental glider 8 to 12 miles east of the airport. Rescue personnel located the wreckage about 2 hours later.
Douglas County Sheriff's personnel completed the on-scene wreckage documentation the day of the accident. A written excerpt and photo documentation are attached to this report in the public docket.
The wreckage was located at 39 degrees 03.87 minutes north latitude and 119 degrees 31.71 minutes west longitude. It was situated on the northeast side of Mineral Peak in Mineral Valley at an elevation of 6,762 feet mean sea level (msl), about 7 nautical miles southwest from the departure airport.
The glider was not equipped with an emergency locator transmitter (ELT). 14 CFR 91.207 requires that no person may operate a U.S. registered civil airplane unless it is equipped with a personal type or an automatic type ELT that is in operable condition and meets applicable requirements of TSO-C91. Gliders are excluded from this regulation and are not required to have an ELT installed on the glider.