LAX07CA066
LAX07CA066

On December 27, 2006, about 1300 Pacific standard time, a Burkhart Grob G-103A glider, N794G, collided with terrain during an off airport landing near Minden, Nevada. Soar Minden was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) pilot and the student pilot sustained minor injuries; the glider sustained substantial damage. The local instructional flight departed Minden about 1215. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the nearest official reporting station; instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. No flight plan had been filed.

The pilot submitted a written report. The flight was to provide instruction on mountain wave conditions. The CFI and student released the tow line at 8,500 feet in turbulent lift conditions. The instructor took over the controls for the final minute of the tow due to the turbulence. After release, the student resumed control, and worked several small patches of lift south of the airport. About 20 minutes into the flight, the tow pilot radioed from the ground that a snow squall was moving in from the north.

The CFI had the student head toward the airport, and prepare for a straight-in approach to runway 34. The wind speed increased, and the ceiling quickly lowered. The CFI took control when he determined that they would have to fly a lot faster to beat the storm. About 3 miles south of the field, he noted that the ceiling was descending rapidly enough that he would have to go below the glide slope in order to maintain cloud clearance. He descended with spoilers, and told the student to prepare for an off airport landing in a farmer's field short of the airport.

The CFI set up for landing. He had to turn and change his path at the last second when he noticed an irrigation sprinkler in his path. The right wing tip contacted the ground, and the glider ground looped during landing, which resulted in substantial to the tail boom.

The instructor's report indicated that he had obtained an abbreviated weather brief via telephone and the internet from the National Weather Service.

The nearest official reporting stations was Reno, Nevada, which was 345 degrees at 28 nautical miles from the accident site. An aviation routine weather report (METAR) issued for Reno at 1056 stated: winds from 360 degrees at 14 knots; visibility 10 miles; skies 8,000 feet scattered, 12,000 feet broken, 14,000 feet overcast; temperature 6/42 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; dew point -1/30 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury. METAR's for the previous 5 hours reported similar conditions.

A METAR for Reno at 1130 stated: winds from 340 degrees at 22 knots gusting to 30 knots; visibility 1 mile with light snow; skies 1,000 feet scattered, 4,000 feet overcast; temperature 2/36 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; dew point -1/30 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; altimeter 29.77 inches of mercury. A METAR at 1137 reported 1/4 mile visibility in light snow and fog, and overcast at 2,000 feet. The visibility was 3/4 mile, and winds were 330 degrees at 11 knots in a 1202 METAR; other conditions remained the same.

A METAR for Reno at 1256 stated: winds from 310 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 25 knots; visibility 10 miles; skies 6,000 feet overcast; temperature 3/37 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; dew point -4/25 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit; altimeter 29.83 inches of mercury.

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