LAX07LA257
LAX07LA257

On August 25, 2007, about 1630 mountain daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus glider, N62305, departed from controlled flight and collided with terrain while on approach to Heber City Municipal Airport (Russ McDonald Field), Heber, Utah. The pilot, who was additionally a co-owner, was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The glider sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed from Heber about 1545. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage the day after the accident and interviewed several witnesses. He stated that witnesses observed the glider approaching the airport. The glider was configured with the spoilers in the extended (open) position. While on approach, the glider stalled and spun into the desert terrain below, short of the runway. He reported that an examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunction or failure with the glider.

In an interview with a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, another co-owner of the accident glider stated that the pilot departed Heber about 1545 with utilization of a tow plane. The glider was released in the vicinity of Wellsburg Valley for the personal flight. The co-owner reported having numerous conversations with glider pilots who observed the accident glider's approach and subsequent impact. The witnesses stated that the glider approached from the west and crossed over the airport about mid-field. The glider made a normal left turn to enter the downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 21. The glider immediately started a rapid descent with the spoilers open. It continued in that configuration until reaching about 200 feet above ground level (agl), at which point the nose pitched up. The glider entered a stall/spin, descending behind surrounding hangers and impacting a field.

The co-owner performed an examination of the wreckage under the auspice of a FAA inspector. The examination disclosed that the spoilers were fully open at the time of impact, and the landing gear was still in the undercarriage. He added that no radio transmissions where heard from the accident pilot preceding the event, and the weather at the time was normal visual meteorological conditions.

At the time of this writing, the pilot has no recollection of any events from the day of the accident.

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