DFW08LA187
DFW08LA187

On July 16, 2008, approximately 1400 mountain daylight time, an AMS Flight Carat A glider, N234CT, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering for an emergency landing near Edgewood, New Mexico. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant and registered co-owner of the glider, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The local flight departed the Moriarty Airport (0E0), Moriarty, New Mexico, approximately 1330.

The accident flight was the second flight of the day for the pilot. The motorized glider had self launched to the soaring area west of Moriarty and had been soaring for approximately one half hour when the lift disappeared and the glider got into an area with significant sink. The pilot said he was unable to restart the engine and began planning for an off-field emergency landing and that the landing area available was marginal and littered with six to ten foot tall juniper trees.

A witness about 150 yards away from the impact location observed the glider heading northeast and estimated it to be approximately 150 feet above the ground when she saw it suddenly "nose-dive" into the ground. Emergency rescue crews arrived on the scene within 15 minutes after the crash.

Responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors reported that the glider struck the ground next to a small juniper tree in a near perpendicular attitude and came to rest upright facing opposite to the direction of travel as described by the witness and remained mostly intact. The canopy had separated from the aircraft and the tail was broken but not completely separated from the aircraft. The "beak" propeller was found with both blades driven tip first straight into the ground. The spoilers and landing gear were extended and the landing gear switch was found in the down position. An oxygen nasal canula was found connected but the oxygen system's automatic function did not appear to be turned on. The fuel tank had ruptured; however an odor of fuel was detected by the inspector several hours after the crash. Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces. No anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation.

According to another pilot familiar with the accident glider, the spoilers can be locked in an extended position and that landings are typically done with the spoilers extended one to one and one half inches. However, if the spoilers are extended abruptly to the full extend position, the aircraft severely pitches nose down.

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