LAX08LA254B
LAX08LA254B

On August 2, 2008, at 1420 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-25-235 (tow plane), N7211Z, collided in-flight with the vertical tail of a Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider, N33923, after conducting glider tow operations over Jean Airport, Jean, Nevada. Las Vegas Valley Soaring operated both airplanes under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. There were no injuries to the certified flight instructor (CFI) and student in the Schweizer, or the airline transport pilot in the Piper. The glider was substantially damaged; the Piper was not damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and flight plans had not been filed. The flight originated from Jean Airport at 1413.

Both pilots reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that the glider had performed a normal tow breakaway at 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) and turned right 60-70 degrees. The glider instructor proceeded to demonstrate controllability to the student by using pitch to control airspeed. After the glider released the tow line, the tow plane turned left 90 degrees, held that course for about 30 seconds, then turned right 90 degrees, approximately paralleling the original course. The tow plane pilot reported that he had been in an area of high lift, and had climbed to about 6,000 feet msl before he was able to descend the airplane. He turned the airplane back to the southwest and continued the descent to the airport. Neither pilot kept the other airplane in visual contact as they maneuvered over the airport. The tow plane pilot said that he did not see the glider beneath the nose and instrument panel of his airplane. His right landing gear contacted the tail of the glider at a slight left to right crossing angle. The collision occurred while both airplanes were on a southwesterly course. The glider pilot was able to maintain directional control by using angle of bank; the rudder pedals were ineffective. Both airplanes landed safely at the Jean Airport.

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