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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA13CA245
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 14, 2013 in Yadkinville, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2013
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER SGS 1-23H-15, registration: N9860E
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he was conducting a local glider flight. After soaring for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, the pilot began to return to the departure airport. The pilot stated that the glider encountered a downdraft that would not allow him to return safely and he elected to land in a hay field about 3 miles northwest of the departure airport. The pilot further stated the approach was normal and at the "proper speed". While turning onto final approach the glider's right wing clipped a tree and spun around clockwise into trees. Postaccident examination of the glider revealed that the left and right wing leading edges incurred substantial damage due to impact with trees, and about three feet of the left wing tip was sheared off. Both spoilers were found in the full extended position. The pilot reported no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the glider that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's improper altitude management while maneuvering for an off-airport landing, which resulted in a collision with trees.