Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Schweizer SGS 1-26E, N65968: Accident occurred November 17, 2016 at Hawks Nest Airport (4TN3), Moscow, Fayette County, Tennessee

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Memphis, Tennessee

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N65968

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA048
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Moscow, TN
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER SGS126, registration: N65968
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 17, 2016, about 1430 central standard time, a Schweitzer SGS 1-26E glider, N65968, was substantially damaged when it impact trees and terrain while maneuvering in the airport traffic pattern at Hawks Nest Airport (4TN3), Moscow, Tennessee. The airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

After an aerial tow to 3,000 feet above ground level (agl) the glider disconnected from the tow plane and the pilot flew for approximately 20 minutes between an altitude of 2,500 and 3,000 feet agl. A tow plane pilot, who witnessed the accident from the ground, observed the glider flight for approximately 20 minutes. He observed the glider enter a normal left downwind approach to runway 18. He further stated that he observed the glider execute a 360-degree right turn while on the base leg at about 300 feet agl. He reported that after the 360-degree turn, the glider made another 180-degree right turn which appeared to "develop into a slow spin" from about 100 feet agl; the glider descended into the trees. The pilot stated he could not recall the left base turn and had no recollection of the accident, but offered the possibility of wind shear as a cause. In addition, he indicated that he possibly made the turn to lose altitude. He further stated there were no mechanical irregularities or anomalies with the glider.

Post-accident examination by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed the glider was upright and level on flat ground with both left and right wing leading edges pushed up against trees in an area approximately one quarter of a mile northeast of runway 18. Both wings were partially detached from the fuselage and 4 feet of the left outboard wing was crumpled. The right wing was crumpled and nearly severed mid-span. The empennage and rudder remained attached to the airframe and the cockpit sustained minor damage.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, multi engine land, and glider. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on September 6, 2016. At the time of the accident, he reported a total flight experience of 8,500 hours total time with 17.4 hours in a glider and 1.6 hours in this make and model.

The single-seat, mid-wing, glider, serial number 608, was manufactured in 1974. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on December 15, 2015. At that time, the airframe had accumulated approximately 2,709 total hours of operation. The glider's flight manual detailed that its stalling speed in level flight was 28 mph. At a 20-degree bank, it was 29 mph, and at 30 and 45 degrees, it was 30 and 33.4 mph respectively.

The William L Whitehurst Field Airport (M08) Bolivar, Tennessee was located about 17 miles south of the accident site. The recorded weather at MJX, at 1425, was wind from 170 degrees at 7 knots, gusting to 14 knots, and a clear sky. The temperature was 27 degrees C; dew point 06 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.97 inches Hg. An hour before the accident through an hour after, the winds remained steady from 170 degrees at 7 knots with gusts up to 15 knots.

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA048
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Moscow, TN
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER SGS126, registration: N65968
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 17, 2016, about 1430 central standard time, a Schweizer SGS-1-26E glider, N65968, was substantially damaged when it struck trees during landing at Hawks Nest Airport (4TN3), Moscow, Tennessee. The airline transport pilot was seriously injured. No flight plan was filed for the local flight and visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

After an aerial tow to 3,000 feet above ground level (agl) the glider was disconnected and the pilot flew for approximately 20 minutes between an altitude of 2,500 and 3,000 feet agl. The pilot then elected to return to the departure airport. When the glider was established on the left base leg of the approach to runway 18, a witness observed the glider make a 360 degree left turn at about 300 feet. After the turn, the glider spun into the trees from about 100 feet. The pilot stated that he did not recall the left turn while the glider was on the base leg of the traffic pattern and he had no recollection of the accident.

Winds at the time of the accident were from 170 degrees true at 7 knots with gusts of 14 knots.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the glider impacted trees before coming to rest on the ground in a nearly flat orientation, which resulted in extensive damage to the wings, and fuselage. The glider was retained for further examination.

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