Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Schweizer SGS 2-33A, N2832H: Accident occurred August 05, 2018 at Harford County Airport (0W3), Churchville, Maryland

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baltimore, Maryland

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


Location: Churchville, MD
Accident Number: ERA18LA211
Date & Time: 08/05/2018, 1500 EDT
Registration: N2832H
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS233
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On August 5, 2018, about 1500 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider, N2832H, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees shortly after takeoff from Harford County Airport (0W3), Churchville, Maryland. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The tow plane, a Bellanca/American Champion Scout 8GCBC, N88059, was undamaged and the commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight, which was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the flight instructor, shortly after takeoff, during the tow aloft, the glider's rate-of-climb decreased. When it became apparent to him that they might not clear some trees that were located about 1,300 ft off the end of the runway, he released from the tow airplane, made a right turn to avoid the tree line, and prepared for a forced landing in a nearby field. He had completed about 130° to 150° of the turn when the left wing impacted trees.

According to the pilot of the tow airplane, the weather conditions were "the worst humidity and heat and slowest rate of flying" and it had been a long takeoff roll. He stated that they would have normally used a sod runway that was into the wind and longer, but it was water logged, so they were using the grass area paralleling the southern edge of runway 28, taking off and landing in a westerly direction. That area was uphill, shorter, and had some wet areas. He stated that the initial climb felt normal and that he noted no performance issues of concern. He reported that he "kept it low to build up airspeed" before climbing out. He felt the glider drop off and he looked back to see it turning toward an open field.

The flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land and sea, instrument airplane, and glider. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 2nd class medical certificate was issued July 2017. The pilot reported 5,100 total hours of flight experience, with 975 hours in gliders.

The tow plane pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, instrument airplane, rotorcraft-helicopter, and glider.

Examination of the wreckage by an FAA aviation safety inspector revealed that the glider was substantially damaged. The left wing displayed damage consistent with tree impact. The rear portion of the fuselage was fractured just aft of the trailing edge of the wing and rested 90° to the right of the longitudinal centerline of the forward fuselage. The left wing leading edge was impact-damaged in multiple areas.

At 1445, the reported weather at Martin State Airport (MTN), about 17 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, included clear skies, 10 miles visibility, and wind from 150° at 8 knots. The temperature was 32° C, the dew point was 24° C, and the altimeter setting was 30.16 inches of mercury. A calculation revealed that the density altitude at the time of takeoff was about 2,500 feet.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schweizer
Registration: N2832H
Model/Series: SGS233 A
Aircraft Category: Glider
Amateur Built: No
Operator: The Atlantic Soaring Club
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMTN, 21 ft msl
Observation Time: 1445 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 6000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 150°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Churchville, MD (0W3)
Destination: Churchville, MD (0W3)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  39.568056, -76.208056 (est)

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