Sunday, June 9, 2019

PZL Swidnik PW-5, N123PW: Accident occurred June 23, 2018 near Soaring Club of Houston Gliderport (89TA), Waller, Texas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

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


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


Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


https://registry.faa.gov/N123PW


Location: Waller, TX
Accident Number: GAA18CA382
Date & Time: 06/23/2018, 1345 CDT
Registration: N123PW
Aircraft: PZL-SWIDNIK PW 5
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event:
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

According to the glider pilot, about 15 minutes into the flight, the glider had reached 2,000 ft above ground level (agl), but he was unable to find more lift. The glider was about 1.5 miles west of the airfield, and he decided to continue west in search of lift under a cloud formation. He did not find lift and returned to his previous position 1.5 miles west of the airfield at 1,200 ft agl. The pilot decided to land off the airfield.

The pilot entered the pattern using the glider's spoilers and turned from the downwind leg to the base leg at 700 ft agl. He reported that he allowed the glider's flightpath to take him .5 mile too far downwind. During the base leg of the pattern, he reported that he had to "crab the airplane into the wind" to avoid being pushed further downwind. On final, the glider descended rapidly and collided with trees.

The glider sustained substantial damage to the left wing spar.

The pilot reported that the wind at the time of the accident was from 190° at 15 knots. He attempted to land on a heading of 170°.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the glider that would have precluded normal operation. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The glider pilot's failure to maintain clearance from trees during landing. 

Findings

Aircraft
Descent/approach/glide path - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Environmental issues
Tree(s) - Effect on operation (Cause)
Wind - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute
Loss of lift

Approach
Other weather encounter

Landing
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:No 
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/18/2018
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 210 hours (Total, all aircraft), 151 hours (Total, this make and model), 168 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PZL-SWIDNIK
Registration: N123PW
Model/Series: PW 5 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 1996
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 1705024
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Ski/wheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/05/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 661 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  0
Airframe Total Time: 299 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K11R, 308 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1855 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 274°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 5000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 170°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.86 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 34°C / 23°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Waller, TX (89TA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Waller, TX (89TA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1325 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Soaring Club Of Houston (89TA)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 308 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 30.192778, -95.963333 (est)

No comments: