Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lost of Lift: PZL Swidnik PW-5, N961JH; accident occurred June 10, 2019 in Independence, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Independence, WI
Accident Number:GAA19CA338 
Date & Time: 06/10/2019, 1449 CDT
Registration: N962JH
Aircraft: PZL-SWIDNIK PW-5
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of lift
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot of the glider reported that, en route to his destination, the glider lost lift, so he diverted to a corn field for landing. During the landing, the glider bounced, and "the canopy popped off of the fuselage" and broke into several pieces.

The glider sustained substantial damage to the canopy.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the glider that would have precluded normal operation. Although the pilot said he bumped the canopy during the bounced landing, it could not be determined if that or some other mechanism caused the canopy to separate.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The separation of the canopy from the glider during an off-airport landing for reasons that could not be determined. 


Flight compartment windows - Not specified (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of lift (Defining event)

Off-field or emergency landing
Part(s) separation from AC

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 69, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used:
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: 09/17/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 368 hours (Total, all aircraft), 158 hours (Total, this make and model), 352 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 19.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10.3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PZL-SWIDNIK
Registration: N962JH
Model/Series: PW-5
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 1997
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17.07.018
Landing Gear Type: None
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/14/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 661 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 0
Airframe Total Time: 407 Hours as of last inspection
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: KBCK, 837 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1955 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 105°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 7500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 16 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Stanton, MN (SYN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Black River Falls, WI (BCK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1234 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

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: 44.362222, -91.391389 (est)

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