Loss of control Accident SZD-55-1 Promyk N551DR, Saturday 6 August 2016
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Date:Saturday 6 August 2016
Type:SZD-55-1 Promyk
Registration: N551DR
MSN: 551192039
Year of manufacture:1992
Total airframe hrs:926 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59), Channahon, IL -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Channahon, IL (IL59)
Destination airport:Channahon, IL (IL59)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The single-seat glider, flown by a private pilot, was being towed into the air by a tow airplane. During the takeoff ground run, the glider's right wing dropped and contacted the ground after the wing-runner let go of the right wing. The wings leveled momentarily, and then the left wing contacted the ground while the glider was veering slightly to the left. The pilot again leveled the wings briefly before the glider pitched up about 30° to 40° and became airborne. The tow airplane was still on its takeoff ground run when the glider pitched-up. As the glider climbed in a 30° to 40° nose-up attitude, the tow airplane took off, and, shortly thereafter, the glider released from the towline. The glider's pitch attitude leveled out, and it briefly entered a right turn before it entered an aerodynamic stall/spin about 150 ft above the ground. The tow airplane subsequently landed uneventfully with the towline still attached to its tail clasp mechanism.

A postaccident examination of the glider's airframe revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The complete span of towline and tow ring remained attached to the tow airplane and appeared undamaged, consistent with the glider pilot having intentionally released the towline. There was no evidence of a medical condition or substance use that contributed to the accident. The pilot likely was distracted by the wings contacting the ground during the takeoff run and allowed the glider to pitch-up into a rapid climb. After the pilot released the glider from the towline, he likely did not recognize that the glider was approaching stall speed and allowed the glider to exceed its critical angle of attack, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall at a low altitude.

Probable Cause: The glider pilot's failure to maintain adequate pitch control while being towed and his subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed control after releasing from the towline, which resulted in the glider exceeding its critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall/spin at a low altitude.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CEN16FA308
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Download report: Final report


FAA register: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?nNumberTxt=551DR



Photo: NTSB

Revision history:

07-Aug-2016 21:57 Geno Added
08-Aug-2016 20:07 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source, Damage, Narrative]
22-Aug-2016 16:28 Alpine Flight Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Damage, Narrative]
01-May-2018 13:46 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
01-May-2018 14:13 harro Updated [Source, Narrative, Photo, ]

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