Accident Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus N47SS, Saturday 10 August 2002
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Date:Saturday 10 August 2002
Type:Silhouette image of generic scir model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus
Registration: N47SS
MSN: 278
Total airframe hrs:860 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Hilltown, PA -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Hilltown, PA (0PA0)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The glider was being towed by an airplane for takeoff, when it was observed to bounce hard on the runway twice, then it assumed a steep nose up attitude. The tow rope broke, and the glider impacted the ground in a near vertical descent. The C-hook on the stabilator push rod, was found in front of, and not connected to the roller bearing on the stabilator. The pilot's flight experience was over 3,000 hours with about 84 hours in gliders. He had accumulated 28 hours in the accident glider, including 17 flights. This was the first glider the pilot had operated, that he was required to disassemble for storage and reassemble for flight. Witnesses reported the pilot experienced difficulty with the assembly process. A view window was located on top of the stabilator to check for proper engagement of the C-hook, and the AFTER ASSEMBLY checklist called for it to be used to check for proper assembly. A witness reported the pilot moved the control stick in the cockpit and observed movement of the flight controls, but he was not observed to actually check the view window for proper assembly. A check of another glider of the same make and model found it was possible to lock the stabilator in place on top of the vertical stabilizer, with the C-hook in the same place as found on the accident glider. In this configuration, the control rod that held the C-hook was pressed against the roller bearing and held in place by friction. However, the incorrect assembly was visible through the view window on top of the stabilator, and when the stabilator was held in place, it was still possible to move the cockpit control stick abut 1 inch forward or aft, with no corresponding movement on the stabilator.
Probable Cause: The pilot's improper pre-flight, and failure to follow procedures in the flight manual to determine that the stabilator was properly connected prior to flight, and which resulted in a loss of control while under tow, and uncontrolled impact with the ground.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NYC02FA159
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
27-Jun-2009 00:03 DColclasure Updated
21-Dec-2016 19:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
09-Dec-2017 17:15 ASN Update Bot Updated [Cn, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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