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The pilot and an assistant had rigged a launching device which utilized a bungee assembly of motor tyre tubes, and a vehicle and cable to launch a glider over the slope of Big Talbingo Mountain. It was intended that when the glider was released, sustained acceleration was to be obtained by the vehicle and cable moving away from the glider. The weather conditions were favourable with the glider facing into a wind of 10-15 knots. The assistant positioned the vehicle such that the slack in the system was taken up before he spoke to the pilot who was now in the cockpit and who briefed him again on the required procedure. The vehicle was driven away, stretching the bungee assembly, but at a speed too slow to sustain acceleration of the glider after automatic release. The pilot was aware of the situation, but was committed to the launch and when further movement of the vehicle automatically released the cable retaining the glider, the launch commenced and the glider moved forward without continuing to accelerate and rolled over the edge of the clearing. The left wing dropped and the aircraft continued to sink until it struck the rocky cliff face. The launching system, modified from one used previously by the pilot, was untried and the procedures to be used had not been practised.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 96KB]
General details
Date: 16 January 1969 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1400 EST  
Location:Talbingo Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Loss of control 
Release date: 22 June 1970 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Edmund Schneider Limited 
Aircraft model: ES-57 
Aircraft registration: VH-GNW 
Type of operation: Gliding 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Big Talbingo Mountain
Departure time:1400
Destination:Talbingo Airstrip
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Last update 13 May 2014