Aviation safety investigations & reports

ES60 Mkll Boomerang Glider, VH-GPO, Waikerie, SA, 18 April 1969

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot was making his first flight in an ES60 Glider but had previously flown the KA6 type glider which has similar characteristics. On the day of the accident he completed two dual check flights in a Blanik glider and was then given a comprehensive briefing on the ES60. Shortly after taking off in the ES60, the pilot assumed the normal low tow position behind the tug aircraft until reaching some 500 feet below the planned release height of 2, 500 feet. At this point release occurred without the glider having taken up the normal line astern release position and subsequently a turn was made to the left, toward the aerodrome instead of to the right as is normal procedure. The glider then rapidly accelerated to a high speed in a very steep dive with the wings level and then recovered momentarily to level flight before entering a similar but steeper and faster dive. When the glider was below recovery height, the port wing separated from the fuselage which disintegrated on impact with the ground. No evidence was found of any structural defect or malfunction of the controls prior to the wing failure, nor were the weather conditions considered to be significant. The pilot had been adequately briefed on the use of dive brakes to limit the diving speed but the evidence is that they were not used. The pilot's medical history and a post-mortem examination provided no reason to suspect incapacitation.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 152KB]
General details
Date: 18 April 1969   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1340 CST    
Location: Waikerie    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Airframe - Other  
Release date: 11 February 1970   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Edmund Schneider Limited  
Aircraft model ES-60  
Aircraft registration VH-GPO  
Type of operation Gliding  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Waikerie Aerodrome, SA  
Departure time 1335  
Destination Waikerie Aerodrome, SA  
Last update 13 May 2014