The Cherokee II type of glider is of plywood construction and accommodates only one occupant.
Miss Sainsbury had made only one previous flight in the type some months previously and, on that occasion,
she released the tow cable during the launch because of excessive winch speed. She subsequently made
a satisfactory landing.
On the day of this accident she completed a satisfactory check flight with an instructor in a two-seat glider
this flight included a simulated cable break during the winch launch at a height of some 400 feet. The
weather was fine and clear, the wind was light and from the north-west, the air temperature was about 30°C.
In preparation for her flight in VH-GRD, she was briefed regarding the operation of the glider
by her father, who is an experienced glider pilot and was to operate the winch for the launch. She then
seated herself in the glider and fastened her restraining harness and, while her father was preparing the
tow cable and winch for operation, she was further briefed by the instructor who had accompanied her on
the check flight. The glider was then launched into the west and, initially, appeared to be operating
normally. However, at a height of about 600 feet it appeared to be climbing in a nose high attitude at a
slower than normal speed. The port wing then lowered, a turn to the left commenced and the tow cable
released from the glider. The turn developed into a spin and, after two complete turns, the rate of spin
appeared to decrease momentarily but it then resumed and continued until the glider struck the ground in a
steep nose down attitude.