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The pilot completed his pre-takeoff checks before launching for a local flight. He subsequently advised that while he was manoeuvring behind a glider ahead of him in the circuit the canopy rattled and flew open. He was unable to close the canopy and shortly afterwards it tore free from the glider structure. A successful and uneventful landing was then carried out. Investigation revealed that it was possible to close the canopy locking handle fully without the locking pins engaging in the lock studs. In this type of glider the unsecured canopy was then not easy to detect from inside the cockpit. The pilot had limited experience on type and was not aware of the difficulty in detecting an unsecured canopy. Physical checks for canopy security by pushing on the canopy were discouraged by the gliding club for fear of damage. The launching crew had not noticed that the canopy was unlocked during the hookup procedures.

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General details
Date: 15 October 1988 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1640  
Location:Gawler Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: South Australia Occurrence type: Airframe - Other 
Release date: 27 June 1989 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Schempp-Hirth Flugzeugbau GmbH 
Aircraft model: Discus 
Aircraft registration: VH-IUN 
Serial number: N/K 
Type of operation: Gliding 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Gawler SA
Departure time:1612
Destination:Gawler SA
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