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After a cross country soaring flight, the pilot made an outlanding in a paddock short of his destination. The pilot reported that the paddock was about one kilometre wide and one and one half kilometres long, covered in short dry grass with some scattered thistles. While waiting for the tug aircraft to arrive, the pilot inspected the paddock and decided that a takeoff into the west would be the best course of action. The wind at the time was approximately five knots from the south-west. The pilot reported that the takeoff was normal with the glider lifting off at about 40-45 knots. While flying at about two feet above the ground, waiting for the tug aircraft to lift off, the right wingtip of the glider hit a large thistle or group of thistles. The glider swung to the right, the left wingtip lifted and the right wingtip contacted the ground. The glider was then 90 degrees to the tug and at about 20 degrees of bank. The tow rope was released and the glider swung almost 180 degrees from the takeoff direction. The glider remained airborne for about another 40 metres before the left wing and tail section hit the ground, bringing the aircraft to rest shortly thereafter. The pilot advised that although he thought he was extremely unlucky for this accident to have occurred, he now thinks that the paddock was not a suitable takeoff area.

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General details
Date: 16 February 1989 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1800  
Location:13 km NNW of Horsham Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria  
Release date: 28 June 1989  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Schempp-Hirth Flugzeugbau GmbH 
Aircraft model: Nimbus 
Aircraft registration: VH-UIW 
Serial number: 93 
Type of operation: Gliding 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:13 km NNW of Horsham VIC
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Horsham VIC
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