The pilot had undertaken two dual check flights in a training glider on the day of the accident. Both check flights were carried out by a glider pilot who was neither rated nor authorised to conduct them. The duty instructor, who was appropriately rated, was available at the field but did not take part in the checking.
The pilot then flew a Club Libelle single seat glider on the accident flight. Witnesses reported that soon after becoming airborne from a winch launch, the glider was observed to adopt a steep nose high attitude. It then rolled to the left and descended rapidly before impacting the ground where it came to rest inverted. The glider was destroyed in the impact and the 73 year old pilot received fatal injuries.
An examination of the wreckage did not detect any defects which may have contributed to the accident and a post-mortem examination found no pre-existing medical condition which may have resulted in pilot incapacitation.
The investigation determined that the pilot had limited recent flying experience and this was his first flight in this type of glider. The Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA) reported that this glider type has been known to have the seat slide back during the take off acceleration if it is not correctly locked. As the pilot was of small stature he would have had difficulty controlling the glider if this had occurred and could account for the steep nose high attitude witnessed as the aircraft became airborne. The extensive damage to the glider precluded any determination of the seat position prior to impact.
The factors contributing to this accident were not positively identified. However, the GFA have subsequently taken steps to ensure that the assessment and checking of pilots is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the GFA operations manual.
|Date:||28 February 1998||Investigation status:||Completed|
|State:||Tasmania||Occurrence type:||Collision with terrain|
|Release date:||02 September 1998||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Serial number||Club Libelle|
|Type of operation||Gliding|
|Damage to aircraft||Destroyed|
|Departure point||Woodbury, Tas|
|Departure time||1400 ESuT|
|Role||Class of licence||Hours on type||Hours total|