Investigation number
196903386
Occurrence date
Location
Waikerie
Report release date
Report status
Final
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation status
Completed
Aviation occurrence type
Airframe - Other
Occurrence category
Accident
Highest injury level
Fatal

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.

Aircraft Details
Departure point
Waikerie Aerodrome, SA
Destination
Waikerie Aerodrome, SA
Model
ES-60
Registration
VH-GPO
Operation type
Gliding
Damage
Destroyed
Manufacturer
Edmund Schneider Limited
Departure time
1335