Aviation safety investigations & reports

Schempp Hirth "Mini Nimbus B", VH-UIW, 13 km NNW of Horsham VIC, 16 February 1989

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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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.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 16 February 1989   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1800    
Location: 13 km NNW of Horsham    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 28 June 1989   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

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