Aviation safety investigations & reports

Jantar St-3, VH-XJL, 2 km NE Brobenah Airfield Leeton NSW, 2 January 1991

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot was commencing a practice flight in preparation for a 600 kilometre soaring competition task. The weather was fine with a north-easterly wind of 15-20 knots and a temperature of approximately 40 degrees Celsius. Following line-up the pilot was delayed for approximately fifteen minutes before his aero-tow became available. He then advised the tug pilot that a climb speed of 65 knots was acceptable. The subsequent tow initially appeared normal although observers at the airfield noticed some apparent roll instability. At approximately 1000 feet above ground level (agl) the tug pilot detected thermal activity and began a left orbit to regain the area of lift. With the turn almost completed the right wing was violently "kicked-up" as the aircraft re-entered the area of lift. The tug pilot corrected the upset checked that the glider was not affected and continued the left turn. Approximately five seconds after the upset at about 1300-1500 feet agl the glider released. Observers reported that the glider had banked steeply to the right while apparently still under tow. Following the tow release the angle of bank increased past the vertical the nose dropped steeply and the glider entered a spiral dive from which it did not recover. It struck the ground in an almost vertical nose-down attitude. The investigation was unable to find evidence of any pre-existing structural or system defect. Pilot medical evidence is inconclusive. The reason the aircraft entered an abnormal flight manoeuvre at an altitude from which recovery should have been possible could not be determined.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 02 January 1991   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1315    
Location   (show map): 2 km NE Brobenah Airfield Leeton    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 24 April 1991   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer PZL - Bielsko  
Aircraft model SZD-48  
Aircraft registration VH-XJL  
Serial number B-1892  
Type of operation Gliding  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Brobenah Airfield Leeton NSW  
Departure time 1310  
Destination Brobenah Airfield LEETON NSW  
Last update 13 May 2014