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NTSB Prelim: Schleicher ASW-19B

Glider Made Abnormal Pitch Oscillations Before It Released From The Tow Plane From About 100-150 Ft AGL

Location: Jacksonville, FL Accident Number: ERA22FA189
Date & Time: April 16, 2022, 13:15 Local Registration: N19KW
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-19B Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 16, 2022, about 1315 eastern daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-19B glider, N19KW, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at the Herlong Recreational Airport (HEG), Jacksonville, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured. The glider was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. 

According to the tow pilot, shortly after becoming airborne, he observed the glider in his rearview mirror. He stated that the glider climbed above him, then descended, then climbed again. As the tow pilot reached for the tow-release handle to release the glider, he heard the glider pilot say “release” over the radio. The glider was released, and the tow pilot immediately entered a right turn at an altitude of about 250 ft above ground level (agl). He could not immediately see the glider; however, a few seconds later, he saw the glider in the trees adjacent to the runway.

Another pilot, who had just dropped off parachute jumpers, was descending through 9,000 ft agl directly over the airport and could see the tow plane and glider taking off. He said he had a “bird’s eye view” of the entire accident. The pilot said that when the glider became airborne it pitched up about 30 to 40°, and he could see the entire nose of the glider. He said the glider “stalled and nosed over” before it entered a secondary stall and pitched up again. He heard the glider pilot on the UNICOM frequency yelling at the tow pilot to “take it easy…something is not right” followed by the sound of the tow “release” mechanism. The glider then made a left “knife-edge” turn about 200 ft agl. The glider continued in a descending left turn, the left wing impacted the ground first and the tail section separated.

The accident pilot was a member of the local soaring club, and the accident was witnessed by several people on the ground. The witnesses stated that the glider made abnormal pitch oscillations before it released from the tow plane from about 100-150 ft agl. The glider then entered a 30° left turn back to the airport. While in the turn, the glider descended and did not pull up or level out before it impacted the ground. One witness said the glider appeared to have lost elevator authority.

On-scene examination of the glider revealed that all major components of the glider were accounted for at the accident site. The glider came to rest upright in 3 to 4 ft-high brush/trees.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov 


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