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N2078D accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 32.839722°N, 105.990555°W
Nearest city Alamogordo, NM
32.899532°N, 105.960265°W
4.5 miles away
Tail number N2078D
Accident date 23 Nov 2001
Aircraft type Eiriavion Oy PIK 20D
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 23, 2001, approximately 1513 mountain standard time, an Eiriavion Oy PIK 20D glider, N2078D, was substantially damaged after impacting terrain during a precautionary landing at the Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport, Alamogordo, New Mexico. The glider was registered to and operated by the pilot. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the glider, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from Alamogordo at 1510.

According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot reported that shortly after takeoff from runway 03, he encountered "a strong wind gust that caused the glider to balloon dangerously high above the tow plane." The pilot was unable to maintain a proper tow position and elected to terminate the tow by releasing the tow rope when the glider was approximately 200 feet above the runway. A right turn was then initiated in an attempt to land on runway 34, "but [he] did not have sufficient altitude, and [the] right wing brushed a large mesquite bush just prior to impact." The pilot stated that subsequent to impact the glider ground looped in a clockwise direction, slid approximately 50 feet, and came to rest upright. Both wings and the fuselage section aft of the wing root sustained structural damage. The pilot added that the wind at the time of the accident was from 350 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 25 knots.

At 1511, the automated weather observation facility located at Alamogordo reported the wind from 210 degrees at 4 knots.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain altitude and clearance with small trees during a precautionary landing.

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