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N30PK accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Minden, NV
38.954074°N, 119.765733°W
Tail number N30PK
Accident date 21 May 2000
Aircraft type Issoire-Aviation PIK-30
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 21, 2000, at 1450 hours Pacific daylight time, an Issoire Siren PIK-30 glider, N30PK, collided with a fence short of the runway while landing at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, Minden, Nevada. The experimental glider, owned and operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91, sustained substantial damage. The private glider pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the personal flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed the Minden-Tahoe airport at an unknown time.

Witnesses reported that the glider's altitude kept getting lower and lower while on approach for landing at the airport. They also stated that the approach was too low for a normal approach pattern. One witness reported that he saw the engine extend and then saw it being retracted and stowed, and then heard the pilot radio that he was going to land on runway 30. He indicated that the glider was approximately 100 feet above ground level (agl), saw it touch down, and impact the fence.

The glider touched down outside of the airport perimeter fence, became airborne again, and flew through fencing that consisted of five strands of barbed wire.


Personal flight logs were unavailable for review by the Safety Board investigator.

Review of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman Certification records by a Safety Board investigator revealed that the pilot received his private pilot certificate with a glider rating on November 30, 1986. An FAA inspector reviewed the pilot's personal logbook, which indicated that the pilot had a total time of 2,000 hours; 1,497 hours accrued in make and model; and 37 hours in the last 90 days.

Review of the FAA Medical Certification records by a Safety Board investigator revealed that the pilot held a third-class medical issued on August 12, 1986, with limitations for vision and prohibited night flight or color signal control.


The glider was inspected by FAA inspectors from the Reno, Nevada, Flight Standards District Office at High Country Soaring in Minden on May 23, 2000. Prior to the engine run, they visually verified the switch positions inside the cockpit. The master switch was in the "avionics" position, but not in the "engine-run" position; the fuel pump was in the "off" position; the choke setting was at the "full-on" position; and the throttle was in the "half" position. They further noted that the engine was in the retracted position inside the fuselage.

The engine was extended and the fuel level was visually checked. To facilitate the engine run, the choke and the throttle were placed in the "full-off" position, the master switch was placed in the "engine-run" position, and the auxiliary fuel pump was activated. No discrepancies were noted with the operation of the auxiliary fuel pump. The ignition switch was engaged and the engine started and ran normally. The engine responded to inputs from the throttle. The ignition switch was placed in the "off" position and the engine was retracted. There were no discrepancies noted with the extension or retraction mechanisms of the engine. FAA inspectors established flight control continuity with no evidence of preimpact anomalies noted.

The glider was equipped with a GPS Data Logger Recorder by Cambridge Aero Instruments. Personnel at High Country Soaring, under the supervision of the FAA, removed the unit and attempted to read out the information. A "No Logs Available" message was received, which indicated to them that "the logger had not been turned on during the flight." The unit was then sent to the manufacturer to determine if there was any information available on the unit. The President of the company stated that they received the same message. He further indicated that there were no discrepancies noted with the unit, and the unit may not have been used during this flight.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision to attempt to make it back to the runway for landing after experiencing a loss of lift and not maintaining a proper descent rate.

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