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N8747 accident description

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Crash location 35.381667°N, 86.246666°W
Nearest city Tullahoma, TN
35.362023°N, 86.209434°W
2.5 miles away
Tail number N8747
Accident date 28 Sep 2002
Aircraft type Schempp-Hirth KA8B
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 28, 2002, at 1300 central daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth, KA8B glider, N8747, registered to University of Tennessee Space Institute, and operated by a student pilot, collided with trees short of runway 6 during an approach to land at Tullahoma-Highland Rim Regional Airport, in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The instructional flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The glider sustained substantial damage. The student pilot was not injured. The flight departed Tullahoma, Tennessee, at 1130, on September 28, 2002.

According to the student pilot, he was on his 17th solo flight at the time of the accident. After getting a car-tow, he climbed to 1100 feet, and maneuvered until he had descended to 600 feet. At this altitude, the student pilot elected to return to the airport. He entered the left traffic pattern for runway 06. As he turned onto the base leg of the approach, he realized that he was low and the wind continued to blow the glider away from the runway. Concerned about the loss of altitude, the pilot raised the nose in an effort to extend the glide. The student pilot said that this maneuver allowed the glider to clear most of the trees on the approach end of the runway, but the right wing collided with the top of a tree. The glider spun around and fell into a small grove of trees short of the runway.

The student pilot did not report a mechanical problem with the glider.

NTSB Probable Cause

The student pilot misjudged the airspeed and altitude during a visual approach to land that resulted in the in-flight collision with the trees.

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