AAIB investigation to SZD-55-1, G-CKLR

Loss of elevator control during launch, Currock Hill Airfield, Northumbria, 8 April 2017...


During a towed launch, the glider was seen to climb rapidly. After disconnecting from the tow rope with a very high pitch angle, the glider rolled to the right and descended before hitting the ground in a nose-down attitude. The pilot was fatally injured.

The investigation determined that the elevator control connection had not been correctly made when the glider was rigged and this condition was not detected prior to the flight. Consequently, during the launch, the glider would have had no effective elevator control and the pilot would have been unable to control the pitch of the glider.

It was found that an historic and unapproved modification to the glider significantly increased the opportunity for mis-rigging. As a result, the European Aviation Safety Agency have taken safety action to mandate an inspection of similar gliders. In addition, one Safety Recommendation is made.

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SZD-55-1, G-CKLR 03-18

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 8 March 2018