ASK13 Glider, FWN
The student had been given a trial gliding lesson as a gift. The instructor did not notice that the student had taken a camera and had placed it on the cockpit floor in front of his control column, between his feet. The take-off roll proceeded normally, with the student recalling that it was bumpy as the glider accelerated over the grass runway surface. Once the glider was airborne the motion was smooth, but, as FWN started to climb above its normal position behind the tug aircraft, the instructor found that he was unable to move the control column forward when he tried to correct this. The tug pilot, meanwhile, noticed a progressive ‘heave’ on the tug aircraft just as it was leaving the ground and that the force intensified. The tail of the tug aircraft began to rise, so the tug pilot released the tow rope. The glider was seen to climb steeply to a height of about 100 feet, whereupon it stalled, dropped its left wing and entered a turn to the left. As the glider picked up speed the wings levelled and the nose pitched up. FWN then struck the ground on its wheel in a level attitude and bounced back into the air. Again it climbed steeply, reaching a height of about 40 feet. The glider stalled a second time, the left wing dropped again and the glider pitched nose down striking the ground in an almost vertical attitude left wing first, before settling back on the ground the right way up. The nose of the glider had been crushed and the student had suffered severe injuries to both his legs. The instructor had sustained chest and back injuries. The results of the investigation indicated that the student’s camera had become lodged in the gap between the aft edge of the cockpit floor and the front seat control column as the glider accelerated and bounced over the runway surface during the take-off run, thus preventing forward movement of the instructor’s control column. One recommendation was made to the BGA.
Published 10 December 2014