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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 201535
Last updated: 9 May 2021
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Time:16:29 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic DISC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Schempp-Hirth Discus 2c
Owner/operator:Glider Rentals
Registration: ZK-GXG
MSN: 31
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Hunter Ridge, near Lake Hāwea -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Omarama NZOA
Destination airport:Omarama NZOA
Investigating agency: CAA NZ
A a visiting overseas pilot and a friend arrive at Omarama to attend a week-long mountain soaring course with a gliding training organisation, followed by the South Island Regional Glider Championship. The pilot decides to enter the Racing Class of the Championship with his friend acting as crew.

After the pilot attends the morning briefings and conducts pre-flight planning and the daily inspection, he is launched by aero tow in ZK-GXG at 1:47pm.

At 4:25pm ZK-GXG arrives on the western side of the Hunter Ridge at 4500 ft and completes six right turns attempting to gain altitude from thermal uplift. The wind averages 182°Magnetic and 8-10 kts and the glider’s indicated airspeed ranges between 49 kts and 68 kts in the turns. No lift is gained and ZK-GXG stops circling and tracks close to rising terrain
on a north-easterly heading. ZK-GXG’s IAS progressively reduces to 41 kts, ZK-GXG enters a left turn, rapidly loses height and strikes terrain two seconds later at a recorded time of 16:29:17.

Passing Championship pilots observe the damaged glider below the ridge and see no sign of movement. They make a MAYDAY call “glider down on the Hunter Ridge” to the Championship operations base. Championship
emergency response procedures commence. Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand (RCCNZ) is alerted and a rescue
helicopter is dispatched. RCCNZ notifies the CAA. The tow plane from Omarama flies to the accident site to act as a marker for the helicopter, and relays information to base. Rescue helicopter arrives on site. The pilot is confirmed as deceased

Conclusions made by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) following the investigation:

- No pre-accident defects were found with the glider
- Wreckage signatures and track data indicated an
unrecovered aerodynamic stall
- Though an experienced glider pilot, he had minimal
experience gliding in the South Island mountainous environment
- The pilot made an error in judgement by delaying a decision
to stop circling
- It was possible the pilot’s performance had degraded after a
period of challenging flying
- Flying in the Championship may have influenced the pilot’s
- The soaring conditions were challenging that day
- The South Island mountainous area is regarded as one of the
world’s most challenging gliding environments
- The Championship operated in accordance with Gliding New
Zealand procedures and Civil Aviation Rules.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA NZ
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 5 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

21-Nov-2017 08:14 gerard57 Added
21-Nov-2017 08:49 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
22-Nov-2017 06:34 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
22-Nov-2017 19:37 Alpine Flight Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Source, Damage]
22-Nov-2017 19:38 Alpine Flight Updated [Cn]
03-Jun-2020 12:00 JMW69 Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Nature, Source, Narrative]

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