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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 237689
Last updated: 29 March 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic DISC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Schempp-Hirth Discus bT
Registration: PH-1612
C/n / msn: 30
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Unknown
Location:Midden Zeeland Airport -   Netherlands
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Midden Zeeland Airfield (EHMZ)
Destination airport:Midden Zeeland Airfield (EHMZ)
Investigating agency: Dutch Safety Board
The pilot took off from Runway 27 by making use of an aerotow. The wind came from the west with a speed of 30 km/hour. The pilotsí intention for this flight was to gain experience with the new starting procedure for the supporting turbo engine of the glider. During the winter break, PH-1612 had been modified with a new flight computer as part of the instrumentation panel and the fuel tank for the turbo engine was fitted in another position in the fuselage. The different location of the fuel tank changed the starting procedure for the engine.
After the winter break, the pilot had made two check flights with an instructor a week earlier. On the same day, he also made his first flight with PH-1612 in the new configuration. The pilot had a total flying experience of approximately 145 hours (407 starts), of which 43 hours (90 starts) on the Discus, of which 12 hours of the Discus bT.
Once airborne, the pilot released the rope at a height of 500 metres and looked for thermals to increase height. However, he was not able to gain height and therefore decided to start the engine while using the checklist. His altitude was approximately 350 metres. The pilot did not succeed to start the engine; a second attempt was also unsuccessful. Then, he attempted, without using the checklist, to retract the engine to reduce the resistance, but this did not work out either. The glider was now approximately at a height of 150 metres and a distance of 3.5 km from the airport. After the pilot had orientated himself, he performed the downwind checks and flew in a straight line back to the airport and considered landing on Runway 09. This would take the least amount of height and time.
Approaching the airport, the pilot noticed that an aerotow took place from Runway 27. Therefore, he decided to land on Runway 27, instead on Runway 09. At a height of about 10 metres, he made a left turn to an improvised short final for Runway 27. During this turn, the left wingtip contacted the ground, causing the glider to make a traversed landing and a ground loop.
The pilot remained unharmed. The glider sustained damage to, amongst others, the canopy and left wing tip wheel. The pilot was aware of the fact that he attempted the start of the engine at a lower height than 500 metres, which is the minimum height for starting the engine, as prescribed by the club he was a member of. The unsuccessful start and unsuccessful retraction of the engine took his attention away from flying the glider. Despite ending up in an unfavorable positon to proceed back to the airport, the pilot decided not to make an off-field landing. Later, the pilot recognized that felt peer pressure from fellow pilots to return to the airport, was an important factor in his decision-making.
The occurrence shows the importance of good flight preparation and the timely detection of and response to circumstances that could put the glider in an unwanted and risky situation. Especially with a flight that is intended to practice something new, it is essential to pay attention to how to deal with unforeseen events, such as not being able to start the engine, during flight preparation. The incident also shows that even in stressful situations, it is important to strictly follow the guidelines and procedures for a safe flight operation.


Revision history:

06-Jul-2020 08:54 harro Added
29-Mar-2021 18:10 harro Updated [Registration, Cn, Total occupants, Nature, Source]
29-Mar-2021 18:11 harro Updated [Narrative]

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