Passenger Felt That They Were Not Going To Land Safely And Yelled, “We Are Not Going To Make This.”
Location: Waller, TX Accident Number: CEN22FA416
Date & Time: September 12, 2022, 14:17 Local Registration: N397R
Aircraft: Pipistrel Italia S R L Sinus 912 LSA Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
light Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal
On September 12, 2022, about 1417 central daylight time, a Pipistrel Sinus 912 powered glider, N397R, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Waller, Texas. The pilot sustained fatal injuries and the passenger sustained serious injuries. The glider was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.
According to the surviving passenger, the flight originated from David Wayne Hooks Airport (DWH), about 1330, with an intent to return to its home base at the Soaring Club of Houston (SCOH) glider port (89TA), Waller, Texas. The flight from DWH to 89TA was uneventful. He stated that they approached 89TA from the east at a perpendicular angle to land on runway 35. He stated that the approach “seemed inconsistent” with what he had expected and that the altitude seemed to be “low.” As the glider turned onto the base leg, the passenger felt that they were not going to land safely and yelled, “we are not going to make this.” He heard the engine “rev up,” before the airplane collided with the ground.
Emergency services responded and transported the pilot and passenger to a hospital. A resident of SCOH was standing outside and saw the glider approach from the east. She stated that the position of the glider was consistent with flying the right downwind leg to land on runway 35. She stated that the glider “looked and sounded normal,” but did not see the accident. Examination of the wreckage at the accident site showed that it impacted the ground in a left-wing down, nose-low attitude. The wreckage debris was scattered about 75 ft from the initial impact point. The condition of the main wreckage and debris was consistent with a low-energy impact. All the flight controls had continuity from the cockpit to their respective flight control surfaces. The composite propeller blades were fragmented, consistent with rotation at the time of impact. The onboard ballistic recovery system (BRS) was found stowed and not deployed.