Accident Flight Was His First Flight In The Glider

Location: Wurtsboro, NY Accident Number: ERA21FA239
Date & Time: June 6, 2021, 13:00 Local Registration: N2878H
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-35 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On June 6, 2021, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 1-35 glider, N2878H, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Wurtsboro, New York. The pilot was fatally injured. The glider was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the towplane pilot, the accident pilot owned the glider, and the accident flight was his first flight in the glider. During initial climb from runway 23, near the departure end, about 100 to 200 ft above ground level, the glider pilot released the tow rope and began a 45° bank right turn back toward the airport. About 90° through the turn, the nose dropped straight down. The glider started to pull up but was still about 60° nose down when it impacted a ramp area, slid across a taxiway and came to rest on a grass area between the taxiway and runway. The towplane pilot further stated that a different pilot flew the glider the previous day and reported that it flew well.

The glider came to rest upright, oriented south, about 100 feet east of where it had initially impacted the ground. The wings and empennage remained attached, while the fuselage partially separated in a downward direction, just aft of the wings. The cockpit area was crushed, and the control stick separated consistent with impact forces. The canopy frame remained attached to the fuselage, but the windscreen had shattered. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit to the flaps, ailerons, elevator, and rudder. The tow release mechanism functioned normally when tested. The tow rope and its attachment hardware was intact.

A data file was successfully downloaded from an onboard personal electronic device and retained for examination.