Pilot Encountered An Area Of Unexpected Sink

Location: Townsend, TN Accident Number: ERA20CA151
Date & Time: 04/10/2020, 1040 EDT Registration: N711MK
Aircraft: Pipistrel SINUS Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of lift Injuries: 1 None

Gliders are a ball… so long as you leave yourself plenty of leeway to reach a landing area in the event that you lose lift…

A case in point:

The pilot of the motor-glider reported that, while enroute on a local flight he encountered an area of unexpected sink. Turning toward an area where lift was expected, additional sink was encountered. When the motor-glider was about 300 ft above the trees, the propeller was unfeathered and the engine was started. The motor-glider continued to descend due to downdraft and the pilot deployed the airframe parachute. The motor-glider continued to descend and impacted vegetation.

The motor-glider sustained substantial damage to both wings and fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the motor-glider that would have precluded normal operation.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov