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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 29535
Last updated: 4 December 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic VENT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Schempp-Hirth Ventus cM
Registration: N41BM
MSN: 25
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Inyo National Forest, near Benton, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Minden, NV (MEV)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB

The pilot departed in a 58-foot-wingspan single-seat motor glider for a round-robin cross-country flight. The intended flight path passed over steep, rugged, mountainous terrain, which had a maximum elevation of 14,100 feet. Four other gliders departed with the accident glider, and the four returned to their departure base about an hour later due to unfavorable winds out of the south and weak lift. The pilot was very experienced with the terrain and proceeded on. His last communication with the four returning gliders was that he was at 16,700 feet and he was headed for a major peak (13,700 feet) on his route of flight. Search and rescue activities were initiated when the pilot failed to return. Friends of the pilot located the missing glider two days later. The wreckage impact signatures, ground scars, and the debris field were consistent with the glider impacting the mountain in a nose-down vertical descent consistent with a spin. The recorded wind at a nearby weather station was from 180 degrees at 16 knots, gusting to 24 knots. The mountain peak and gorge type topographic features within 1.5 miles directly upwind from the accident site could easily have generated mountain wave and turbulent conditions in the area of the accident.
Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering and the inadvertent entry into a stall/spin. Contributing to the accident were the mountainous terrain conditions, unfavorable wind conditions, and the terrain-induced turbulent wind conditions.




Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
08-Jan-2009 11:50 harro Updated
20-Jan-2012 10:14 Alpine Flight Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
04-Dec-2017 18:49 ASN Update Bot Updated [Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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