|B1/2007L Glider accident at Haapavesi aerodrome on 9 June 2007||Text version|
A glider accident occurred at Haapavesi aerodrome on Saturday, 9 June 2007 at 14:14 when A PIK-20 glider, registration OH-465, collided with the ground during an automobile launch takeoff. The glider was completely destroyed and the pilot was killed instantly. On 11 June 2007, Accident Investigation Board Finland (AIB) appointed investigation commission B1/2007L for this accident. Investigator Juhani Hipeli was named investigator-in-charge with investigator Hannu Mäkeläinen as member of the commission.
During the takeoff run the right wing of the glider made contact with the ground, resulting in the glider yawing approximately 30 degrees to the right. According to procedure, this situation would have called for an aborted takeoff with the pilot pulling the towline release handle. However, the pilot continued with the takeoff. The glider’s attitude was extremely abnormal at liftoff; it was in a strong sideslip to the left and rolled to the right. Immediately after liftoff the glider went into a steep climb and began to roll to the left. This was followed by a barrel roll-type manoeuvre, resulting in a collision with the ground 137 metres from the takeoff point. The glider came down inverted and at a steep angle. The towline remained hooked until impact.
Investigation revealed that the automobile launch takeoff was executed according to routine procedure and in a pre-briefed manner. The pilot was a relatively experienced glider pilot, even though he had accrued most of his experience from 1986-96. He had lately flown totally different types of gliders. After a hiatus of nine years he had flown twice on the accident aircraft type in 2006. He had hardly any experience with automobile launch takeoffs on PIK-20s. Due to the long hiatus in flying, he had little recent experience on the type.
The primary causes of the accident were the pilot’s decision to continue with the takeoff even after the wing made contact with the ground, the direction of the aircraft changed and the fact that he most probably executed the takeoff at an inadequate airspeed. After the steep initial climb the glider was out of control. Contributing factors included the pilot’s limited recent experience on the accident aircraft type, his previous experience as well as the wind conditions. The fact that the wing made contact with the ground and his decision to continue with the takeoff were the results of his insufficient recent experience after a long hiatus. He was not adequately aware of how critical the PIK-20’s aileron control was at takeoff, nor of the differences between the PIK-20 and the other glider types he had recently flown. Wind conditions were the most probable reason for inducing a roll on the takeoff run.
The investigation commission made no recommendations. However, the commission wants to emphasize glider pilots’ personal responsibility in estimating their actual proficiency on different types of gliders. The commission especially highlights the pilot’s capability for correct and rapid decision-making in takeoff situations as well as the importance of sufficient recent experience on the type at hand.