October 18, 2010, Warren, Vt.., Schempp-Hirth Ventus B/16.6


At approximately 1715 Eastern time, the glider was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which originated with a tow at about 1400.

After using ridge and thermal lift to reach 14,000 feet, the pilot used the dive brakes “quite a few times” to maintain a 500-fpm descent. The pilot entered the traffic pattern and was maneuvering on the downwind leg when he experienced a strong lifting force. He stated that he “pulled the dive brakes all the way on” to counteract the lift on the glider and flew out of lifting air shortly before turning onto the base leg. He then tried, unsuccessfully, to retract the dive brakes. Due to the wind and the gliders sink rate, the pilot concluded he could not reach the airport, and selected a field south of the airport for an off-airport landing. The glider collided with trees short of the field, and came to rest suspended in trees 50 feet above the ground. An FAA inspector subsequently inspected the glider and noted the dive brake handle would bind when it was fully deployed.


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