Gwernesney crash: Investigation finds pilot died after part of glider fell off
May. 28, 2020
A glider pilot died when part of his aircraft fell off during take-off causing it to crash nose-first into the ground, an investigation has found.
Steve Evans, 54, suffered serious injuries at South Wales Gliding Club in Gwernesney, near Usk, on 27 July 2019.
Mr Evans, from Glynneath, Neath Port Talbot, died five days later at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch found part of the tailplane was not correctly attached.
Glider club members assisting with the launch had signalled that the take-off should be aborted but the message did not reach the aerotow tug pilot, a report said.
Stop signals were not heard or seen, with the glider becoming airborne and climbing rapidly before the tow cable was released and the aircraft's nose dropped.
It descended steeply and struck the ground nose-first before Mr Evans was freed from it and airlifted to hospital, where he died five days later from complications related to his injuries.
The investigation found the tailplane - used to stabilise the aircraft - was not correctly attached when the glider was rigged but the precise problem was not identified.
Two safety recommendations were issued relating to communication for glider launching and detecting incorrect alignment on tailplane locking features.
The gliding club has also now improved safety actions around signalling.
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