Schweizer 2-33A Glider C-FYWL - Epilogue

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Report / August 13, 2014 / Project number: Schweizer C-FYWL - B Category

Location: Picton Airport, Ontario
Date: 13 August 2014
Status: Investigation Complete

This mission was the Cadet Pilot’s (CP’s) first flight of the day, and 6th solo flight of the Cadet Glider course.  As per the Air Cadet Gliding Program Manual the tow rope the tow rope was inspected prior to launch by the Glider Hook-Up Person as well as the CP.  The glider was pulled aloft by a tow plane from runway 28 at 1039 (L).  The flight called for a tow to 1500 feet above ground level (AGL), but climbing through approximately 230 feet AGL, the tow rope broke at the glider tow ring. 

The CP immediately turned back towards the runway to conduct a downwind landing on the runway.  The CP landed hard, which caused the glider to bounce into the air three times, before the glider came to rest prior to the end of the runway. The CP incurred only minor injuries whereas damage to the glider was very serious.

The investigation determined the following: the accident tow rope visual inspection was carried out by the glider Hook-Up person and the CP prior to launch, however, the inspection was ineffective due to tape preventing a visual inspection of tow rope integrity at the tow ring attachment; the tow rope taping procedure was approved IAW the ACGPM section 3; the tape does provide the tow rope protection from abrasion, however, its use does not facilitate accurate detection of tow rope wear; lastly, the three methods -Schweizer, Half-Ball and Tube, Full and Half-Ball - are effective at protecting tow ropes, and facilitate a visual inspection of tow rope integrity before all launches.

Three preventative measures have been recommended:

1. NCA Ops should update the ACGPM stressing the three rope protection methods for protecting tow rope where it attaches to the tow ring.

2. NCA Ops should update the ACGPM stressing duct tape use only for securing tow rope splices and knots.

3. Each Cadet Flying Centre and/or each Cadet Flying Site shall designate a Staff Officer as OPI, responsible to ensure tow rope tracking is carried out IAW the National Technical Authority (NTA) - AEPM RDIMS # 1077171 document.  Oversight of tow rope tracking shall be provided by the National HQ, through the Regional HQ.

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