Cause of glider crash still unclear

QUESTIONS over the cause of an horrific glider crash that killed the 74-year-old pilot are yet to be answered despite an investigation.An official report did not find a conclusive explanation for the accident at Ridgewell Airfield last September, which claimed the life of Peter Manley, from Ashen Road, Clare.

QUESTIONS over the cause of an horrific glider crash that killed the 74-year-old pilot are yet to be answered despite an investigation.

An official report did not find a conclusive explanation for the accident at Ridgewell Airfield last September, which claimed the life of Peter Manley, from Ashen Road, Clare.

The Air Accident Investigation report said one possible cause may have been that Mr Manley had not fastened the shoulder straps of his harness and had slipped rearward in his seat - inadvertently pulling back on the controls when this happened.

But the report describes him as a very experienced glider with more than 4,000 flying hours who at one stage held an instructor's rating.

And although the shoulder straps were said to not have been fastened after the crash, the report suggests the ground impact may have released them very early on in the incident.

The DG600 glider was said to be climbing at a steeper angle than normal and at an abnormally slow speed when it veered to one side and spun to the ground.

Most Read

At 350ft the report stated there was not enough time for the pilot to recover the aircraft, which hit the ground and killed him instantly.

No record was held of a daily inspection before the flight, but Mr Manley was described to be “meticulous regarding the maintenance and inspection of the glider”.

The report said: “It is therefore reasonable to assume that an inspection was carried out prior to the accident launch.”

Witnesses said Mr Manley's behaviour before the flight, which was his only of the day, was normal and he appeared to be in good spirits.

They also said the glider slowed down, which resulted in the winch cable slackening and then detaching as the nose dropped before the glider spun into the ground.

The report also stated there was no medical explanation for the crash on September 18, 2005.

It added: “Injuries to the pilot's left hand suggested that he had not collapsed prior to ground impact.

“Moreover, there were no medical conditions which were likely to have contributed to this accident.”

What caused the 1988 Glaser Dirk to crash remains unknown, as the investigation also found no fault with the glider itself.

lorraine.price@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter