Aircraft Incident/Accident Report
Garner Gliderport Airport

Windsor, Virginia 23430
Friday, July 30, 2010 14:50 EDT

| More
NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
On the morning of the accident, the pilot arrived at the gliderport to practice for a check ride he was scheduled to take later that afternoon. The pilot, who was not a mechanic, selected and installed a "Gel-cell" battery behind the forward pilot seat during the preflight inspection of the glider. The battery was used to power the radio in the instrument panel. The pilot completed a low-level, traffic pattern flight and was then towed to 3,000 feet msl for a second flight. The glider climbed to 3,400 feet, about 5 miles from the gliderport, where the pilot smelled an unusual odor. The odor got stronger, he felt heat, and observed fire in the back seat. The pilot then deployed the spoilers and initiated an emergency descent. During the descent, the cockpit filled with smoke, and the pilot opened the canopy to clear the smoke. The smoke cleared, but the increased airflow exacerbated the fire. The pilot completed a forced landing to trees short of the gliderport, during which the glider sustained substantial damage in the ensuing post-crash fire. Examination of the glider by an NTSB fire and explosion expert could not determine the exact source of ignition in the battery or its associated wiring. Examination of the maintenance logbooks revealed that there were no entries for the work performed to install the electrical system, and neither was there any approval paperwork from the FAA pertaining to the modification.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
The unauthorized installation of a battery and associated wiring and electrical components, which resulted in an in-flight electrical fire of undetermined origin.
Event Information
Type of EventAccident 
Event Date7/30/2010 
Event Day of the WeekFriday 
Time of Event1450 
Event Time ZoneEastern Daylight Time 
Event CityWindsor 
Event StateVIRGINIA 
Event Country-- 
Zipcode of the event site23430 
Event Date Year2010 
Event Date Month
MidAir Collision IndicatorNo 
On Ground Collision occurred ?No 
Event Location Latitude365113N 
Event Location Longitude0764033W 
Event Location AirportGarner Gliderport 
Event Location Nearest Airport ID3VA8 
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airportOff Airport/Airstrip 
Distance from airport in statute miles
Degrees magnetic from airport-- 
Airport Elevation80 
Weather Briefing Completeness-- 
Investigator's weather sourceWeather Observation Facility 
Time of the weather observation1440 Eastern Daylight Time 
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees)180 
Weather Observation Facility IDSFQ 
Elevation of weather observation facility72 
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?)12 
Time Zone of the weather observationEDT 
Lighting ConditionsDay 
Lowest Ceiling Height-- 
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height-- 
Sky/Lowest/Cloud ConditionsClear 
Sky Condition for Lowest CeilingNone 
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet)-- 
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles)-- 
Visibility (Statute Miles) 10 
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius)30 
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit)19 
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic)40 
Variable Wind IndicatorWind direction could be determined 
Wind Speed (knots)
Wind Velocity Indicator -- 
Wind Gust IndicatorNot Gusting 
Wind Gust (knots) -- 
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 29.91 
Density Altitude (feet)-- 
Intensity of Precipitation-- 
METAR weather report METAR KSFQ 301840Z AUTO 04009KT 10SM CLR 30/19 A29 
Event Highest InjuryMinor 
On Ground, Fatal Injuries-- 
On Ground, Minor Injuries-- 
On Ground, Serious Injuries-- 
Injury Total Fatal-- 
Injury Total Minor
Injury Total None-- 
Injury Total Serious-- 
Injury Total All
Investigating AgencyNTSB 
NTSB Docket Number (internal use)28484 
NTSB Notification SourceFAA Eastern ROC  
NTSB Notification Date-- 
NTSB Notification Time-- 
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket information-- 
Date of most recent change to recordJul 19 2011 11:49AM 
User who most recently changed recordrows 
Basic weather conditionsVisual Meteorological Cond 
FAA District Office-- 
Aircraft Involved
Aircraft #1
Aircraft Registration NumberN17965 
NTSB NumberERA10LA387 
Missing Aircraft Indicator-- 
Federal Aviation Reg. PartPart 91: General Aviation 
Type of Flight Plan filedNone 
Flight plan Was Activated?No 
DamageSubstantial 
Aircraft FireIn-flight 
Aircraft ExplosionNone 
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full NameSCHWEIZER 
Aircraft ModelSGS 2-33AK 
Aircraft Series Identifier-- 
Aircraft Serial Number265 
Certified Max Gross Weight1040 
Aircraft CategoryGlider 
Aircraft Registration Class-- 
Aircraft is a homebuilt?No 
Flight Crew Seats-- 
Cabin Crew Seats-- 
Passenger Seats-- 
Total number of seats on the aircraft
Number of Engines
Fixed gear or retractable gearFixed 
Aircraft, Type of Last InspectionAnnual 
Date of Last InspectionDec 2 2009 12:00AM 
Airframe hours since last inspection-- 
Airframe Hours1545 
ELT InstalledNo 
ELT ActivatedNo 
ELT Aided Location of Event SiteNo 
ELT Type-- 
Aircraft Owner NameTIDEWATER SOARING SOCIETY 
Aircraft Owner Street Address-- 
Aircraft Owner CityWINDSOR 
Aircraft Owner StateVA 
Aircraft Owner CountryUSA  
Aircraft Owner Zipcode23487 
Operator is an individual?No 
Operator NameTIDEWATER SOARING SOCIETY 
Operator Same as Owner?Yes 
Operator Is Doing Business As-- 
Operator Address Same as Owner?Yes 
Operator Street Address-- 
Operator CityWINDSOR 
Operator StateVA 
Operator CountryUSA  
Operator Zip code23487 
Operator Code-- 
Owner has at least one certificateNone 
Other Operator of large aircraft?No 
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation-- 
Operator Certificate Number-- 
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or not-- 
Indicates Domestic or International Flight-- 
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail-- 
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary)Instructional 
Second Pilot on BoardNo 
Departure Point Same as EventYes 
Departure Airport Code3VA8 
Departure CityWindsor 
Departure StateVA 
Departure CountryUSA 
Departure Time1435 
Departure Time ZoneEDT 
Destination Same as Local Fltdest & departure same, accident can occur anywhere 
Destination Airport Code3VA8 
Destination CityWindsor 
Destination StateVA 
Destination CountryUSA 
Specific Phase of Flight-- 
Report sent to ICAO?-- 
Evacuation occurred-- 
Date of most recent change to recordJun 1 2011 2:44PM 
User who most recently changed recordkenj 
Since inspection or accidentLast Inspection 
Event Location Runway Number and Location36 
Runway Length2600 
Runway Width75 
Sight Seeing flightNo 
Air Medical FlightNo 
Medical Flight--