An investigation into a glider crash in Powys that left a trainee pilot and an instructor with spinal injuries has said it is “inconclusive” what caused the incident.

A report released by the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau has said an investigation into a glider accident which took place in Talgarth on August 22 last year could not determine what caused the fault which caused the incident.

The crash occurred after a student and his instructor were taking part in an instructional flight. According to the report they had flown together previously and “the student was the handling pilot” and was “close to solo standard”.


The initial plan was for them to release and glide at 1,500 ft. However not long after take-off  “the glider became airborne before the towing aircraft and began to climb. Moments later the student called out that the tow rope had detached from the glider.”

According to the report “the pilot could see the rope trailing the towing aircraft - the student stated that although he could not be certain, he did not recall pulling the release knob and would have no reason to have done so.”

The pilot then took over the controls but “he could not identify an area suitable for a safe landing” and “continued flying between trees before a field came into sight to the left of the glider that had a favourable slope and long grass”.

“The pilot turned towards the field, during which both he and the student spotted electricity cables, and the glider hit the ground. The student exited the glider immediately, while the instructor remained in the cockpit.”

The crash left the glider “damaged beyond repair” and led to both the pilot and student sustaining “spinal injuries”.

The investigation found that “the pre-flight preparation and briefing was all completed by the student to a satisfactory standard” with “a particular focus paid to rigging and control connections.

They also found that the weight and balance of the glider “was assessed and within limits”.

The investigation found that “the evidence available was not sufficient to determine conclusively why the tow rope disconnected from the glider” and added “an inadvertent input on the release knob or an unidentified mechanical failure of the tow release system could not be ruled out.”

They also noted that “the tow release had been modified, but not in a way that would have contributed to the occurrence, and the investigation was not able to determine with certainty any causal factors that would have resulted in a premature release from the tow.”