Cat. 2 investigation report: simplified-format report, adapted to the circumstances of the occurrence and the investigation stakes.
The pilot planned a morning’s wave soaring above the Pyrenees, in the vicinity of the Oô lake. His glider, based at Saint-Gaudens, was equipped with a self-launching system but the pilot preferred to be towed to limit use of his engine. He had therefore contacted one of the Saint-Gaudens club’s tug pilots the previous day, to tow him to the required flight zone and to release him at 3,000 m, above the terrain.
The glider pilot and the pilot of the microlight, a Dynamic WT9, met at Saint-Gaudens aerodrome at 07:30 in the morning and each prepared for their flight. The glider pilot equipped himself for a long flight, at high altitude. Before departure, his spouse helped him with his preparation and cleaned the outside of the canopy with a cloth, while the pilot was strapped into the glider.
The microlight pilot warmed up the engine. He noticed that his windscreen was very misted and that the humidity was gradually clearing as he heated the cabin.
At 8:15, the combination lined up on runway 07 and took off. From take-off, the tug pilot felt that the rear of the microlight was pulling to the left. He stated that he had problems controlling his path while flying at around 20 metres from the ground. He then felt the microlight nose down in the direction of a group of residential buildings and observed that the glider was in the high position. He released the tow cable immediately and regained control of the microlight. He continued to climb and completed a left-hand runway circuit to land on runway 07, without taking his eyes off the glider’s path.
The glider pilot released the cable almost simultaneously then turned around to the left. He lost control of the glider during the turn and collided with the vegetation.
Once he had landed, the microlight pilot went to the accident site to assist the glider pilot.