June 15, 2020 at 10:28 AM #9093
On June 14th @ 16:30, H2 pilot launched from Crestline under instruction. Pilot gained altitude and decided to go back to the Crestline ridge. Instead of going to Billboard and out to Last Chance, pilot headed straight to Marshall. Pilot realized they were not going to clear Marshall and headed for the lower terrain to the east to try to clear the front range. Pilot could not clear the lower terrain either and did a roll-on landing in an area of grass and mustard between Marshall and the radio towers at approximately 18:00 with no injuries. Pilot was picked up and driven down.
Weather was clear and mild and overall calm conditions with moderate thermal activity. At 16:30, Crestline weather station reported SW winds at 8-12mph.
Emergency or Medical Response
No emergency response required.
Pilot did not have adequate altitude to clear the front range near Marshall before committing to that course.
Pilot had previous experience but was just getting back into flying (had a few recent solo flights and recent instruction) so may have lacked the decision making skills necessary to select an appropriate course from Crestline to the front range. Pilot undertook a flight path for which they did not receive a briefing.
Pilot to review terrain clearance safety margins, important altitudes and locations between the Crestline ridge and front range, and recommended flight paths between Crestline ridge and the front range to adequately clear the front range. Instructor to review pilot site briefings to ensure they include explicit information on recommended flight paths, important altitudes and landmarks, and recommendations on safely clearing the front range.
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