A Katikati man was piloting a single-seat glider for the first time when he crashed, suffering fatal injuries, an investigation has found.
The Civil Aviation Authority has released its report into the May 1, 2016, accident that resulted in the death of 40-year-old Gavin Harvey.
The student pilot and well-liked business owner suffered serious head injuries when his glider crashed at Tauranga Gliding Club's runways at Tauranga Airport.
He died in Waikato Hospital the next day.
He began learning to fly gliders in 2015 and had 40 flights under his belt, three of them solo.
On the day of the accident, Harvey had piloted a successful flight with an experienced instructor who cleared him to take out the PW-5 glider.
It was to be his first flight in a single-seater.
The authority's investigation found the flight began well but while coming in to land the glider overshot runway 04.
Witnesses felt the pilot could have completed that landing, and investigators found no evidence to explain definitively why Harvey chose to abort it.
Harvey radioed in to say he would try the opposite runway, number 22.
As it made the sharp turn the glider stalled and entered a spin, too close to the ground for the pilot to be able to regain control.
The glider crashed nose- and left wing-first, hitting two parked glider trailers.
A brief radio transmission was recorded in the moments before the crash but no words were spoken.
An examination of the glider found no defects. The weather was ideal with light breezes, good visibility and no cloud.
Harvey had no drugs or alcohol in his system and had seemed to be "his normal self".
Investigators found his inexperience and unfamiliarity with the aircraft likely contributed to his fatal decision.
The authority concluded Harvey's solo flying experience - 49 minutes over three previous flights in a Puchacz dual-seater - was "probably inadequate" to move on to the single-seater.
Gliding New Zealand president Karen Morgan said the report did not really explain the cause of the accident.
"Nothing can explain exactly what happened on that day, but it does give us some information on some of the elements of what happened.
"Gavin couldn't tell us what happened and he was the only one in the aircraft."
The organisation's thoughts were with his family, she said.
Tauranga Gliding Club referred the Bay of Plenty Times to the sport's national organisation for comment.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said Harvey's death was an active case before the coroner.
Policy changes after fatal crash
The Tauranga Gliding Club has introduced a peer review process, involving a panel of instructors, to determine when a student is ready to move from a twin-seater glider to a single-seater.
Gliding New Zealand's president Karen Morgan said that process was standard practice for most New Zealand clubs.
Gliding New Zealand has added guidelines for moving from dual-seaters to single-seaters into its instructor's manual.
It now recommends pilots who do not have experience across a variety of aircraft need to have completed at least 10 to 15 solo flights and 1.5 to 2 hours solo flying time before moving from dual seaters to single seaters.