The Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) is the Training and Safety arm of the Soaring Society of America (SSA). Our mission is to provide instructors and pilots with the tools needed to teach/learn both the stick & rudder skills and the Aeronautical Decision Making skills needed to safely fly a glider. We also provide information and analysis of incident and accident trends in order to develop better training tools.


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The Soaring Incident Database is now available to help pilots, safety officers, clubs, and commercial operators develop new programs that can help prevent incidents from becoming major accidents. See more incidents by searching the database or register a new incident.

Region Pilot Certificate Pilot Injuries Passenger Injuries Type of Flight Launch Method Type of Aircraft
East Student None None Instructional Aero Tow L-13AC
Incident Activity Damage to Aircraft Damage to Canopy Incident Date Incident Time Weather SSA Member
Preflight Substantial 0000-00-00 1200-1400 Overcast Yes
Incident Description Flying conditions were reported as being quite rough with strong, variable winds generally from 140 to 180 heading 10 gusts to 25. The first flight of a three flight introduction was taken in the club’s Blanik L13AC with the duty instructor. Upon landing it was reported conditions were not suitable for any introductory training – very rough and no sustainable lift. I was asked if I wanted to fly in these conditions. I thought it would be good experience to try in these conditions and got ready. Takeoff and landing would be done on runway 14 which I had not done in quite a few months. I talked about this with the instructor to have a plan for landing. We also talked about the conditions in general and what I should do on tow, during the flight, and in the pattern. Takeoff, tow, and the general flight seemed as if I had control of the glider for windy and rough conditions. We released from tow at 3500 feet MSL. The instructor commented on low speed at some points for the conditions as I sometimes slowed to between 40 and 45 knots. She also noted that my turning was not always coordinated at times as indicated by the yaw string being out of position. One spot on the ridge had a small section of lift that allowed us to maintain our height at about 2000 feet MSL (1,400 AGL) for awhile. As we lost height to under 1900 feet MSL (airport elevation 660') we decided to enter the pattern to use 14 for landing. Downwind and base legs were OK. Turning to final I may have had excess altitude, but under the conditions I felt this was not bad and landing long was a possibility (2,800' runway). As I continued towards my aim point, my speed did drop some and as coached by the instructor I believe that I corrected this. The next thing I heard was the instructor saying to crab. (I believe this what she said to me.) I immediately started to take a crab position, but I went in the wrong direction turning the nose away from the wind. The instructor said, "t
Other Comments I believed I was capable of doing the needed actions for a successful landing, but should have been communicating more with Linda or even giving control of the glider to her when I turned to final under the conditions at that time.

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