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NTSB SUMMARIES - 2001

These summaries are taken directly from NTSB final and preliminary reports and contain no comments from the Soaring Society of America or the Soaring Safety Foundation.

2001 NTSB SUMMARIES

December 2001 (3 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: ATL02LA027
Accident occurred: Saturday, December 29, 2001 at Benton, TN
Aircraft: Flugzeughbau DG-200, registration: N5457T
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 29, 20001, at about 1500 eastern standard time, a Glaser-Dirks Flugzeugbau DG-200, N5457T, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight crashed while maneuvering in the vicinity of Benton, Tennessee. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The glider sustained substantial damage. The private pilot reported minor injuries. The flight originated from Chilhowee Glider Port, Benton, Tennessee, about 2 hours before the accident.

The pilot stated he was maneuvering VFR along a mountain ridge about 400 feet above the ridge line when he experienced a strong downdraft and the glider collided with trees. The glider did not encounter any precrash mechanical failure or malfunction before it collided with trees.

NTSB Identification: FTW02LA057
Accident occurred: Sunday, December 16, 2001 at El Paso, TX
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-24E, registration: N134EK
Injuries: 1 Serious

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 16, 2001, at 1516 mountain standard time, a Schleicher ASW-24E glider, N134EK, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain just south of the depature runway at the West Texas Airport, El Paso, Texas. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight was orginating at the time of the accident.

In a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the tow pilot stated that at approximately 100 feet above runway 8, the tow rope broke. He then noticed the glider turn right 90 degrees, and then initiate a left turn back to the runway, with an angle of bank estimated to be "at least 90 degrees." The glider's left wing "hit the dirt at the side of the runway and spun around to the right shearing off the tail section."

The deminsions of runway 8 are 7,505 feet in length and 50 feet in width. The tow pilot stated that at the time the tow rope broke "there was at least 5,000 feet of runway remaining."

NTSB Identification: LAX02LA042
Accident occurred: Friday, December 07, 2001 at Banning, CA
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G102 Club Astir IIIB, registration: N102FC
Injuries: 1 Serious

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 7, 2001, about 1408 hours Pacific standard time, a Burkhart Grob Flugzeugab, G102 Club Astir IIIB, N102FC, operated by the Orange County Soaring Association, Hemet, California, encountered wind gusts on final approach to runway 08 at the Banning Municipal Airport, Banning, California. The pilot lost control of the glider and crashed into an open field about 1 mile southwest of the airport. The glider was substantially damaged, and the commercial certificated pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was performed under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Hemet at an undetermined time.

Within minutes of the accident, a Banning Police Department officer arrived on scene and interviewed several witnesses. The witnesses reported observing the glider approach the airport. The officer stated that the consensus from the witnesses was that during the glider's approach, at times the glider was stationary over the ground. That is, its forward speed seemed to completely stop. As the glider descended, its wings rocked back and forth. Suddenly, a wing lowered and the glider appeared to slide quickly down until impacting the open terrain.

The officer additionally reported that the wind was blowing extremely hard from the east. Blowing dust was prevalent. The officer estimated that the minimum wind speed was about 20 knots, and there were occasional wind gusts to about 50 knots.

November 2001 (3 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: FTW02LA043
Accident occurred: Friday, November 23, 2001 at Alamogordo, NM
Aircraft: Eiriavion Oy PIK 20D, registration: N2078D
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On November 23, 2001, approximately 1513 mountain standard time, a Eiriavion Oy PIK 20D glider, N2078D, was substantially damaged when it ground looped on landing at the Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport, Alamogordo, New Mexico. The glider was registered to and operated by the pilot. The private pilot, sole occupant of the glider, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from Alamogordo at 1510.

During a telephone interview conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that after departing runway 3 and reaching an altitude of 200 feet, the glider encountered a sudden gust of wind and ballooned, and he lost sight of the tow plane. He then released the glider from the tow plane, and seeing that he was loosing altitude and would not be able to land on runway 3, elected to land on the intersecting dirt runway 34. During landing, the right wing impacted a bush, causing the aircraft to ground loop to the right, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage aft of the wing, the main landing gear, and the tail wheel. The pilot reported that the wind at the time of the accident was 320 degrees at 20 knots, gusting to 25 knots.

NTSB Identification: IAD02LA009
Accident occurred: Saturday, November 03, 2001 at Jersey Shore, PA
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-19, registration: N19KH
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On November 3, 2001, at 1430 eastern standard time, a Schleicher ASW-19, N19KH, was substantially damaged during a collision with trees while maneuvering near Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Ridge Soaring Gliderport (79N), Unionville, Pennsylvania, at 1300. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot said:

"Departed 79N on aerotow, released 1,800 msl, climbed in thermal and ridge lift to 4,400 [feet] before departing NE for cross country soaring flight [and] proceeded NE along Bald Eagle Ridge to 2 miles east of P96. Reversed course to attempt return. On return, while circling in thermal lift upwind of ridge, contacted downdraft in portion of circle headed toward ridge.

Lost altitude, bringing glider down to treetop level at top of ridge. [Was] unable to maintain bank angle due to wing tip proximity to treetops. Leveled wings and 'landed' on tree canopy and descended through treetops still level on 20-30 [feet] descent to ground."

During a telephone interview, the pilot said the conditions became more challenging as he traveled northeast along the ridgeline. He stated:

"As you fly past Piper Memorial [Airport], the ridge has breaks in it and it makes it more difficult to fly. But I wasn't flying ridge lift I was flying thermal lift. But I didn't think about how those breaks might create turbulence, and disturb the air I was flying in.

When I reversed course, I was at about 3,500 feet but I was descending the whole time. If you get below the ridges, you are definitely not going to get the ridge lift, and the thermals are not going to be very good."

The pilot said he was flying about 2,200 feet msl and circling in a search for thermal lift. The pilot compared the circle he flew to that of the face of a clock, and that he flew in a counterclockwise direction. He said that at the 12 o'clock position, he was over the valley and about 2,000 feet. The pilot said that at the 6 o'clock position, he was over the ridge, and about 200 feet above the ground. According to the pilot:

"At the point where I was 12 o'clock on the circle, I decided I would continue the turn. That is probably the irreversible part of the accident chain. The accident would not have happened if I had turned out over the valley instead of continuing the circle into the ridge.

"As I approached the ridge, I hit a downdraft. I just started going down like I had deployed the dive brakes. As I got closer to the trees, I had to shallow out my turn, and as I shallowed my turn, the wind blew me further and further out over the ridge.

The other factor was that I was at thermaling speed, so that the outcome was that I didn't have enough altitude or airspeed to overcome the downdraft. I think it was a mistake for me not to stay over the valley and look for lift there."

The pilot was asked if he felt he could have reached Jersey Shore Airport from the point where he circled, and terminated the flight there. He said:

"I easily could have made it there. I get about 5 miles for every 1,000 feet of altitude. If I had left the ridge right there, and headed for Jersey Shore, I would have gotten there 1,000 feet above the ground. When I flew past it earlier, I even planned an approach in there. If I had completed the turn, I would have made it easily. But even if I didn't, I could have landed in plenty of good cornfields between the ridge and Jersey Shore."

The pilot said he did not get a weather briefing from Flight Service. He said the normal routine is for the glider pilots at the gliderport to gather weather information from several weather sources and discuss conditions and flight plans in a group.

The pilot held a private pilot's certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and glider. He reported 208 hours of total flight experience. The pilot also reported 101 hours of glider experience, 51 hours of which were in make and model.

The pilot reported that an annual inspection of the glider was completed on the day of the accident, and that there were no mechanical deficiencies.

At 1454, the weather reported at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles east of the accident site, included clear skies with the wind from 270 degrees at 8 knots, gusting to 15 knots.

NTSB Identification: ATL02LA009
Accident occurred: Saturday, November 03, 2001 at Locust Grove, GA
Aircraft: James E. Bass Moni, registration: N117JB
Injuries: 1 Fatal

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On November 3, 2001, at 1310 eastern standard time, a James E. Bass, Moni, powered glider, N117JB, collided with the ground while maneuvering at Mallards Landing in Locust Grove, Georgia. The personal flight was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage; the air transport pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Locust Grove, Georgia, at an undetermined time.

The powered glider and several other airplanes were participating in a fly-in at Mallards Landing. According to witnesses, the powered glider was executing a steep climbing maneuver when it entered what was described as a "spin" and collided with the ground in a nose-low attitude.

The examination of the accident site showed that wreckage debris was scattered over an area approximately 40 feet square. The glider rested in the backyard of a local resident who lived adjacent to the sod runway. Further examination of the airframe revealed extensive perpendicular crush damage to the right wing leading edge.

October 2001 (3 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: CHI02LA013
Accident occurred: Saturday, October 27, 2001 at Sturtevant, WI
Aircraft: Meester HP-14, registration: N8833
Injuries: 1 Serious

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On October 27, 2001, at 0930 central daylight time, a Meester HP-14 glider, N8833, piloted by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage during an off-airport landing near the Sylvania Airport, Sturtevant, Wisconsin. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. The flight departed the Sylvania Airport for a local flight and was returning to land at the time of the accident.

A witness to the accident reported that he was the tow-pilot for the accident glider for the accident flight. The witness stated that he towed the glider to 3,000-feet above ground level (agl) and the glider released without any problems. The witness reported that after the successful tow he returned to the departure airport. The witness stated that he observed the glider enter the traffic pattern for runway 26 on a 45-degree entry to the downwind leg. The witness reported that the glider was, "... at or slightly below the normal traffic pattern altitude (800 ft agl)... ." The witness stated that, "A little past midfield, she [the pilot] made a left 360 degree turn and re-entered the downwind leg." The witness estimated that the glider was approximately 500 feet agl when it reentered the downwind leg. The witness reported that, "The turn to the base leg looked normal but she [the pilot] overshot the final approach to the south. She turned toward the final approach course and was headed back towards the approach end of the runway, coming in on about a 20-30 degree angle. At the point I expected her to make a left turn and line up on final, she continued to turn to the right and exited my view going roughly downwind eastbound. My estimate is that she was 100 to 150 feet agl as she proceeded through the final approach course."

NTSB Identification: NYC02LA027
Accident occurred: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 at Windsor, VA
Aircraft: LET L33 Solo, registration: N388BA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On October 3, 2001, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a LET L 33 Solo glider, N388BA, was substantially damaged during a descent into Garner Airport (3VA8), Windsor, Virginia. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file for the local flight, conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the safety officer of the soaring club that owned the glider, he was examining the glider in early November, and noticed skin deformation. There was also paint missing from rivet heads near the wing root. A subsequent examination by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector confirmed there was substantial damage.

During a follow-on meeting of the soaring club's membership, one member stated that he had been spinning down from about 4,000 feet, when a battery charger came from "somewhere" and fouled the rudder pedals. The pilot had trouble recovering from the spin, but finally got the rotation almost stopped. At that point, the glider was still diving at a high rate of speed, so the pilot pulled back hard, which resulted in heavy g-loading. After the recovery was effected, the pilot landed uneventfully.

According to the safety officer, there was a Nicad battery located behind the seat. One of the ways to charge the battery was to take it out, and charge it in the office. Another way was to take the charger to the glider, and charge the battery there. The pilot reported that when he performed the preflight inspection, he did not see the battery charger anywhere inside the glider.

NTSB Identification: NYC02LA004
Accident occurred: Tuesday, October 02, 2001 at Waynesburg, PA
Aircraft: Rich Woodstock I, registration: N21468
Injuries: 1 Serious. On October 2, 2001, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Woodstock I glider, N21468, received minor damage when the canopy came off during a ground tow release at Greene County Airport (WAY), Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The certificated student pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was on file for the local personal flight, which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the student pilot, who was also the builder of the glider, the accident tow release was the fifth of six that were planned for the day. The purposes of the tow releases were to check the glider before a long test flight and to accustom the student pilot to the glider's flight characteristics.

According to the driver of the tow vehicle, the student pilot/builder had made the earlier successful tow releases and landings from a paved runway, and was making his first tow release from grass. The driver towed the glider to the starting point, the student pilot boarded it, and he and another individual installed the canopy.

The student pilot/builder reported that he checked the security of the canopy with a "push-up" on it, then began the glider tow. Glider liftoff occurred about 38 knots. At liftoff, the glider hit a clump of grass, and the canopy departed the airframe. The student pilot/builder raised his left arm to protect his face, and pulled back on the control stick as he avoided the canopy. The glider stalled about 10 feet in the air and hit the ground. The student pilot/builder suffered a compression fracture of the second lumbar vertebrae.

The student pilot/builder later stated that he had had trouble latching the canopy prior to previous tows, and felt that although he pushed up on it to check it, the latching mechanism was probably twisted.

September 2001 (2 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: NYC01LA231
Accident occurred: Sunday, September 30, 2001 at Bardstown, KY
Aircraft: LET 33, registration: N3301L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

The pilot departed on a local close traffic glider flight. After climbing above the traffic pattern altitude of 1,200 feet agl, he released from the tow-plane. Once free, he maneuvered the glider onto the downwind for runway 2, and radioed his position and intentions. He turned base approximately 700 feet agl, and made another radio announcement. About 500 feet agl, the pilot turned final and recalls having a good "angle" to his aiming point. About 150 to 200 feet from the aiming point and 10 feet agl, the indicated airspeed was approximately 50 knots. The pilot then shifted his attention outside the glider for the final phase of the landing. When the glider was about 3 feet agl and "near" the flare point, it started to drop "sharply." The glider touched down hard nose first, and then bounced back into the air. The pilot was able to maintain directional control while the glider made several more bounces before rolling out and coming to a stop. He then exited the airplane under his own power. The pilot had approximately 300 hours of total flight experience, with 7 hours of that in the accident glider make and model. In addition, he had flown 2.5 hours in the accident glider within 30 days of the accident.

Examination of the glider revealed no preimpact failures or malfunctions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows. The pilot's improper flare, which resulted in a nose-first, hard touchdown.

NTSB Identification: CHI01LA332
Accident occurred: Saturday, September 29, 2001 at Marshfield, MI
Aircraft: AS+ LTD AC 4, registration: N68PR
Injuries: 1 Serious

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On September 29, 2001, at 1425 eastern daylight time, an AS+ LTD AC-4 glider, N68PR, collided with the terrain on takeoff from Brooks Field, Marshall, Michigan. The pilot received a serious injury and the glider received minor damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

NTSB Identification: NYC01LA225
Accident occurred: Saturday, September 08, 2001 at Cumberland, MD
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-35, registration: N2540H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On September 8, 2001, about 1620 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 1-35 glider, N2540H, was substantially damaged while landing at Greater Cumberland Regional Airport (CBE), Cumberland, Maryland. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight had departed CBE about 1600.

The pilot reported that prior to the accident flight, he had not flown the make and model glider. He received a cockpit briefing from an instructor, and was then towed to 3,000 feet. He entered a downwind leg for runway 29 at 500 feet above the ground. The pilot added that his attention was diverted to another glider landing ahead of him, and the accident glider's spoil/flap combination was not as effective as other models he had flown. As a result, the glider was "high and fast". The glider touched down more than 1,800 feet beyond the approach end of the 2,442-foot long runway. It then bounced several times, and traveled off the end of the runway into a fence. The glider sustained damage to the wing spars and fuselage.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions, nor did the pilot report any.

August 2001 (7 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: ATL01LA098
Accident occurred: Sunday, August 26, 2001 at Eagleville, TN
Aircraft: Schleicher ASK-21, registration: N121FL
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On August 26, 2001, at 1720 central daylight time, a Schleicher ASK-21, glider, N121FL, collided with a pole while maneuvering for an emergency landing near Eagleville, Tennessee. The instructional flight was operated by Eagle Sailplane Inc., under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The glider sustained substantial damage, and the air transport pilot was not injured. The flight departed Eagleville, Tennessee, at an undetermined time.
According to the pilot, several minutes into the solo flight, thermal lifting activity was lost. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot selected a nearby field for an emergency landing. As the pilot maneuvered for the emergency landing, the glider collided with a pole.

NTSB Identification: SEA01LA153
Accident occurred: Sunday, August 19, 2001 at Enumclaw, WA
Aircraft: LET Blanik L-13, registration: N82AS
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor On August 19, 2001, about 1235 Pacific daylight time, a LET Blanic L-13 glider, N82AS, sustained substantial damage while attempting an emergency landing at a private airstrip near Enumclaw, Washington. The glider is registered to Puget Sound Soaring Association, Kent, Washington, and was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal/pleasure flight under the provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained minor injuries and his passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated from Bergseth Airstrip shortly before the accident.

According to the tow plane pilot, the glider towrope prematurely released from the tow plane. He stated that this occurred shortly after takeoff, approximately 100 feet above ground (AGL). After loosing the towline, the glider pilot initiated a turn to the right. Shortly after initiating the turn, the glider collided with trees and terrain.

NTSB Identification: SEA01LA150
Accident occurred: Tuesday, August 14, 2001 at Wenatchee, WA
Aircraft: I.C.A. Brasov IS-28B2, registration: N29JB
Injuries: 2 Minor.

The second pilot stated he was attempting to land on the grass runway. After determining the glider was too high to land on the intended runway, the first pilot took control of the aircraft in an attempt to maneuver the glider to an alternate landing location beyond the departure end of the runway. However, during the maneuver the glider's left wingtip contacted the ground. The first pilot reported that it was evident the glider was too high to land on the intended runway, and too low to abort the landing. He reported that he "took the controls" in an effort to maneuver the glider into a better position for landing. He reported that he intended to land in an open area between the departure end of the runway 07 and trees located east of the runway. During the maneuver, the glider's left wingtip contacted the ground, and "caused the aircraft to do an abrupt yaw to the left." Witnesses to the accident reported the glider contacted the terrain in a left wing-low, nose-down attitude approximately 60 feet beyond the departure end of the runway. For the purpose of this report, the first pilot is defined as the pilot who was manipulating the flight controls at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows.

Failure to maintain clearance from terrain during a low altitude turn. The second pilot overshooting the runway was a contributing factor to the accident.

NTSB Identification: FTW01LA179
Accident occurred: Sunday, August 12, 2001 at Uvalde, TX
Aircraft: PDPS PZL-Bielsko SZD-55-1, registration: N55VW
Injuries: 1 Fatal

The commercial pilot was completing the third leg of a soaring 300 km triangle. The glider owner, who was in contact with the pilot via radio, reported that the pilot stated he had the field in sight approximately 8 miles from the airport. The glider entered the traffic pattern for runway 15 and was turning base when the owner observed it enter a spin. A witness reported that the glider banked, "appeared to have stalled, and spiraled counter-clockwise" in a nose low attitude into the ground. Another witness, located approximately a block from the accident site, stated that she "looked up and saw the glider spinning counter clockwise very fast and falling nose first." The glider impacted the ground and came to rest approximately 1/4 mile from the approach end of runway. The pilot had accumulated approximately 270 total glider flight hours and 5 flight hours in the same make and model as the accident aircraft. No pre-impact anomalies were noted with the glider during the examination.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during the base turn, which resulted in an inadvertant stall/spin.

NTSB Identification: DEN01LA143
Accident occurred: Saturday, August 11, 2001 at Morgan, UT
Aircraft: Blanik L-13, registration: N310GM
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

The glider was a little high as the pilot approached the airport for landing. She pulled the spoiler handle twice and heard what she thought was the sound of the spoilers deploying, but failed to verify it visually. She had actually pulled the flap handle. The glider overshot the runway and she elected to land on a road adjacent to the departure end of the runway. The right wing was severed when the glider struck a tree and ground looped. The empennage was also torn off. The pilot said the flap handle is next to the spoiler handle and they are identical in appearance. The flap handle was found unlocked and half deployed; the spoiler handle was stowed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows.

The pilot's inadvertent lowering of the flaps and her failure to extend the spoilers.

NTSB Identification: SEA01LA147
Accident occurred: Tuesday, August 07, 2001 at Rock Island, WA
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26B, registration: N5768S
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On August 7, 2001, approximately 1815 Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 1-26B glider, N5768S, operated by Cascade Soaring Society Inc. of East Wenatchee, Washington, and being flown by a student pilot, was substantially damaged in an off-airport landing near Rock Island, Washington. The student pilot was not injured in the accident. The local 14 CFR 91 flight had departed Pangborn Memorial Airport, Wenatchee, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions, with winds from 270 degrees true at 10 knots, were reported at Pangborn Memorial at 1755, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

The student pilot's certificate was issued on June 29, 2001. Preliminary FAA information indicated that the pilot "hit [a] down draft near a pond and was unable to get back over the ledge" to the airport. The pilot subsequently overshot an open field and landed in a fruit orchard. The off-airport landing site was approximately 2 miles east of the airport.

NTSB Identification: CHI01LA277
Accident occurred: Saturday, August 04, 2001 at Marlette, MI
Aircraft: Blanik L-13, registration: N9297Z
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured.

The CFI reported that during the takeoff the left hook of the winch harness released, uncommanded, from the center of gravity attachment. The glider yawed to the left toward a ditch on the west side of the runway. The CFI applied right aileron and full right rudder in an attempt to avoid the ditch however the glider continued into the ditch. The glider came to rest bridging the ditch on a heading of east. He reported that the ditch was full of broken and cut down brush and saplings. During the impact, a broken branch penetrated the left side of the cockpit and impaled itself in the CFI's right calf. The CFI remained hospitalized for five days following the accident. Members of the glider club reported that they had hooked both the left and right side cables prior to the takeoff. Inspection of the tow winch failed to reveal any mechanical failure/malfunction.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows.

Ground crew personnel improperly connected the tow winch cable prior to takeoff which resulted in one side of the winch cable coming disconnected. Factors associated with the accident were the ditch and the tree branch which the airplane contacted.

July 2001 (6 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: CHI01LA250
Accident occurred: Sunday, July 29, 2001 at Faribault, MN
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G102 STD ASTIR III, registration: N3837U
Injuries: 1 Serious

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 29, 2001, about 1555 central daylight time, a Burkhart Grob G102 STD ASTIR III, N3837U, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when the left wing impacted terrain during a hard landing at Faribault Municipal Airport (FBL), near Faribault, Minnesota. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The local flight departed from FBL at time unknown and was landing at the time of the accident.

NTSB Identification: ATL01LA090
Accident occurred: Saturday, July 21, 2001 at Etowah, TN
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-20C, registration: N9HK
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 21, 2001, at 1530 eastern daylight time, a Schliecher ASW-20C, Glider N9HK, collided with a static wire and subsequently the ground during landing in a field in Etowah, Tennessee. The glider was operated by the commercial pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The pilot was not injured and the glider sustained substantial damage. The glider departed Chilhowee Glider Port in Benton, Tennessee, at 1430.

According to the pilot, he was returning to Chilhowee Glider Port and lost the thermals in use. During the off field landing, he stated he let the glider get too slow and hit a power line. The power line broke and he landed hard, substantially damaging the empennage and the nose of the glider.

NTSB Identification: LAX01LA249
Accident occurred: Monday, July 16, 2001 at Minden, NV
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G 103 Twin II, registration: N4805R
Injuries: 2 Uninjured

On July 16, 2001, at 1620 hours Pacific daylight time, a Burkhart Grob G 103 Twin II, N4805R, was substantially damaged when the glider broke in half during a hard landing at the Minden Tahoe Airport, Minden, Nevada. The glider was operated by Soar Minden, Inc. The flight instructor and his student pilot were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the dual instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The glider departed the Minden Tahoe airport at 1616, and no flight plan was filed.

The flight instructor was interviewed by an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board. He stated that he and the student were practicing landings at the airport when the accident occurred. The instructor said that on their second circuit in the landing pattern, the student was flying the glider within acceptable limits. He was controlling his airspeed and sink rate properly on long final. The glider was approaching runway 30 when they noticed another glider that was much lower and needed priority for the runway. The instructor directed the student to do a sidestep maneuver and land on runway 30 left, a parallel dirt runway. The student began a left sideslip to line up on the parallel runway. The instructor stated that he was controlling the slip properly, and was controlling his sink rate with small applications of the spoilers. During the landing flare, the student applied full spoiler while still 1 to 1 1/2 feet in the air, at approximately 60 knots. The instructor was unable to overcome the rapid nose down pitching moment and the subsequent increase in sink rate. The left wing was slightly lower than the right due to the previous slip maneuver. When the glider landed hard, the left wing made contact with the ground, resulting in a ground loop to the left. The instructor believed that no damage had been done to the glider, but upon exiting the cockpit, he noticed that the tail boom had cracked just ahead of the empennage structure.

The instructor stated that in the future, he will place his hand just behind the spoiler control lever and restrict the aft movement to an acceptable position for the flight conditions.

NTSB Identification: CHI01LA216
Accident occurred: Saturday, July 14, 2001 at Antigo, WI
Aircraft: Stemme S10-VT, registration: N502SC
Injuries: 2 Uninjured

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 14, 2001, at 1300 central daylight time, a Stemme S10-VT motor-glider, N502SC, was destroyed by fire after an emergency landing at the Langlade County Airport (AIG), Antigo, Wisconsin. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. The pilot and one passenger were not injured. The local flight departed from AIG at 1255.

The pilot reported that approximately one mile after takeoff at 1000 feet above ground level he heard a loud pop and had smoke in the cockpit. An emergency landing was conducted to AIG where the pilot and passenger evacuated the aircraft.

NTSB Identification: CHI01LA207
Accident occurred: Thursday, July 12, 2001 at Ionia, MI
Aircraft: Burkhart Grob G 103 Twin II, registration: N140BG
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 12, 2001, about 1700 central daylight time, a Burkhart Grob G 103 Twin II, N140BG, piloted by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain during landing roll at Ionia County Airport (Y70), near Ionia, Michigan. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot reported no injuries. The local flight departed from Y70 at time unknown and was landing at the time of the accident.

NTSB Identification: IAD01LA076
Accident occurred: Thursday, July 05, 2001 at Front Royal, VA
Aircraft: Rolladen-Schneider LS3-A, registration: N113RM
Injuries: 1 Minor

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 5, 2001, at 1623 Eastern Daylight Time, a Rolladen-Scheider LS3-A glider, N113RM, was substantially damaged from collision with a tree and terrain during an off-airport landing near Front Royal, Virginia. The certificated airline transport pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local soaring flight that originated at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport (FRR), and conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

An air safety investigator with the Safety Board was flying in the Front Royal area at the time of the accident. He learned of the accident upon returning to the Front Royal Airport and responded to the scene. The investigator examined the site, the wreckage, and spoke with the pilot. He then provided a statement that summarized his observations and his conversation with the pilot. According to the investigator's statement:

"[The pilot] stated to the group [at the scene] that as he was returning from soaring, he realized that he would not have enough altitude to return for landing at FRR. He therefore elected to land off field and found the field that the airplane crashed in. He said that he had plenty of time to circle the field and plan for his landing. When I questioned him about power wires along the approach path some 500 feet away, he said that he saw them. He said that he set up for the landing, planned the approach and lowered the landing wheel.

"He noted that there were trees surrounding the field and although "short" there was more than sufficient length for a safe landing. He stated that everything on the approach was normal until he heard the impact with the tree and felt the airplane hit the ground. He noted that he saw the Plexiglass canopy break and fly apart and a wing leave the airplane. He exited the cockpit and went to a nearby house to inform the authorities of the accident."

The Safety Board investigator further stated:

"I saw the airplane laying in the field with the wings separated from the fuselage. The right wing appeared to be relatively undamaged while the left wing had an impact fracture on the outboard leading edge a couple of feet from the wing tip. The fuselage lay on the ground aligned approximately in the direction of flight and had impact damage to the nose and wing attach area. The tail wheel was intact but impact-damaged. The Plexiglas canopy was closed but broken to the point where you could enter or exit the cockpit. The left wing was broken off the airplane and was lying on the left side of the airplane a few feet away. The right wing was also broken from the airplane and was lying on the right side of the airplane a few feet away. The empennage was intact and appeared to relatively undamaged. The internal cockpit area appeared to be undamaged other than the broken canopy. There was a parachute in the airplane and the seatbelts and seat area were not compromised as a result of the accident.

"I noted two portions of the top of a 15-20 foot tall Cedar tree lying near the fencerow on the approach end of the grass field. There were fresh fractures on the tree and two tree portions about 2-3 feet long laying in the field near the tree in the direction of flight. Following the direction of flight, approximately 30-40 feet from the fencerow there was an impact point with a portion of fiberglass near the impact point. The shape of the impact point corresponded approximately to the shape of the nose of the fuselage. Following the direction of flight from the impact mark, I found portions of clear Plexiglas canopy material. The tailwheel and landing wheel were covered with dirt and grass.

During a subsequent telephone interview, the pilot stated that he'd been aloft for approximately 1 hour. He said that he determined he would have to make an off-airport landing, and selected a field for the landing. The pilot said he surveyed the field, took note of the obstacles surrounding it, and determined it was suitable for landing.

The pilot stated that he'd performed about 6 off-airport landings, and that he was comfortable with the maneuver. He added that while off-airport landings were not entirely common, they were not considered an emergency in the glider community.

According to the pilot:

"The glider gave me everything I asked of it and a little bit more. It was a short field by any standard, and I asked the airplane to give me quite a bit, because I wanted to land in the first one-third. I got such a steep angle of descent out of it, that it was hard for me to judge if the obstacles were going to be a factor.

"I set up for an abbreviated approach when I really didn't need to. I rushed the approach and I was high on my base and turn to final. I knew the trees were there, but I really didn't see them as a factor. If I were 2 feet to the right and 3 feet higher, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I just didn't see the obstacle."

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multi-engine land. He held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and glider. The pilot reported 7,400 hours of flight experience, 130 hours of which were in gliders.

The weather at the Winchester Regional Airport, about 10 miles north of the accident site, was clear skies with 10 miles of visibility. The winds were from 260 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 15 knots.

June 2001 (2 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: LAX01LA220
Accident occurred: Saturday, June 23, 2001 at Montague, CA
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Nimbus 3/24.5, registration: N4427M
Injuries: 1 Serious

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On June 23, 2001, about 1720 hours Pacific daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Nimbus 3/24.5, N4427M, owned and operated by the pilot, experienced an in-flight loss of control during landing flare at the Siskiyou County Airport, Montague, California. The glider came to rest in an inverted attitude on the airport, and it was substantially damaged. The private pilot was seriously injured. The accident occurred during a soaring competition. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was performed under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from Montague about 1330.

During the accident flight the pilot was competing in an open class national soaring contest. Another member of the soaring contest reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that because of the strong surface wind condition, some of the glider pilots were landing into the wind using the east-west oriented closed taxiway rather than on runway 17/35.

A witness observed the accident glider approach the airport and attempt to land on the east-west taxiway while heading into the prevailing wind that was from about 270 degrees at 20 knots, with gusts to 30 knots. When the glider was about 20 feet above ground level, a wing suddenly dropped and contacted the ground. The glider spun around in a ground-loop like manner. It then rolled upside down.

NTSB Identification: CHI01LA168
Accident occurred: Saturday, June 16, 2001 at Highland, IL
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-20, registration: N76SP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

The glider sustained substantial damage during landing. According to the pilot, he unintentionally performed a no-spoiler approach to runway 18, and crossed the threshold at a higher than normal airspeed. The pilot reported that he performed an intentional ground loop to avoid overrunning the end of the runway, causing substantial damage to the glider. According to the pilot's written statement, he believes that he may have mistaken the landing gear lever for the spoiler deploying lever. The pilot reported that, "I firmly believe if I would have used a landing check list this situation probably would not have happened."

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows.

The pilot's failure to extend the spoilers during landing approach, which resulted in a touchdown at a higher than normal airspeed. An additional cause was the intentional ground loop/swerve maneuver performed by the pilot to avoid overrunning the end of the runway. Factors to the accident were the landing checklist not being performed by the pilot and the excessive airspeed encountered during the landing.

May 2001 (5 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: DEN01FA105
Accident occurred: Thursday, May 24, 2001 at Alamogordo, NM
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-3DM, registration: N11ZQ
Injuries: 2 Fatal

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On May 24, 2001, at 1216 mountain daylight time, a Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-3DM glider, N11ZQ, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The two private pilots were fatally injured. SAJ, LLC, of Powell, Wyoming, was operating the glider under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local long duration flight that originated at 1155. No flight plan had been filed.

According to witnesses, the motor-glider departed with two very experienced foreign national pilots for a long distance flight to Colorado and back. They said that no radio transmissions were ever received from the glider. Search and rescue teams located the glider on May 27, 2001.

NTSB Identification: NYC01LA121
Accident occurred: Saturday, May 12, 2001 at New Milford, CT
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26E, registration: N33907
Injuries: 1 Minor

The student pilot departed in a glider from an airport with an elevation of 675 feet, and was aero-towed to 3,000 feet msl, over the airport, where he released. Initially he stayed north of the airport and climbed to 4,000 feet. He then headed to the northeast, while the winds were from the southwest. Over a period of several minutes the glider lost 1,900 feet while the pilot was searching for thermals. The pilot then elected to return to his departure airport. En route to the airport, he encountered a rain shower, and was sinking 500 to 600 fpm. He had insufficient altitude to reach the airport with the existing headwinds of 5 to 10 knots, and settled into trees about 1/4 of a miles from the approach end of the runway. The glider club field safety manager reported that he had cautioned the pilot to remain upwind of the airport prior to his departure. The pilot reported that he had focused his attention to finding lift and did not maintain his awareness of his proximity to the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows.

The student pilot's improper decision to fly northeast of the airport with winds from the southwest, and his subsequent diverted attention to the glider's proximity to the airport while he searched for thermals, which resulted in an off airport landing.

NTSB Identification: NYC01LA114
Accident occurred: Sunday, May 06, 2001 at Tinicum Tshp., PA
Aircraft: Schweitzer 1-36, registration: N3620Y
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

On May 6, 2001, about 0947 Eastern Daylight Time, a Schweitzer 1-36, N3620Y, was substantially damaged after impacting trees near Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological flight conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the pilot was towed from the Erwinna Airport, Vansant, Pennsylvania, to an altitude of 3,000 feet. The pilot soared the glider in the local area for about 3 hours, until the thermal lift began to dissipate, and the glider descended. Realizing that he was at a low altitude, the pilot elected to make an off field landing. While maneuvering for the off field landing, the pilot observed an airstrip located in a nearby apple orchard and entered the traffic pattern for landing. As the pilot turned the glider from a base leg to final approach, he thought the airspeed was to low, and a stall was imminent. The pilot leveled the wings and the left wing impacted a 5-foot high apple tree. The glider spun 180 degrees, impacted the ground, and came to rest along side an apple tree.

The weather at a nearby airport, at 0855 was, winds from 060 at 13 knots, clear skies, and temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

NTSB Identification: SEA01LA091
Accident occurred: Saturday, May 05, 2001 at Arlington, WA
Aircraft: LET L-23, registration: N265BA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured

On May 5, 2001, approximately 1300 Pacific daylight time, a LET L-23 glider, N265BA, collided with a taxiway identification sign during the landing roll at Arlington Municipal Airport, Arlington, Washington. The certified flight instructor and his student were not injured, but the aircraft, which is owned and operated by the Boeing Employees Gliding and Soaring Club, sustained substantial damage. The local 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight, which departed the same location about 55 minutes earlier, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed.

According to the instructor pilot, the dual student was just about to land at the north end of the grass landing area, when he, the instructor, decided that it would be best to land further down the runway. Without advising the student, the instructor partially retracted the spoilers so that the aircraft would float further before touching down. With the spoilers partially retracted, the glider drifted long, touched down on the wet grass, and departed the end of the intended landing area prior to coming to a stop. After it slid off the end of the landing area, it crossed a taxiway and collided with a taxiway identification sign.

According to the instructor, although the wind was a direct cross during the approach, after he partially retracted the spoilers, it seemed to switch to more of a tailwind.

NTSB Identification: LAX01LA174
Accident occurred: Saturday, May 05, 2001 at Adelanto, CA
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-34, registration: N7605
Injuries: 1 Serious

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On May 5, 2001, about 1507 hours Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 1-34, N7605, operated by the Phoenix Club, Inc., Anaheim, California, sustained substantial damage when it landed short of the runway at Krey Field, Adelanto, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the solo instructional flight, and no flight plan was filed. The student pilot was seriously injured. The flight was performed under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from the field about 1430.

The pilot stated that he entered the traffic pattern to runway 09 and attempted to land. According to the pilot, he misjudged his approach, and the airplane touched down on the sandy terrain an estimated 100 feet short of the runway.

The pilot reported the accident to the National Transportation Safety Board on May 5, 2001, following his partial recovery from the injuries he sustained.

April 2001 (2 Accidents)

NTSB Identification: LAX01FA144
Accident occurred: Saturday, April 14, 2001 at Williams, CA
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-20, registration: N47TR
Injuries: 1 Fatal

During the takeoff, the glider began an uncontrolled climb at a 45-degree nose up attitude behind the tow plane. The tow plane pilot was forced to cut the tow rope due to the severe pitch down moment caused by the glider. The glider then arced over into a 45-degree nose down dive and hit the ground. The glider's flight control system was equipped with Hotalier quick disconnect fittings at various locations to facilitate the disassembly of the glider for trailer transport. A postaccident examination of the flight control system disclosed that the elevator control push rod was disconnected from the elevator at a quick disconnect fitting in the vertical stabilizer. There was no damage noted to the elevator bell crank or the terminal end of the elevator control push rod. A close friend and former partner in the glider was interviewed. He was present on the day of the accident and knew the pilot very well. He stated that he and the pilot had purchased the glider a little less than a year prior to the accident. The pilot had flown it over 50 times and had assembled it as many as 25 times. On the day of the accident, he and the pilot completed a control check while qued for the tow plane. He stated that he held the elevator while the pilot applied full up elevator control input. He felt the elevator move in the up position. He said neither the pilot nor he attempted to apply full nose down control input, as it was assumed the elevator was properly attached to the control rod fitting. He stated that in retrospect, the only way to positively check the connection is to hold the elevator in the up position while the pilot applies full nose down control input.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows. The failure of the pilot to attach the elevator control rod to the elevator, resulting in a loss of pitch control and subsequent ground impact. Additional factors were the failure to complete a positive control check and the lack of clear guidance in the assembly procedures.

NTSB Identification: LAX01LA142
Accident occurred: Sunday, April 08, 2001 at Peoria, AZ
Aircraft: Schweizer 2-33A, registration: N7778S
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured

On April 8, 2001, at 1235 hours mountain standard time, a Schweizer 2-33A, N7778S, sustained substantial damage when it collided with the ground at Pleasant Valley Airport, Peoria, Arizona. Boboquivari Soaring School, d.b.a. Turf Soaring School, was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a glider ride for a prospective student. The commercial pilot was not injured and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The glider was departing at the time of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that during takeoff the glider encountered a dust devil, causing the left wing to strike the ground. It then lifted the glider 50 feet into the air. The pilot released the tow line and the glider started a slow descending turn to the right until it struck the ground, cracking the fuselage. The glider came to rest next to the runway.

March 2001 (1 Accident)

NTSB Identification: SEA01LA058
Accident occurred: Sunday, March 04, 2001 at Bozeman, MT
Aircraft: Avia Stroitel AC-5m, registration: N1635M
Injuries: 1 Serious

On March 4, 2001, approximately 1300 mountain standard time, an experimental/exhibition Avia Stroitel AC-5m motorized glider, N1635M, impacted the runway during takeoff from Gallatin Field, Bozeman, Montana. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, received serious injuries, and the aircraft, which was owned and operated by Russia Sailplanes, Inc., sustained substantial damage. The local 14 CFR Part 91 flight was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot, this was the first flight of this make and model aircraft within the United States. Witnesses reported that when the aircraft, which was taking off under its own power, reached about 30 feet above the runway surface, the canopy flipped open. Soon after the canopy came open, the aircraft pitched up and then nosed into the runway surface. According to the pilot, he opened and closed the canopy a number of times while waiting for departure in order to communicate with his ground crew. When he closed the canopy the last time, he did not get it fully latched, and a couple of seconds after the aircraft lifted off, the canopy was sucked open. The pilot's attention was then momentarily diverted to the canopy, which rotates to the side upon opening. When he again looked back straight ahead, the aircraft was just about to impact the runway in a nose-down attitude. It was later determined that the pilot had not reviewed his checklist just prior to departure in order to ensure that he had not missed any critical items.

February 2001 (1 Accident)

NTSB Identification: LAX01LA091
Accident occurred: Saturday, February 03, 2001 at Lake Elsinore, CA
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26E, registration: N2685H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On February 3, 2001, at 1150 hours Pacific standard time, a Schweizer SGS 1-26E glider, N2685H, was substantially damaged during a landing ground-loop at Lake Elsinore private airport, Lake Elsinore, California. The solo student pilot was not injured. The local area instructional flight departed from Lake Elsinore at 1130, and was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the Lake Elsinore Soaring Club. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

January 2001 (1 Accident)

NTSB Identification: NYC01FA071
Accident occurred: Sunday, January 28, 2001 at Wurtsboro, NY
Aircraft: Schempp-Hirth Discus CS, registration: N814CU
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On January 28, 2001, about 1500 Eastern Standard Time, a Schempp-Hirth, Discus CS glider, N814CU, with an experimental airworthiness certificate, was substantially damaged while attempting to land at Wurtsboro Airport, Wurtsboro, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. No flight plan had been filed for the local flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to witnesses, the pilot had flown with a non-pilot rated friend, earlier in the day in a Schweizer 2-33, for about 1 1/2 hours. During the flight, the pilot elected to fly his own glider next. The glider was removed from a trailer, and assembled, after which it was towed aloft to about 3,000 feet MSL (2,500 feet AGL), and released. After about 1 1/2 hours, the glider was observed to return to the Wurtsboro airport area.

The pilot performed a high-speed pass over Runway 23, and either touched the runway momentarily, or was very close to it. He then pulled up to about 500 feet above ground level (AGL), and entered a left downwind for Runway 23. The flight pattern appeared normal to the observers.

Some witnesses reported that while on base leg, the glider appeared to be slow, and in a nose high attitude. Prior to reaching a position to turn final for Runway 23, the glider was observed to enter a left turn. Some witnesses thought the pilot was initiating a 360-degree turn. As the left turn progressed, the bank increased to at least 60 degrees, and the nose dropped to about 45 degrees nose-down, after which the glider disappeared from view. Some witnesses said the descent was similar to a stall/spin, while another witness thought the descent was more like a steep spiral.

The airport operator reported the winds were from the west/northwest at 15 knots. The 1455 weather observation from Sullivan County Airport, 17 nautical miles (NM) at 305 degrees, reported winds from 280 degrees at 12 knots, with gusts to 16 knots. The 1454 weather observation from Montgomery County Airport, 10 NM at 130 degrees, reported winds from 280 degrees at 12 knots, with gusts to 17 knots, winds variable from 260 degrees to 350 degrees.

The glider was examined at the accident site on January 28, 2001, by the Safety Board and personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The examination revealed that the glider had impacted in a swamp with snow and ice over water. The glider came to rest upright, on a heading of about 270 degrees. The aft fuselage was separated about 2/3 of the way between the trailing edge of the wings and the end of the tail.

The rudder was cable actuated and all other flight controls were push rod actuated. Flight control continuity was confirmed between the rudder pedals and the rudder. It was also confirmed to the right aileron. Due to crushing and multiple breaks in the flight control system in the lower fuselage under the pilot seat, flight control continuity was not confirmed to the left aileron and elevator. When the wings were removed, flight control continuity was confirmed between the wing attach points and the flight controls in the wings.

The flight spoiler on the right wing was found in the stowed position. The flight spoiler on the left wing was extended about one inch. When pushed down to the stowed position, or pulled to the fully extended position and released, it returned to about one inch of extension. Examination of the left wing revealed it was crushed on the outboard leading edge and pushed rearward. Compression damage was found on the inboard edge of the trailing side of the left wing.

The wing attach pin was found in place and safetied.

The cockpit had been crushed. It retained its shape, but no longer possessed rigidity.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for single engine land airplanes and glider aero tow. His last airman medical certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was issued on June 24, 1987. The pilot did not hold, nor was he required to hold an FAA airman medical certificate to operate a glider.

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