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 Commercial None None Contest Aero Tow VENTUS 3M
Incident Activity Damage to Aircraft Damage to Canopy Incident Date Incident Time Weather SSA Member
Flight Minor 2020-03-14 1600-1800 Clear Yes
Incident Description I was on final approach to runway 180 at Seminole Lake Glider Port during Day 1 of the 2020 Seniors Contest. I was high, wanted to bleed energy and create more separation on the glider landing ahead of me. I used the spoilers to slow to an approach speed of 59kts and descend to a proper gideslope. I was flying my new Venus 3M in which I have about 15hrs of flight time. My prior glider was a Discus 2B in which I had over 1600hrs of flight time. In the Discus, the spoiler handle hangs vertically and I would deploy it with my palm oriented vertically and the top of my hand pressed against the bulkhead. This technique allowed me to make very subtle movements of the spoiler handle. The Ventus 3M also hangs vertically but can also be deployed horizontally. At about 10', I started my round out and began to move the spoilers from full deployment to 1/2 deployment. I was using the spoiler handle in the same vertical orientation that I was used to in my Discus. I was using L flaps for the approach. As I moved the spoiler handle to closed, my palm wedged between the aircraft bulkhead and the flap handle, popping it out of the detent. My approach speed required a lot of aft trim and when the flaps popped out of their detent, the trim spring rapidly forced the flaps full forward to S flaps. The glider immediately dropped to the ground in a hard landing. I believe the tail wheel impacted first followed by the main mount and then the glider rotated to slide across the ground on its nose momentarily. During the roll out, I realized I had no rudder or steerable tailwheel authority. The glider drifted left and came to a stop. On inspection, it appeared that the wings did not impact the ground. However, the tailwheel, though still inflated, was off the rim. The rudder was jammed in the fared position. Finally, the paint belly of the nose was significantly scraped.
Other Comments Lesson learned: The Ventus 3M's spoiler handle, though hanging vertically, needs to be deployed in the horizontal position to ensure that the flap handle is not interfered by the pilots palm with when moving the spoilers to the closed and locked position.

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