Safety Advisory Notices

Dated 5/23/05

The SSF has been notified that the FAA has issued a new Airworthiness Directive AD 2005-10-23 effecting Glaser-Dirks Plugxeugbau GnbH DG-500MB and DG-800B sailplanes. This AD calls for the inspection of propellers attached to SOLO engines. Look specifically at the foam core for separation and replace any damaged propeller. A full copy of the AD text can be obained form the FAA web site.

Dated 5/10/05

The SSF has been notified that the FAA has modified the Airworthiness Directive AD 2005-08-06 effecting Centrair 101 (Pegasus) series gliders. This AD calls for the replacement of the elevator and aileron hinge pins with new P/N SY991A hinge pins. This AD effects gliders with serial numbers 101A600 through 101A637. Other gliders delivered between February 20, 1995 and February 28, 2001 can replace the elevator and aileron if the owner deems it necessary. For a complete copy of this AD visit the FAA web site.

Dated 4/25/05

The SSF has been notified that the FAA has issued a new Airworthiness Directive AD 2005-08-14 effecting LET Blanik L-13 AC sailplanes. This AD calls for the replacement of the control bridge with a new strengthend control column mounting bridge. Contact the US Blanik America distributor for details. A complete version of this AD is available from the FAA web site.

Dated 4/21/05

The SSF has been notified that the FAA has issues a new Airworthiness Directive AD 2005-08-13 effecting all Glaser-Dirks Flugzeugbau GmbH DG-800B sailplanes. All DG-800B sailplanes equiped with a SOLO 2625 or Mid-West AE 50T engine must make modifications to the electrical system to prevent failure of the fuel and coolant pumps. A complete copy of this AC can be accessed via the FAA web site.

Dated 4/21/05

The SSF has been informed that a new FAA Airworthiness Directive AD 2005-08-07 has been issude for all Pilatus Aircraft Limited B4-PC11, B4-PC-11A, and B4-PC11AF sailplanes. This AD becomes effective on June 2, 2005. It requires a repetitive inspection of the control column support for cracks. The complete text for this AD is available from the FAA web site.

Dated 4/21/05

The SSF has been notified that a new FAA Airworthiness Directive AD 2005-08-12 has been issued for all Centrair 101, 101A, 101AP, and 101P 'Pegasus' sailplanes all serial numbers and certified in any category. This AD becomes effective on June 6 2005. It requires the replacement of rudder pedal assembly. Visit the FAA web site for a copy of this AD notice.

Dated 23/10/04

The Soaring Safety Foundation has been notified that in March 2004, the Letecke Zavody (LET) factory issued Mandatory Bulletin No. L23/048a. This bulletin calls for the immediate inspection of all L-23 Super-Blanik sailplanes up to S/N 039019 [1]. The elevator rocker lever must be removed and inspected for cracks. The SSF has provided a PDF copy of this bulletin.

One word of caution from a Blanik Operator:

"Labor was less than two hours [to remove the elevator rocker lever]. The test cost $70.00 [per part]. Please Note: You can put the rocker lever back on the glider upside down. They will fit both ways! The Elevator will work, but not enough "UP" if installed upside down. It is easy to do, so make a note: "Round Side UP". If you flip the elevator/stab ove to work on it, remember which side is really "UP". Up is th top of the glider. You cannot mark the part as you must strip and clean it thoroughly before the magnaflux testing.
The possibility of installing the part upside down is very real. Ask me how I know!"
Operators of the L-23 Blanik should contact their dealer representative or the LET factory for more details.

[1] -- This notice applies to ALL Super Blanik L-23 sailplanes built before 2003. It has been pointed out that the serial number of Blanik L-23 gliders is composed of a 2 digit year code followed by a 4 digit sequential number. Thus the Blanik with S/N 039019 indicates a build date in 2003 (03) while one with S/N 917817 indicates a build date of 1991 (91). Do not assume that because your Super Blanik L-23 has a S/N higher than 039019 you do not need to comply with this inspection.

Dated 20/10/04

The Soaring Safety Foundation has been notified that on 8 October 2004 the Gliding Federation of Australia issued an Airworthiness Alert on the SZD-50-3 Puchacz sailplane. This notice says:

"A report has been received from Poland where last week-end a Puchacz suffered a complete failure of the front control column."
The full text of this alert is found on the GFA web site.

U.S. operators and owners of Puchacz sailplanes are encouraged to inspect they aircraft for similar signs of damage.

Dated 20/10/04

The British Gliding Association has continued to work on the problems with K7 series wooden Schleicher gliders. On 22 July 2004 they issued a mandatory Aircraft Inspection notice. This notice was revised on 12 August 2004 and an updated notice is now available. Note: these notices affect the

"Schliecher Ka 1, Ka 2, Ka 2B, Ka 3, Rhonlercher II (Ka 4), Ka 6 series, K7, K7 conversions, K8 series, K9, K10, ASK 13 series, ASK 14, ASK 16, ASK 18 series and all variants of each type."
The BGA mandates that all affected gliders must undergo a mandatory inspection process prior to 1 October 2004.

While the FAA has not issued a U.S. Airworthiness Directive (AD), the SSF believes that all U.S. owners of wooden Scheicher gliders should be aware of this problem and take appropriate action.

Dated 16/7/04

The Soaring Safety Foundation has been notified that the British Gliding Association (BGA) has grounded all Schleicher K7 and K10 sailplanes in the UK. This action was taken following an in-flight structural failure of a sailplane wing. For more information visit the BGA Technical news web site

Dated 16/7/04

The Soaring Safety Foundation has received word of a potential problem with the tow release handle in PW 5 sailplanes. A pilot experienced an in-flight failure of the tow release handle, resulting in the handle detaching from the release cable. The pilot was able to affect a release by pulling on the ferrule attached to the release cable.

The PW 5 has 3 handles (Tow Release, Spoilers, and Rudder Pedal adjustment) which may be operated by the pilot in flight. A machine screw passes through the handle and fastens to the control cable ferrule. Pilots should inspect the screw and ferrule for tightness. A light application of medium strength ‘Blue’ Loctite threadlocker may be used to secure the screw to the ferrule.

For further information contact your sailplane dealer or factory representative.

Dated 12/7/01

A Grob Service Bulletin has been issued for the G 102 Club Astir III, G 102 Club Astir IIIb, and the G 102 Standard Astir III. The Service Bulletin is the result of instances of high speed flutter reported on these models of glider. Until a final modification is approved, the Service Bulletin directs the Vne of these models to be reduced to 165 km/h (89.1 kts / 102.5 mph). The final modification will be the installation of additional mass balance.

(Download The Grob Service Bulletin in PDF format)

Dated 1/29/01

(Download Safety Alert 01-1 in PDF format)

TO: Owners / Operators of Blanik L-13, L-13AC, and L-23 Gliders

SUBJECT: Additional Pre-flight Inspection and Ground Handling Actions

This advisory is the result of coordination between the Soaring Safety Foundation and Blanik America, Inc. in an effort to extend the service life of Blanik gliders with swiveling tail wheels. It recommends ground handling procedures that will aid in the prevention of additional stress to the glider's tail section and additional preflight inspection procedures.

Sailplanes L-13, L-13AC and L-23 Blanik


It is recommended that during the pre-flight inspection the following procedures are added to the visual inspection of the tail surfaces:

1. Horizontal Stabilizer: At the outer tip, gently move the stabilizer up and down to feel the amount of play. The play should not allow more than 4 mm (1/6 inch) of up and down movement.

2. Vertical Stabilizer: Gently pull from side to side at the top of the vertical stabilizer, then gently push the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer towards the rudder. The vertical stabilizer should have a solid feel, indicating it is firmly attached and show no fore and aft rocking or side to side movement.

Ground Handling

It is recommended that clubs and commercial operators instruct users of L-13, L13AC and L23 Blanik aircraft in the proper ground handling of these types of sailplanes.

These gliders should NOT be pushed backwards (tail first) because forces on the tail undercarriage are exerted in the opposite direction than for which it was designed - i.e. take off and landing. This is especially important at airports with uneven, rutty terrain. Also, users should be instructed to NEVER move the glider, especially backwards, by pushing on the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer.


(Download Safety Alert 00-2 in PDF format)

(Download PZL Mandatory Bulletin in PDF format)

(Download Polish Airworthiness Directive in PDF format)

TO: Owners / Operators of PZL-Bielsko SZD-50-3 PUCHACZ Gliders

SUBJECT: Issuance of PZL-Bielsko Mandatory Bulletin

1. The Soaring Safety Foundation has received information regarding the issuance of two separate bulletins, a Mandatory Bulletin, distributed by PZL-Bielsko and one being distributed by the Polish Civil Aviation Authority, relating to cracks discovered in the front bracket console mounted on the front fuselage bulkhead of the SZD-50-3 Puchacz glider. This bulkhead is the point at which the wings attach to the fuselage and the bulletins require inspection of both sides of the bulkhead. The Mandatory Bulletin calls for the grounding of any Puchacz glider in which cracks longer than 3mm are discovered.

2. It is our understanding that this problem was discovered as a result of a discrepancy associated with a glider of this type in Germany. This led to an inspection of other PUCHACZ gliders, some of which exhibited similar problems. Some of the gliders identified as having these cracks had been used extensively in aerobatic flights.

3. It is important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration has not yet issued an Airworthiness Directive relating to this problem.

4. The intent of this Safety Advisory is to inform owners / operators of PUCHACZ gliders of the safety issues related to this problem and the impact this Mandatory Bulletin may ultimately have on the operation of this aircraft.

5. The Soaring Safety Foundation will continue to monitor this situation and report the issuance of any Airworthiness Directive or other inspection requirements distributed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Soaring Safety Foundation will post additional information on the SSF Web Page as it becomes available.


(Download Safety Alert 00-1 in PDF format)


I. Introduction:

Due to a number of recent accidents involving improper assembly of the glider as a causal factor, the Soaring Safety Foundation is issuing this Safety Advisory to address the critical components of glider assembly. These issues have been identified as having caused injuries to pilots and destruction of aircraft.

This SAFETY ADVISORY presents suggested procedures for ensuring proper assembly without specific detail that is available in Pilot Operating Handbooks and other checklists developed by the manufacturer. Other knowledgeable individuals have also presented methods to confirm proper assembly as well as emergency procedures for flying the aircraft should any control not function properly due to improper assembly. The latter may or may not be approved by the manufacturer of the glider or sailplane, and thus will not be discussed herein.

II. History:

During the period prior to 1960, most gliders required significant effort to assemble. Many had containers of bicycle chains, bolts, nuts, washers, retaining pins, and other pieces that had to be assembled in sequence. A glider not properly assembled would not pass a simple control check. The horizontal tail assembly (including elevator) may not have been detached during disassembly, thus the control cables for the rudder and elevator were never disconnected nor did they require assembly later.

Later, manufacturers developed quicker and easier methods for assembling gliders and sailplanes. This made it possible to install both wings by simply inserting the wing root into the fuselage and using a pin to secure the attachment. Horizontal stabilizers and elevators were removed during disassembly and reassembled with as little as one simple attach bolt or pin.

The Soaring Society of America (SSA) and the Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) encouraged all manufacturers to go even further and provide "automatic hook-ups" for ailerons, flaps, glide path control devices, and elevators, anticipating a reduction in the potential to attempt flight without the controls properly attached. Many of the gliders and sailplanes today have these "automatic attachments."

Though the number of reported incidents and accidents resulting from failure to attach these controls decreased, a continuing disturbing number of incidents and accidents required further investigation into the cause and the development of procedures that would reduce even further such incidents and accidents.

The SSF recognized four factors that frequently appeared when investigation of such accidents were made:

1) Distractions from other people while assembling,
2) Failure to follow manufacturer recommended assembly procedures,
3) Failure to do a positive control check, and
4) Rushing the procedure to get into the air.

III. Ensuring airworthiness:

The pilot in command (PIC) is directly responsible and the final authority for operation of the aircraft in accordance with Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91.3. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the PIC to determine if the aircraft is in condition for safe flight (FAR 91.7). During assembly of the glider or sailplane, the PIC assumes that responsibility.

During the assembly procedure, NO outside interference should be allowed. It is difficult to keep observers from attempting to converse or ask questions, but such action has frequently been the cause of incomplete and inaccurate assembly. The crew person or assistant can be of great assistance by immediately deflecting this unintentional interference.

To ensure the glider is properly assembled, the manufacturer's checklist should be followed, and positive control check performed.

The assembly should proceed in a relaxed and thorough manner and never be hurried. Rushing to "squeeze in" between landings or to be Number One on the grid has resulted in improperly assembled sailplanes and subsequent accidents.

To enhance the checking of the assembly process, it is suggested that the PIC ask another person to assist by examining critical items to ensure proper installation. This person does not necessarily need to be familiar with a specific aircraft or manufacturer, but should have a basic understanding of how to assemble a glider or sailplane. If such a person is not available, the PIC may benefit from explaining to an assistant how each part is installed and attached, thus in effect, checking the pilot's own work.

IV. Critical items:

The following list, though not totally inclusive, offers items that should be checked prior to flight. Failure to have these items correctly assembled may result in difficult or impossible flight characteristics. The check by the PIC and an assistant can usually be performed by simply walking around the aircraft, starting and ending at the cockpit area.


With the help of an assistant, check each of the following items as appropriate to the aircraft being flown for proper installation and security.

After check of these items is complete, a POSITIVE CONTROL CHECK should be conducted.

Main wing pin(s)
Drag spar pin(s)
Control rods attached
Ailerons, drag devices, flaps
Hotellier connectors
Spring-loaded connectors
Locking collars
Safety pins installed
Safety collars installed
Outer wing panels installed
Control rods attached and properly secured
Horizontal tail properly installed
Elevator control rod attached
Safety pin installed
Rudder cables attached

V. The SSA and the Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) feel that adherence to this SAFETY ADVISORY will prevent accidents that occur as a result of improperly assembled gliders. The SSF strongly encourages each Pilot In Command to develop a list of "Critical Items" for each glider being flown to assist in ensuring that critical items are properly installed and secured during the assembly process.