NTSB Identification: NYC96LA104.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 11, 1996 in READINGTON, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/1996
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS-2-33A, registration: N17957
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot obtained a prerecorded weather briefing about 0930 that stated VFR flight was not recommended due to an expected frontal passage that afternoon. The pilot was flown in a tow plane to retrieve a Club glider at another airport. The glider was preflighted, and the tow plane departed about 1625 with the glider in tow. Upon arrival at their destination airport, the glider pilot released from the tow plane and entered the downwind for runway 22. The pilot stated that after he established the glider on a right base for runway 22, he encountered a down draft and determined that he would not make runway 22. The pilot then made a steep right turn and attempted to land on runway 31. He was not able to level the wings with full left aileron and the right wing struck the ground. A witness stated that the glider flew the base leg on the far side of runway 31, and when it turned final it developed a sink rate. The pilot estimated the winds were from 230 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 20. During the previous 5-1/2 months, the pilot had logged 2 landings and a total of 1 hour and 27 minutes in gliders.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's inadequate evaluation of the weather, and his misjudgment of altitude and distance from the runway. Contributing factors were the pilot's lack of recent experience and the weather.

Full narrative available

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