NTSB Identification: SEA01LA147.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, August 07, 2001 in Rock Island, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/03/2002
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-26B, registration: N5768S
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The accident flight was intended to be a solo cross-country instructional glider flight over a distance of about 29 nautical miles. The flight instructor stated that he instructed the student to climb to at least 6,000 feet above sea level (4,751 feet above the departure airport and 4,724 feet above the destination airport) prior to leaving the local area. The glider had a maximum lift-to-drag ratio of 23. The instructor reported that when the student failed to find lift, and after waiting until too low to return to the departure airport, he delayed selecting a safe landing site until only one option remained. The student's approach was high and was made with a tail wind. The glider overshot its intended landing area, a 400-foot-long open field, and landed between trees near a cherry orchard approximately 2 miles from the departure airport, sustaining substantial damage in the landing. The flight instructor reported that no mechanical malfunction or failure was involved in the accident. The student pilot's certificate was issued about 1 1/2 months before the accident, and the student pilot's flight instructor reported that the student had 30 hours total pilot time including 8 hours in the accident make and model.

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

The student pilot's improper inflight planning and decision (delay in establishing an approach to a suitable landing area) and his subsequent failure to attain the proper glidepath for the selected landing area, resulting in an overshoot of the selected landing area and collison with trees during landing. Factors included the pilot's lack of experience, and trees in the vicinity of the landing site.

Full narrative available

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