NTSB Identification: NYC02LA046.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 01, 2002 in Sterling, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: LET L-23, registration: N117BB
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

As the glider neared the airport, the student pilot entered the downwind leg further out from the runway than she normally would. As the glider was turned on to the base leg, the student realized that she would not make the runway and elected to perform a forced landing to a two-lane highway. The glider touched down on the southbound lane of the elevated roadway, impacted a metal guardrail, and came to rest upright. The student had accumulated about 13 hours of dual instruction in gliders, with 7 or 8 different flight instructors, and about 1.4 hours of solo time. The student added that previous to the accident flight, she had no plans to fly solo due to the wind conditions. After her flight instructor reassured her that the pervious dual flight had been good, and student climbed into the glider alone. The recorded weather at a nearby airport, about the time of the accident, included winds from 250 degrees at 13 knots, gusts to 22 knots.

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

The student pilots inadequate compensation for wind conditions which resulted in an off-field landing, and the CFI's improper decision to allow the student to fly solo. Factors related to the accident were the gusting wind conditions, and the students lack of total experience in gliders.

Full narrative available

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