NTSB Identification: SEA02LA140.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 31, 2002 in Belgrade, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Blanik L-13, registration: N70741
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

Just about the time the glider pilot was ready to initiate his base turn for the parallel sod runway, the tower controller asked him if he saw the traffic on a one mile final to the paved runway. According to the pilot, he then let go of the spoiler handle (the spoilers were partially deployed), in order to reach the microphone that was stored in a pocket on the right side of the glider. He advised the tower that he did not have the traffic in sight, put the microphone back in the pocket, and then reached back for the spoiler handle. At that time he discovered that the spoilers had deployed to the full open position. The pilot then immediately retracted the spoilers and made a turn to final. After turning final, the pilot realized that he probably would not be able to make it to the threshold of the sod runway, but because of the aircraft on final for the paved runway, he made the decision not to request a change to that runway (the threshold of which was approximately 2,500 feet closer to his position at the time). As the pilot continued on toward the threshold of the sod runway, he attempted to maneuver toward its right side in order to avoid some stakes that were between him and the runway threshold, and in order to land well clear of the paved runway. Ultimately the aircraft touched down approximately 200 feet short of the sod runway threshold and 50 feet to the right of its right edge. Although the initial touchdown in the tall weeds was uneventful, almost immediately after starting the landing roll, the aircraft impacted a ditch that the pilot had not been aware of.

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

The glider pilot's improper in-flight planning decision and his failure to attain the proper touchdown point. Contributing to the accident were the inadvertent activation of the speed brakes, the pilot's failure to maintain altitude, the high vegetation and the ditch.

Full narrative available

Index for Jul2002 | Index of months