NTSB Identification: LAX03LA133.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, March 16, 2003 in SAN DIEGO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2004
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 1-34, registration: N1169S
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.

The glider landed hard on a dirt strip, which caused damage to the fuselage, forward bulkhead, and stringers. The gliderport is a publicly owned field situated on top of a mesa along the coastline; the west boundary of the airstrip is a 400-foot sandstone cliff that drops almost vertically to the Pacific ocean. The pilot attempted to land downwind on runway 9 with a 13-knot tailwind. He noted that while turning onto the base leg, his approach was high. To counteract the lift produced by the cliff, he deployed full spoilers. Still high, the pilot put the glider into a slip configuration to lose altitude. The pilot stated that the airspeed was 48 knots. He continued to hold the full spoiler, full slip condition until he felt he had attained the appropriate altitude to make a normal landing. He neutralized the flight controls, and retained full spoiler input. The glider landed hard. The pilot stated that the combination of flying from a lift to a no lift condition, the high downwind ground speed, and the rolling terrain contributed to his misjudging the sink rate, which resulted in a hard landing. The pilot did not report any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the glider. Winds at the time of the accident were from 230-degrees at 13 knots.

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

the pilot's misjudgment of the landing flare and descent rate. A contributing factor was the pilot's misjudged speed and distance.

Full narrative available

Index for Mar2003 | Index of months