NTSB Identification: LAX04CA246.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 23, 2004 in Sparks, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Schweizer 1-35, registration: N2874H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The glider landed short of runway and impacted terrain. While turning onto base leg of the traffic pattern, the pilot noticed a significant decrease in ground speed, which he attributed to being the result of a strong headwind. Just before turning onto final approach, about 400 feet agl, the glider experienced an increase in sink rate and a decrease in airspeed (about 5 to 10 knots indicated airspeed). He lowered the nose in an effort to increase the airspeed and counteract the sink, but the glider continued toward the ground. Just before impacting the ground in a nose low attitude, the pilot pulled back on the stick in an effort to pitch the nose up and cushion the impact. The glider collided with terrain in a flat attitude. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions of failures with the aircraft.

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

the pilot's misjudgment of altitude and distance resulting in an undershoot of the runway.

Full narrative available

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