NTSB Identification: WPR09CA359
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 19, 2009 in Truckee, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/19/2009
Aircraft: SCHWEIZER SGS-2-33A, registration: N65825
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 student glider pilot had flown in the morning, and returned for a flight to gain experience in afternoon wind conditions. This was his eighth solo flight, and his launch limitations were surface winds less than 10 miles per hour (mph) and crosswinds no greater than 60 degrees to the runway. Takeoff conditions met those parameters, and he departed. He returned to land and set up a pattern approach to runway 19, maintaining about 60 mph at 700-800 feet above ground level (agl). The pilot felt that his altitude was high on the downwind leg so he performed a slip maneuver to lose altitude to 500-600 feet. When turning to the base leg, the glider suddenly lost altitude to about 300 feet agl, and the pilot initiated an early turn to final. The student's certified flight instructor (CFI) reported that, when the student turned from downwind to base, the glider was lower than expected, and he observed the spoilers open. As the CFI was about to radio the student, the spoilers closed. The CFI stated that the glider was low, slow, and nose high as it approached the runway threshold. It appeared to stall, and dropped onto the runway from an altitude of 5-6 feet. It hit hard, bounced, and dragged both wing tips. After the glider came to a rest, the CFI reported that the spoiler's were not out. A witness stated that the winds had been from the south-southwest at 10 knots most of the day with occasional gusts greater than 10 knots. Twenty minutes prior to the accident, the wind was reported from 270 degrees at 16 knots.

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

The student pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed to avoid a stall during final approach to land. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of experience.

Full narrative available

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