NTSB Identification: WPR10CA015
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 11, 2009 in Llano, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/03/2010
Aircraft: LET Blanik L-13, registration: N948LC
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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.

In a written statement, the certified flight instructor (CFI) reported that the student pilot had accomplished five dual instructional flights earlier that day. The CFI then cleared the student pilot for a solo flight. The glider was attached to a tow airplane, and the takeoff and tow were normal. The student released the glider at 2,000 feet above ground level (agl). The student used the airbrakes to descend to pattern altitude (1,000 feet agl). The CFI reported that the student forgot to close the airbrakes upon reaching traffic pattern altitude and the glider continued to descend rapidly. The student pilot maintained a 45-degree entry to the downwind leg of the runway and the glider impacted trees about 500 feet short of the airport, substantially damaging the wings, fuselage, and right horizontal stabilizer drag spar. When the CFI arrived on-scene the airbrakes were in the open position. There was no report of a mechanical failure or malfunction with the glider at the time of the accident.

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

The student pilot's improper use of the airbrakes while on approach for landing.

Full narrative available

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