On July 9, 1995, at 1415 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer S-2-33A, Glider, N3622X, was substantially damaged during an off airport landing, near Elmira, New York. The student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, for the personal flight that departed the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport (ELM), about 1555. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the student pilot (SP) stated that he was towed aloft from ELM, and released at 2,500 feet above the ground (AGL). During the glide, and the SP's attempt to find thermals, the glider's altitude varied between 1,700 and 2,200 feet AGL. When the glider reached 1,500 feet, the SP decided to return to ELM. During the return, the SP thought he acquired a thermal and circled. The glider lost additional altitude and the SP continued his return to the airport. At 1,100 feet AGL, the SP determined that he was not going to make it to the airport, and looked for a suitable field in which to land. During the SP's search for a suitable field, the glider continued to descend.

The pilot further stated:

...I got too low...and I thought about turning out of the trees, but there was a house there and I didn't want to turn into the house. So I put it on the trees....

The pilot's only flying experience was in gliders. His total flight experience was 22 hours, of which 5 hours was solo.

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