LAX96LA218
LAX96LA218

On May 25, 1996, about 1500 hours Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer 1-24 sailplane, N91888, was substantially damaged during landing at the Mountain Valley Airport, Tehachapi, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. The pilot was not injured. The flight originated from the Mountain Valley airport as a local area soaring flight. On landing, the sailplane collided with two parked sailplanes.

In the pilot's written report to the Safety Board he stated that he was making a normal landing approach to runway 27R, at 60 mph. On final approach two gliders were in launch position on runway 27R, so the pilot elected to land on the grass strip between the runways 27L and 27R. The pilot stated that he came over the end of the runway at 50 feet. He touched down in the grass with full dive brake/spoiler and wheel brake, but continued to roll while veering to the right. He stated that his speed did not bleed off as normal.

Witnesses stated that the glider appeared to be fast on final approach. They also reported that they did not see spoilers used until a point that the collision was imminent. The wheel brake is activated from the aft travel of the spoiler control. An instructor witness awaiting launch sequence with a student stated that the accident glider landed mid-runway in the dry grass and was traveling about 50 knots when it hit the first (the instructors) parked glider. This glider was number 2 for launch from the center of runway 27R.

The normal procedure used for the glider runway (27R) is to position one or two gliders mid-runway for launch. Inbound gliders land behind the launch position gliders. If the pilot is uncomfortable during the approach with landing behind the positioned gliders, the procedure is to land on the powered aircraft runway (27L).

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