On September 1, 1996, at about 1409 eastern daylight time (EDT), N1142S, a Schweizer SGS-1-26E glider, overshot runway 17 during landing at Harris Hill Airport, in Elmira, New York. The student pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local, instructional flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from Elmira, New York, at 1320 EDT.

The pilot reported that she completed two successful landings and this was her third solo flight. She said, "...started my landing approach to runway 16 at Harris Hill with the idea of using a slip to lose altitude, if possible. On final I initiated a slip with the spoilers closed so I would not be too low. I then realized I was too low for a slip, but in terminating I ballooned and became concerned with completing successful landing on 16 due to being too high. I then decided to extend my glide path and turn East to land on Harris Hill's auxiliary runway located at the South end of the field. However, my altitude and airspeed were both too low to complete this maneuver...I skidded the glider with the rudder to avoid banking too steeply and this in combination with my low airspeed initiated a stall and spin to the left... ."

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Inspector, this was the pilot's third flight in this glider. The glider overshot the runway and slid down an embankment. The pilot stated that "there was no mechanical malfunction and the accident could have been prevented if she had maintained the proper pattern airspeed, flying coordinated at low airspeeds close to the ground, not changing runways at the last minute, and not using a forward slip too low on final with spoilers closed".

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