SEA00LA077
SEA00LA077

On April 22, 2000, approximately 1600 Pacific daylight time, a PZL Jantar 2A glider, N272AS, experienced a gear collapse during a landing on the grass runway at Hood River Airport, Hood River, Oregon. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured, but the aircraft, which was owned and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal pleasure flight, which departed the same runway about four hours earlier, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed, and there was no report of an ELT activation.

According to the pilot, on the day of the accident, he attempted to takeoff from the grass glider strip at the Hood River Airport. Prior to the takeoff, he noticed that the grass was longer than normal, especially near the sides of the runway. During the takeoff attempt, the right wing of the 20.5 meter glider began contacting the grass, and the aircraft started to veer off course. The pilot released from the tow plane and tried to maintain runway alignment, but the resistance of the grass against the wing resulted in the glider skidding off the right side of the runway. After coming to a stop, the pilot inspected the main landing gear for any damage that might have resulted from the sideloads encountered during the sudden change in ground roll direction. Finding no apparent damage, the pilot elected to attempt a second takeoff from the same runway. That takeoff was successful, and the pilot soared around the Mt. Hood area for nearly four hours. During the flight, the pilot extended and retracted the main gear, and found that the gear mechanism seemed stiffer than normal and that the wheel would not lock in the up position. Although he had no trouble getting the gear down and locked for landing, he thought that the wheel assembly might have sustained unseen damage during the aborted takeoff. According to the pilot, even though his wing had caught in the long vegetation during his first takeoff attempt on the grass runway, upon returning to the airport, he elected to land on the same grass strip instead of on the adjacent paved runway. He said that he elected to do so because he thought it was possible that the gear might collapse on touchdown and the aircraft's belly would slide on the asphalt surface. Although the touchdown on the grass strip was successful, during the initial part of the landing roll, the aircraft's wing again came in contact with the long grass. Although the pilot attempted to keep the aircraft tracking straight down the runway, the resistance of the grass pulling on the wing resulted in the aircraft turning sideways and sliding along the runway surface. As the aircraft slid down the runway, the main gear collapsed to the side and the fuselage fractured just aft of the wing trailing edge.

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