LAX01LA091
LAX01LA091

On February 3, 2001, at 1150 hours Pacific standard time, a Schweizer SGS 1-26E glider, N2685H, was substantially damaged when the aircraft stalled and impacted the ground during a turn from landing base leg to final approach at Lake Elsinore private airport, Lake Elsinore, California. The solo student pilot was not injured. The local area instructional flight departed from Lake Elsinore at 1130, and was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the Lake Elsinore Soaring Club. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The 15-year-old pilot had flown over 60 glider flights and had about 25 hours total flying experience. According to his flight instructor, the pilot had not flown in the previous 3-week period, so he (the flight instructor) first flew with the student in a two-place glider.

In his statement to the Safety Board, the student pilot stated this was his second flight of the day but his first ever in the single-place model 1-26E glider. He reported the flight was normal until the point where he returned for landing and was entering the landing traffic pattern. "[F]or some reason unknown to me, the glider went into a spin." He recovered from the spin about 200 - 300 feet below normal pattern altitude. He acknowledged that he should have adjusted his pattern to account for the loss of altitude but instead attempted to fly a normal pattern. As the aircraft approached the turning point from base leg to final approach, "I should have continued flying straight ahead, but I attempted to turn anyway. I was going too slow and was much too low to make a turn." The glider entered a spin a second time and impacted the ground.

The pilot acknowledged having heard his instructor's instruction over the radio telling him to land straight ahead and not attempt the turn to final approach.

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