On May 6, 2001, about 0947 eastern daylight time, a Schweitzer 136, N3620Y, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, this was his first flight in the make and model glider. About 0630, he was towed from the Erwinna Airport, Vansant, Pennsylvania, to an altitude of 3,000 feet. The pilot soared the glider in the local area for about 3 hours, until the thermal lift began to dissipate, and the glider descended. Realizing that he was at a low altitude and would not make it back to the airport, the pilot elected to make an off field landing. While maneuvering for the off field landing, the pilot observed an airstrip located in a nearby apple orchard and entered the traffic pattern for landing. As the pilot turned the glider from a base leg to final approach, he thought the airspeed was to low, and a stall was imminent. The pilot leveled the wings and the left wing impacted a 5-foot high apple tree. The glider spun 180 degrees, impacted the ground, and came to rest along side an apple tree.

The weather at a nearby airport, at 0855 was, winds from 060 at 13 knots, clear skies, and temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

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