LAX04CA246
LAX04CA246

On June 23, 2004, about 1645 Pacific daylight time, a Schweizer 1-35, N2874H, landed short of the runway at the Air Sailing Gliderport, Sparks, Nevada. The pilot was operating the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight originated from Sparks about 1420. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that he was attempting to land on runway 35. With an indicated airspeed (IAS) of about 60 knots, the pilot entered the downwind leg of the traffic pattern about 600 feet above ground level (agl). While turning on base leg, he noticed a significant decrease in ground speed, which he attributed to being the result of a strong headwind. He noted the windsock, located on the north end of the field, indicated calm wind conditions.

The pilot further noted that just before turning onto final approach, about 400 feet agl, the glider experienced an increase in sink rate and a decrease in airspeed (about 5 to 10 knots IAS). He lowered the nose in an effort to increase the airspeed and counteract the sink, but the glider continued toward the ground. Just before impacting the ground in a nose low attitude, the pilot pulled back on the stick in an effort to pitch the nose up and cushion the impact. The glider collided with terrain in a flat attitude. As a result of the impact, the glider's canopy shattered, a wing bent, and the fuselage was damaged. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions of failures with the aircraft.

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