LAX04CA310
LAX04CA310

On September 2, 2004, at 1422 mountain standard time, a Schweizer SGS 2-33A, N2873H, encountered a dust devil during the landing flare at the Estrella Sailport, about 6 miles west of Maricopa, Arizona. The glider touched down hard on the runway and was substantially damaged. The student pilot was seriously injured during the solo instructional flight. The glider's owner, Arizona Soaring, Inc., Maricopa, operated the glider under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from the sailport at 1409.

The student's certified flight instructor (CFI) reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that his student had flown a normal traffic pattern to the runway. When the student was on short final approach to runway 24C, the CFI observed a "really large" dust devil in the area. The CFI stated that he believes the glider encountered the adverse weather. Thereafter, the glider nosed down and impacted the runway hard. Minutes prior to the mishap, the local wind speed was from 240 degrees, between 5 and 10 knots.

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