Saturday, November 28, 2020

Loss of Lift: Schweizer SGS 2-33A, N7547; accident occurred August 14, 2020 in Warner Springs, San Diego County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Diego, California

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Sky Sailing Inc

Location: Warner Springs, California 
Accident Number: WPR20CA273
Date & Time: August 14, 2020, 13:30 Local
Registration: N7547
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS233
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of lift
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The glider pilot reported that, during the return flight to the airport, he encountered more downdrafts than expected and did not have enough altitude to reach the airport. He selected an area for the forced landing where during the landing roll on the rough terrain, both wings sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the glider that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inability to maintain altitude due to a loss of thermal lift, which resulted in an off-airport landing.


Aircraft Altitude - Attain/maintain not possible
Environmental issues Thermal lifting - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute-descent Other weather encounter
Enroute-descent Loss of lift (Defining event)
Landing Off-field or emergency landing

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 18,Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider 
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: July 19, 2020
Flight Time: 33 hours (Total, all aircraft), 20 hours (Total, this make and model), 19 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schweizer
Registration: N7547
Model/Series: SGS233 A
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 1970
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 177
Landing Gear Type: 
Skid Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Not installed 
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner:
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRNM, 1393 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 20:53 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 220°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 290° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.86 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Warner Springs, CA (CL35)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Warner Springs, CA (CL35) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G


Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation:
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: IFR 
Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.284442,-116.669723(est)

1 comment:

    "To solo, you must demonstrate safe control of the sailplane and knowledge of soaring to your instructor. These areas include pre-flight, tow maneuvers, planning, flight maneuvers from take-off to landing, theory of flight, weather, regulations, and emergency procedures. This training requires approximately 25-35 flights which will work out to equal to about 7-9 hours of flight time. This varies with your own initiative, background and skill. Cost for solo flights ranges from $2000- $3000. The minimum age for your first solo in a sailplane is 14."


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