Sunday, January 02, 2022

Hard Landing: LET L-23 Super Blanik, N912B; accident occurred May 31, 2021 at Brokenstraw Airport (P15), Pittsfield, Warren County, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 
Location: Pittsfield, Pennsylvania
Accident Number: ERA21LA242
Date and Time: May 31, 2021, 14:00 Local 
Registration: N912B
Aircraft: LET L-23 SUPER BLANIK 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The student pilot had completed a training flight to pattern altitude just prior to the accident flight with his flight instructor. After that flight, the glider was towed to 3,000 feet above ground level and released from the tow rope so the student pilot could get some solo practice. The total duration of the solo flight was approximately 1.5 hours. Nothing unusual occurred with the flight until the student pilot turned on to the final leg of the traffic pattern for landing. The glider descended quicker than usual as the student pilot had the airbrakes (wing spoilers) extended. The pilot also stated that developed a leg cramp in his right leg on final approach. The pilot subsequently landed the glider “hard” and after touchdown, the pilot lost directional control. The glider then veered off the left side of the runway, struck a runway light and a drainage culvert with the right wing leading edge and lower airbrake, and then struck a taxiway light with the left wing. The glider’s right wing and fuselage were substantially damaged.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot’s improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing and loss of directional control.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Hard landing (Defining event)
Landing Loss of control on ground

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student 
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None 
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: None, None 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 21 hours (Total, all aircraft), 21 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LET 
Registration: N912B
Model/Series: L-23 SUPER BLANIK
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 917912
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tandem 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 10, 2021 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1124 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 0
Airframe Total Time: 1274.3 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KJHW,1723 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 13:56 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 15°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 
Turbulence Type
Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 270°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.3 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Pittsfield, PA (P15)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Pittsfield, PA
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 12:30 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 1230 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3650 ft / 100 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop; Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 41.83294,-79.360671 (est)

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