Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Loss of Lift: Schleicher ASK 21, N212NM; accident occurred April 08, 2022 in Valyermo, Los Angeles County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Southern California Soaring Academy Inc

Location: Valyermo, California 
Accident Number: WPR22LA150
Date and Time: April 8, 2022, 16:10 Local 
Registration: N212NM
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of lift 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of the glider reported that, while in thermal flight, he made a turn to the south to follow a ridgeline. Before he reached the top of the mountain, the glider experienced a loss of lift. To compensate, he maneuvered the glider away from terrain and encountered additional sink. While maneuvering the glider toward lower terrain, the right-wing tip struck a tree. The glider struck additional trees before it impacted terrain and came to rest between two trees. 

The glider sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. 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 gliders encounter with atmospheric conditions where the lift was not sufficient to maintain flight and subsequent impact with mountainous terrain.


Environmental issues Thermal lifting - Effect on operation
Environmental issues Mountainous/hilly terrain - Contributed to outcome
Aircraft Altitude - Attain/maintain not possible

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute-cruise Loss of lift (Defining event)
Maneuvering Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 78, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 5-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: July 19, 2020
Flight Time: (Estimated) 509 hours (Total, all aircraft), 177 hours (Total, this make and model), 108 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N212NM
Model/Series: ASK 21 NO SERIES 
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 21947
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 25, 2022 100 hour Certified 
Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 0 None
Airframe Total Time: 432.67 Hrs
Engine Manufacturer: NA
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: KPMD, 2582 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 22 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 320°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 280°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / -11°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Llano, CA (46CN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Valyermo, CA
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 15:13 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 34.351121,-117.80157(est)

Glider crashed under unknown circumstances on Morning Mountain. 

Date: 09-APR-22
Time: 03:04:00Z
Regis#: N212NM
Aircraft Make: SCHLEICHER
Aircraft Model: ASK 21
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91

1 comment:

  1. Appears a very fortunate outcome with "Aircraft Damage: Substantial and Highest Injury: NONE" in very remote mountainous location of map view 34.351121,-117.80157.