Sunday, May 15, 2022

Schweizer SGS 2-33A, N17879: Fatal aoccurred May 15, 2022 near Blairstown Airport (1N7), Warren County, New Jersey

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

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

Jersey Ridge Soaring Club LLC

Location: Blairstown, New Jersey
Accident Number: ERA22FA227
Date and Time: May 15, 2022, 14:58 Local
Registration: N17879
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2-33A 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On May 15, 2022, at 1458 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer SGS-2-33A glider, N17879, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Blairstown, New Jersey. The pilot was fatally injured. The glider was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 solo instructional flight.

According to the pilot’s flight instructor, he met the pilot at the airport to review his logbook and plan for two instructional flights. He reported the weather as “good with light winds and smooth conditions” based on flights he performed earlier that day. The two dual flights, which were performed in the traffic pattern for runway 25, were uneventful. The instructor noted that the pilot flew well on each flight, exercised good judgement, and flew well within safety limits. Following the completion of the second flight, the instructor issued a 90-day solo endorsement.

During the 2nd solo traffic pattern flight, the first of which was uneventful, the flight instructor noticed that the turn from base to final “looked early, and slightly higher than normal.” The glider then entered a forward slip and descended closer to a “normal glide path” for the runway; however, it was left of runway centerline and “somewhat close to tall trees on the left.” During recovery from a second forward slip, the glider had a slight left bank angle, which caused it to track closer to the trees. The wings then leveled, and the glider struck trees with its left wing, rotated, and pitched steeply nose down before it impacted terrain.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the glider came to rest inverted in a grass field about 300 ft short of the runway 25 threshold, and about 235 ft left of the runway centerline. The glider was largely intact, and all major components were present at the accident site. Both wings had leading edge impact/crushing damage outboard of the wing struts. Tree bark fragments were present in the damaged area of the left wing. The fuselage was buckled and twisted toward the right, about 2 ft aft of the wing’s trailing edge. The upper 10 inches of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were impact-damaged. The forward sections of the cockpit and canopy were crushed and fragmented, forward of the front seat. The front seat was relatively undamaged, and the 4-point harness was intact and remained attached to each of its mounting points. 

Flight control continuity was established for all primary flight controls from the cockpit to the control surfaces. All cables and push pull tubes remained connected, and the elevator, aileron, and rudder could all be moved from the cockpit controls, with binding. The speed brake control lever was in the retracted position and the speed brakes were not extended.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schweizer
Registration: N17879
Model/Series: SGS 2-33A 
Aircraft Category: Glider
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 12N,580 ft msl
Observation Time: 14:54 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C /17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 210°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Altimeter Setting: 29.83 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Blairstown, NJ
Destination: Blairstown, NJ

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.97265,-74.99199 

Glider struck trees and crashed.

Date: 15-MAY-22
Time: 18:58:00Z
Regis#: N17879
Aircraft Make: SCHWEIZER
Aircraft Model: SGS 2-33A
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 fatal
Pax: 0
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91
Aircraft Missing: No

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the fatal crash of a glider near Blairstown Airport on Sunday, authorities said.

Witnesses told police the glider was attempting to land when it struck the top of a few trees and crashed just before 3 p.m., Blairstown Police Chief Scott Johnson said.

Responding officers found the glider upside down in a grass area across the street from the airport. An off-duty police officer and several bystanders removed the pilot, a 70-year-old man, and began to administer CPR.

The Blairstown Ambulance Corps and Blairstown Hose Company #1 took over the CPR but the victim was eventually pronounced dead at the scene. The pilot was the only occupant of the glider.

The name of the victim was still being withheld Monday pending notification of his next-of-kin, Johnson said.

According to a preliminary report from the FAA, the glider lost altitude and struck trees on approach to the airport.

The NTSB is leading the investigation with the FAA.

The Schweizer SGS 2-33A  two-seat glider model is classified by the FAA as a "tandem, intermediate-training sailplane," manufactured by Schewizer Aircraft of Elmira, New York. Construction features a metal frame with a fabric cover on the fuselage and tail surfaces.

The glider was built in 1972 and registered to Jersey Ridge Soaring, which is located at the airport, FAA records show. Jersey Ridge Soaring did not immediately respond to a phone inquiry Monday afternoon.

A pilot sustained serious injuries in 2016 when his single-engine plane ran off the runway at Blairstown Airport and crashed into trees.


  1. BLAIRSTOWN — The pilot of a glider that struck trees on the approach to Blairstown Airport died when the plane crashed while trying to land Sunday afternoon.

    The FAA said the Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider quickly lost altitude after hitting the trees. Only the pilot was on board. FAA records show the glider is registered to Jersey Ridge Soaring, a company based at the airport that offers flights in one-and-two passenger gliders.

    Blairstown police chief Scott Johnsen said an off-duty officer and several bystanders removed the pilot from the plane after it landed upside down in a grassy area across the street from the airport. They began administering CPR before EMS arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Johnsen said the pilot was a 70-year-old man but did not disclose his identity pending notification of his family.

    The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash

    Read More: Pilot dies in glider crash at Blairstown, NJ Airport |