Aircraft Incident/Accident Report
Torrey Pines Gliderport Airport

San Diego, California 92101
Sunday, March 16, 2003 14:20 PST

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NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
The glider landed hard on a dirt strip, which caused damage to the fuselage, forward bulkhead, and stringers. The gliderport is a publicly owned field situated on top of a mesa along the coastline; the west boundary of the airstrip is a 400-foot sandstone cliff that drops almost vertically to the Pacific ocean. The pilot attempted to land downwind on runway 9 with a 13-knot tailwind. He noted that while turning onto the base leg, his approach was high. To counteract the lift produced by the cliff, he deployed full spoilers. Still high, the pilot put the glider into a slip configuration to lose altitude. The pilot stated that the airspeed was 48 knots. He continued to hold the full spoiler, full slip condition until he felt he had attained the appropriate altitude to make a normal landing. He neutralized the flight controls, and retained full spoiler input. The glider landed hard. The pilot stated that the combination of flying from a lift to a no lift condition, the high downwind ground speed, and the rolling terrain contributed to his misjudging the sink rate, which resulted in a hard landing. The pilot did not report any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the glider. Winds at the time of the accident were from 230-degrees at 13 knots.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
the pilot's misjudgment of the landing flare and descent rate. A contributing factor was the pilot's misjudged speed and distance.
Event Information
Type of EventAccident 
Event Date3/16/2003 
Event Day of the WeekSunday 
Time of Event1420 
Event Time ZonePacific Standard Time 
Event CitySAN DIEGO 
Event StateCALIFORNIA 
Event Country-- 
Zipcode of the event site92101 
Event Date Year2003 
Event Date Month
MidAir Collision IndicatorNo 
On Ground Collision occurred ?No 
Event Location Latitude325338N 
Event Location Longitude1171400W 
Event Location AirportTorrey Pines Gliderport 
Event Location Nearest Airport IDCA84 
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airportOn Airport 
Distance from airport in statute miles
Degrees magnetic from airport
Airport Elevation372 
Weather Briefing CompletenessNot pertinent 
Investigator's weather sourceWeather Observation Facility 
Time of the weather observation1351 Pacific Standard Time 
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees)343 
Weather Observation Facility IDSAN 
Elevation of weather observation facility78 
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?)10 
Time Zone of the weather observationPST 
Lighting ConditionsDay 
Lowest Ceiling Height2400 
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height-- 
Sky/Lowest/Cloud ConditionsClear 
Sky Condition for Lowest CeilingBroken 
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet)-- 
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles)-- 
Visibility (Statute Miles) 10 
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius)16 
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit)10 
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic)230 
Variable Wind IndicatorWind direction could be determined 
Wind Speed (knots)
Wind Velocity Indicator -- 
Wind Gust IndicatorNot Gusting 
Wind Gust (knots) -- 
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 29.82 
Density Altitude (feet)309 
Intensity of Precipitation-- 
METAR weather report -- 
Event Highest InjuryNone 
On Ground, Fatal Injuries-- 
On Ground, Minor Injuries-- 
On Ground, Serious Injuries-- 
Injury Total Fatal-- 
Injury Total Minor-- 
Injury Total None
Injury Total Serious-- 
Injury Total All-- 
Investigating AgencyNTSB 
NTSB Docket Number (internal use)16925 
NTSB Notification SourceFAA  
NTSB Notification DateMar 24 2003 12:00AM 
NTSB Notification Time1045 
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket informationDMS 
Date of most recent change to recordDec 28 2004 12:45PM 
User who most recently changed recordNTSB\JOHB  
Basic weather conditionsVisual Meteorological Cond 
FAA District OfficeWP-SAN-FSDO 
Aircraft Involved
Aircraft #1
Aircraft Registration NumberN1169S 
NTSB NumberLAX03LA133 
Missing Aircraft Indicator-- 
Federal Aviation Reg. PartPart 91: General Aviation 
Type of Flight Plan filedNone 
Flight plan Was Activated?No 
DamageSubstantial 
Aircraft FireNone 
Aircraft ExplosionNone 
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full NameSchweizer 
Aircraft ModelSGS 1-34 
Aircraft Series Identifier-- 
Aircraft Serial Number69 
Certified Max Gross Weight840 
Aircraft CategoryGlider 
Aircraft Registration ClassU.S. Registered/U.S. Soil 
Aircraft is a homebuilt?No 
Flight Crew Seats-- 
Cabin Crew Seats-- 
Passenger Seats-- 
Total number of seats on the aircraft
Number of Engines
Fixed gear or retractable gearFixed 
Aircraft, Type of Last InspectionAnnual 
Date of Last InspectionApr 1 2002 12:00AM 
Airframe hours since last inspection100 
Airframe Hours3466.2 
ELT InstalledNo 
ELT ActivatedNo 
ELT Aided Location of Event SiteNo 
ELT Type-- 
Aircraft Owner NameAssociated Glider Clubs of SO CA Ltd 
Aircraft Owner Street Address4340 Aragon Way 
Aircraft Owner CitySan Diego 
Aircraft Owner StateCA 
Aircraft Owner CountryUSA  
Aircraft Owner Zipcode92115 
Operator is an individual?No 
Operator Name-- 
Operator Same as Owner?Yes 
Operator Is Doing Business As-- 
Operator Address Same as Owner?Yes 
Operator Street Address-- 
Operator City-- 
Operator State-- 
Operator Country-- 
Operator Zip code-- 
Operator Code-- 
Owner has at least one certificateNone 
Other Operator of large aircraft?-- 
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation-- 
Operator Certificate Number-- 
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or not-- 
Indicates Domestic or International Flight-- 
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail-- 
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary)Personal 
Second Pilot on BoardNo 
Departure Point Same as EventYes 
Departure Airport CodeCA84 
Departure CitySAN DIEGO 
Departure StateCA 
Departure CountryUSA 
Departure Time1330 
Departure Time ZonePST 
Destination Same as Local Fltcrash at destination city 
Destination Airport CodeCA84 
Destination CitySAN DIEGO 
Destination StateCA 
Destination CountryUSA 
Specific Phase of FlightLanding - flare/touchdown 
Report sent to ICAO?No 
Evacuation occurredNo 
Date of most recent change to recordOct 27 2004 5:36PM 
User who most recently changed recordRICJ  
Since inspection or accidentLast Inspection 
Event Location Runway Number and Location09 
Runway Length1500 
Runway Width30 
Sight Seeing flightNo 
Air Medical FlightNo 
Medical Flight--