Torrey Pines Gliderport Airport
Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

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

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 Event Accident
Event Date 3/16/2003
Event Day of the Week Sunday
Time of Event 1420
Event Time Zone Pacific Standard Time
Event City SAN DIEGO
Event Country --
Zipcode of the event site 92101
Event Date Year 2003
Event Date Month 3
MidAir Collision Indicator No
On Ground Collision occurred ? No
Event Location Latitude 325338N
Event Location Longitude 1171400W
Event Location Airport Torrey Pines Gliderport
Event Location Nearest Airport ID CA84
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airport On Airport
Distance from airport in statute miles 0
Degrees magnetic from airport 0
Airport Elevation 372
Weather Briefing Completeness Not pertinent
Investigator's weather source Weather Observation Facility
Time of the weather observation 1351 Pacific Standard Time
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees) 343
Weather Observation Facility ID SAN
Elevation of weather observation facility 78
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?) 10
Time Zone of the weather observation PST
Lighting Conditions Day
Lowest Ceiling Height 2400
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height --
Sky/Lowest/Cloud Conditions Clear
Sky Condition for Lowest Ceiling Broken
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 Indicator Wind direction could be determined
Wind Speed (knots) 9
Wind Velocity Indicator --
Wind Gust Indicator Not 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 Injury None
On Ground, Fatal Injuries --
On Ground, Minor Injuries --
On Ground, Serious Injuries --
Injury Total Fatal --
Injury Total Minor --
Injury Total None 1
Injury Total Serious --
Injury Total All --
Investigating Agency NTSB
NTSB Docket Number (internal use) 16925
NTSB Notification Source FAA
NTSB Notification Date Mar 24 2003 12:00AM
NTSB Notification Time 1045
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket information DMS
Date of most recent change to record Dec 28 2004 12:45PM
User who most recently changed record NTSB\JOHB
Basic weather conditions Visual Meteorological Cond
FAA District Office WP-SAN-FSDO

Aircraft Involved

Aircraft #1

Aircraft Registration Number N1169S
NTSB Number LAX03LA133
Missing Aircraft Indicator --
Federal Aviation Reg. Part Part 91: General Aviation
Type of Flight Plan filed None
Flight plan Was Activated? No
Damage Substantial
Aircraft Fire None
Aircraft Explosion None
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full Name Schweizer
Aircraft Model SGS 1-34
Aircraft Series Identifier --
Aircraft Serial Number 69
Certified Max Gross Weight 840
Aircraft Category Glider
Aircraft Registration Class U.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 1
Number of Engines 0
Fixed gear or retractable gear Fixed
Aircraft, Type of Last Inspection Annual
Date of Last Inspection Apr 1 2002 12:00AM
Airframe hours since last inspection 100
Airframe Hours 3466.2
ELT Installed No
ELT Activated No
ELT Aided Location of Event Site No
ELT Type --
Aircraft Owner Name Associated Glider Clubs of SO CA Ltd
Aircraft Owner Street Address 4340 Aragon Way
Aircraft Owner City San Diego
Aircraft Owner State CA
Aircraft Owner Country USA
Aircraft Owner Zipcode 92115
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 certificate None
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 Board No
Departure Point Same as Event Yes
Departure Airport Code CA84
Departure City SAN DIEGO
Departure State CA
Departure Country USA
Departure Time 1330
Departure Time Zone PST
Destination Same as Local Flt crash at destination city
Destination Airport Code CA84
Destination City SAN DIEGO
Destination State CA
Destination Country USA
Specific Phase of Flight Landing - flare/touchdown
Report sent to ICAO? No
Evacuation occurred No
Date of most recent change to record Oct 27 2004 5:36PM
User who most recently changed record RICJ
Since inspection or accident Last Inspection
Event Location Runway Number and Location 09
Runway Length 1500
Runway Width 30
Sight Seeing flight No
Air Medical Flight No
Medical Flight --