Accident Schleicher ASW 20 BL G-CFHD,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 349635
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Date:Monday 21 August 2023
Type:Silhouette image of generic AS20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Schleicher ASW 20 BL
Owner/operator:Cambridge Gliding Club
Registration: G-CFHD
MSN: 20694
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Gransden Lodge Airfield, Little Gransden, Sandy, Bedfordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Gransden Lodge Airfield, Little Gransden, Sandy, Bedfordshire
Destination airport:Gransden Lodge Airfield, Little Gransden, Sandy, Bedfordshire
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
A Schleicher ASW 20BL, G-CFHD, grazed a tree on approach and then landed just short of the runway.

A closed-circuit task around a number of turning points progressed very well and the pilot took his best climb of the day to 4,500 ft AMSL around 30 kms from the finish. This, his computer, said was more than enough to finish the task and indeed it indicated a reserve of around 800 ft of excess height. It has not been categorically proven, but evidence suggests that the Oudie was miss-set and the 400 ft height reserve set up was at the 3 km finish circle and not at the airfield itself. This would have misled the pilot into thinking he had a great deal more safety margin than existed.

Thinking he had more than sufficient height in hand, the pilot set off on his final glide at about 110 kts IAS into a headwind of 16 kts at his flying height. The combination of the excessive speed and the headwind soon eroded all his safety margin, and his flight computer indicated a height deficit. He slowed down to 75 kts but continued along the final track. At around 7 kms to go he was at about 500 ft AGL and almost directly overhead the disused airfield at Bourn.

In his statement the pilot said that he was unaware of this excellent landing option. He continued to fly on track, hoping to get a logged point inside the 3 km finish circle and then to land.

As the pilot crossed the 3 km finish circle, he had a long flat field directly ahead of him and a safe landing could have been easily within his capabilities. However, he dismissed this as a landing option as the surface was rough, even though he completed his pre-landing checks in preparation for landing. He hoped that the field next ahead would be better.

He then decided to apply a decent into ground effect which conversation with other pilots had suggested would markedly increase the achievable range. He accelerated into ground effect to 80 kts IAS and consequently lost the option of landing in the field he was over.

Looking ahead he could see that Gransden Lodge Airfield was slightly above his current height and was clearly
unachievable. Thus, he decided to cross the road at the end of the field below some high-tension wires at about 16 ft AGL and land in the next field. Sadly, a tree he had failed to see caught the left wing during this manoeuvre and the glider rotated through 180 degrees and came to rest facing the direction from which it had come.

The glider was very substantially damaged and will be assessed for whether it is repairable. The pilot sustained injuries which are categorised as major.

G-CFHD is ex-BGA3266, and saw service with the RAF GSA (Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association) being re-registered as G-CFHD on 18.12.2007. It has had five UK registered owners since then.


2. BFU23-0765-DX:



G-CFHD/'196': Schleicher ASW-20BL at Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, 24.6.2023: G-CFHD/196

Revision history:

05-Jan-2024 12:55 harro Added
13-Jan-2024 10:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Category]
13-Jan-2024 10:03 Anon. Updated [Narrative]

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