France - BEA

Accident to the Rolladen Schneider - LS4 registered D-6773 on 23/08/2021 at Saint-Geniez (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)

Investigation progression Closed
Progress: 100%

Cat. 3 investigation report: report concerning an occurrence with limited consequences, based on one or more statements not independently validated by the BEA.

This is a courtesy translation by the BEA of the Final Report on the Safety Investigation published in December 2021. As accurate as the translation may be, the original text in French is the work of reference.

Note: The following information is principally based on statements made by the pilot. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.


On returning from a local flight out of Sisteron Vaumeilh, the pilot realized that he was not going to have enough lift to reach the aerodrome. He decided to carry out an off-airfield landing and chose a field with short vegetation near Saint-Geniez. He encountered a stronger than expected headwind, which reduced his gliding distance. Shortly before reaching the field, one of the glider’s wings touched a bush. The glider yawed, lost lift and collided with the ground.
The pilot was uninjured, the rear part of the fuselage ruptured halfway between the wings and the tail unit.

2.1 Pilot information

The 80-year-old pilot held an LAPL(S) licence. At the time of the accident, he had logged a total of about 2,600 flight hours, all on type, including 56 hours in the 90 days before the accident and 47 hours in the 30 days before the accident.

2.2 Pilot’s statement

The pilot indicated that the weather conditions were favourable for gliding, with a light northerly wind. In his opinion, he had initiated the approach to the field chosen for the off-airfield landing too late.

2.3 Search and rescue

At 15:49, the Lyon ARCC[1] received a message indicating that an ELT[2] signal had been received. The ARCC obtained the registration and aircraft type from its German counterpart. A search and rescue operation was launched in coordination with the prefecture, and the SATER C plan was activated. The ARCC engaged a French Air Force helicopter and the ground rescue services travelled to the position of the ELT. Around one hour after the activation of the ELT, two rescue vehicles and two gendarmerie vehicles arrived on the accident site. The helicopter located the wreckage at 17:18, i.e. about one and a half hours after the ELT message had been received. The pilot was attended to by a doctor shortly thereafter.

[1] Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre.

[2] Emergency Locator Transmitter.