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 September 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 of F-CGVP. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.
1 - HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT
The pilot of F-CGVP and the pilot of F-CGKS took off in the early afternoon, together with other glider pilots, to carry out a competition flight as part of the French gliding championship. The wind was from the north at around 30 km/h and the cloud ceiling (seven octas) was at an altitude of about 600 m. The start of the event was postponed several times and then the competition director cancelled it because of the weather conditions. Some glider pilots decided to land, others, including the pilots of F-CGVP and F-CGKS, to prolong their flight.
At about 16:00, as the sky had become completely overcast, the pilots could no longer find thermal lifts and returned to the aerodrome to land. The pilot of F-CGVP positioned the glider for a close right-hand downwind leg to land on glider runway 35. She saw F-CGKS to her left, also on a downwind leg and asked the pilot on the radio if he could accelerate as she was on his right. She did not get an answer. On the base leg, the pilot of F-CGKS saw F-CGVP to his right and asked the pilot on the radio if she had him in sight. He received no reply.
The pilot of F-CGKS decided to land long on glider runway 35, to let other glider pilots land behind him. He chose the left side of the runway to stay away from the glider that had landed before him on the right side of the runway. The pilot of F-CGVP also decided to land long on the same runway. F-CGVP was on the right of F-CGKS and about 100 metres behind it.
During the landing run, the pilot of F-CGKS turned right to stop on the taxiway adjacent to the runway, as the pilot of the glider who had landed just before him had done. During the right turn, the path of F-CGKS intersected the path of F-CGVP shortly before the latter's main gear touched down. The pilot of F-CGVP performed an evasive manoeuvre to the left, the wing and then the tail struck the ground. The glider ended its path on the runway, on the reciprocal QFU. The rear part of the fuselage showed significant cracks.
2 - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Lille - Marcq-en-Barœul aerodrome has four runways: two joined runways 07/25, one for aeroplanes and the other for gliders, and two joined runways 17/35, one for aeroplanes and the other for gliders. Runways 17/35 measure 850 m long and 50 m wide for the aeroplane runway and 850 m long and 80 m wide for the glider runway. A taxiway is adjacent to the runways, to the east (to the right of runway 35 for gliders).
2.2Pilots’ experience and statements
The 21-year-old pilot of F-CGKS held a glider pilot licence. He had logged about 1,000 flight hours. He also held a microlight pilot licence and had logged 30 flight hours. He was also a glider tug pilot.
The 40-year-old pilot of F-CGVP held a glider pilot licence. She had logged about 3,500 flight hours. She held an FI(S) glider instructor rating.
The pilots reported that the landing phase was not discussed during the daily briefings. The rule generally complied with for multi-aircraft landings is to land long, a little to the right or left, and not to vacate unless the path is close to the runway edge. The pilot of F-CGVP indicated that at the time of the accident there was no aeroplane traffic and the aeroplane runway was free. Because of the many gliders in the circuit, she did not keep a sufficient distance from F-CGKS, which would have enabled her to better manage an unforeseen event. Finally, she explained that they may not have insisted on their intentions on the radio and added that ground radio support could have helped guide the landings.