Sunday, August 7, 2016

Van's RV-4, N924WZ: Accident occurred August 07, 2016 at Miles Field Airport (3KY9), Waddy, Shelby County, Kentucky

http://registry.faa.gov/N924WZ

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Louisville FSDO-17

Date: 07-AUG-16
Time: 21:09:00Z
Regis#: N924WZ
Aircraft Make: VANS
Aircraft Model: RV4
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Serious
Damage: Substantial
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: WADDY
State: Kentucky

AIRCRAFT FORCE LANDED OFF THE DEPARTURE END OF THE GRASS STRIP, NEAR WADDY, KENTUCKY.




WADDY, Ky. (WDRB) -- A pilot called for help shortly after crashing his small plane over the weekend in a Shelby County field.

DISPATCHER: "Shelby County 911. What is your emergency?"

PILOT: "Hello, I'm in a plane crash."

Investigators released the call Monday that Steve Roberie made to 911 on Sunday.

The 59-year-old Owen County pilot said he had fueled up in Frankfort and had engine trouble shortly after take-off.

That's when he went down in Waddy near Miles Field.

During the call, it's clear the pilot has no idea where he went down.

DISPATCHER: "Do you see any houses or anything around you?"

PILOT: "No."

DISPATCHER: "No? Ok, is anyone injured?"

PILOT: "I'm injured. I'm in the airplane."

DISPATCHER: OK and um, the plane crashed?

PILOT: "Yes. Engine trouble."

The pilot is at University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington. His girlfriend says his injuries include broken bones, but he is expected to survive.

The FAA is investigating the crash.



SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- Officials say a pilot has suffered several injuries after making an emergency landing at a small air strip in Shelby County.

News crews were kept far back from the scene on Grubbs Lane, near Miles Field in Waddy.

Waddy Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief James Riddle said the pilot of the small plane was able to call 911.

The pilot has not been identified but told crews he had been to Frankfort and back on Sunday, and was logging some miles in the plane.

When crews arrived they say he was confused, but alert. 

Riddle said the pilot suffered lower extremity injuries and was trapped in the plane. Crews used extrication equipment to free his legs and feet.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but Riddle says the pilot told him he thought something was wrong with the engine. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to visit the crash site Monday.

Story and video:  http://www.wdrb.com



WADDY, Ky. (WHAS11) – The FAA is investigating a plane crash just southeast of Shelbyville. It happened at the Miles Field airstrip in Waddy, Kentucky Sunday evening.

According to FAA officials, the experimental aircraft crashed 200 feet from the end of a private airstrip in Shelby County around 5 p.m. Sunday. The aircraft was taking off when the accident occurred.

Officials said only the pilot was on board the plane. He was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Hospital. Earlier Sunday evening, officials described his injuries as critical, but there's no update on his condition at this time.

As far as the investigation goes, it's still too early to say what could've led to the crash.  Officials have confirmed fuel was leaking from the plane, but the leak was contained. So, it didn't pose a danger at the crash site.

The woman who lives in a home at Miles Field said it’s been a private grass strip for years. She told WHAS11 it’s very common to hear the sound of planes outside her home. She didn’t hear a loud bang or burst when the plane crashed, just the sirens that followed. She said she’s shaken up by the accident and just hopes the pilot survives.

The pilot’s name hasn’t been released. The plane’s tail number is also not available yet, but the woman who lives at the airport said small, recreational aircraft are common at Miles Field.

The FAA will investigate the cause of the crash starting Monday morning. 

Source:   http://www.whas11.com



One person was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Sunday evening in a small plane crash that occurred in Shelby County.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services, and local fire departments responded to a report of a plane crash on Grubbs Lane, just southwest of Shelby County, at 5:09 p.m. The plane, a two-passenger aircraft with a single occupant, was located at the end of a private grass runway, according to a statement from Shelby County police.

The pilot of the plane, whose name has not yet been released, was flown to the University of Kentucky Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the crash and will be handling the investigation, the statement said.

Source:  http://www.courier-journal.com

WADDY, KY (WAVE) - A small plane had to make an emergency landing in a field near Waddy, according to WAVE 3 News in Louisville. 

Few details were immediately available, but a spokesperson from Frankfort's Capital City Airport confirmed that a plane that took off from there and made an emergency landing near Miles Field, a small airport in Waddy, at about 5 p.m. Sunday.

The spokesperson said the pilot was alive but unsure how severely he or she was injured.

It's not clear what caused the pilot to make the emergency landing.

Source:  http://www.lex18.com

SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. —Emergency crews converged on a field in Shelby County Sunday after a pilot made an emergency landing.

The pilot of the two-seat plane made the landing around 5 p.m. in the 700 block of Grubbs Lane.

First responders said the pilot left Frankfort's Capitol Airport and radioed for help shortly after takeoff.

The pilot, who was the only one in the aircraft, said he was experiencing engine trouble.

Officials told WLKY that the pilot had to be extracted from the plane. He suffered injuries to his legs and has a possible fracture.

They said he would be transported to the hospital by helicopter.

Emergency medical services personnel and firefighters remain on scene.

Source:  http://www.wlky.com

Ryan NAVION B, N5392K: Incident occurred September 10, 2016 in Chandler, Maricopa County, Arizona

http://registry.faa.gov/N5392K

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING WENT OFF THE RUNWAY ONTO THE RAMP, CHANDLER, ARIZONA.

Date: 10-SEP-16
Time: 16:45:00Z
Regis#: N5392K
Aircraft Make: NAVION
Aircraft Model: NAVION
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: CHANDLER
State: Arizona

Helicopter pilot arrested for flying feet above moving cars: Thomas Vorstman charged with operating aircraft in reckless manner

Thomas Vorstman 
 Osceola County Sheriff's Department.


The Osceola County Sheriff's Department responded to reports of a low-flying helicopter in Kissimmee.

Deputies say it was seen in the area of West 192 on Saturday.

Thirty-one-year-old Thomas Vorstman of Orlando was arrested and charged with Operating an Aircraft in a Reckless Manner and Resisting Without Violence.

The sheriff's department says that Vorstman was flying only a few feet above the tops of cars along the roadway.

They responded to Orlando HeliTours where the aircraft is registered and waited for Vorstman to return. Upon his return, he refused to power down the helicopter and wouldn't get out to speak with authorities.

Five minutes later, he met with deputies and told them he "had a heavy load" and explained why he was flying low over traffic.

Vorstman was then fired from Orlando HeliTours and arrested.

He's been booked into the Osceola County Jail.

Deputies notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the incident.

Osceola County – On August 6, Osceola County Sheriff's deputies were patrolling in the area of West 192 in Kissimmee when they observed a red helicopter flying a few feet from the tops of cars traveling both eastbound and westbound. The helicopter's proximity was so close to the cars, that if a passenger van or semi-truck were traveling the same direction, there would have been a collision with the aircraft. At one point, a motorist, who witnessed the incident, alerted the deputy to make sure he saw the helicopter, too.

Deputies responded Orlando HeliTours located at 5071 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, where the aircraft is registered, and spoke with the manager. They explained the incident they witnessed and asked to speak with the pilot, identified as Thomas Vorstman, upon his return. Deputies waited for Vorstman near the helicopter pad, but when he returned, he refused to exit the aircraft. Deputies made numerous attempts to get Vorstman to meet with them, but he would not turn off the aircraft and, for safety concerns, they were not able to approach him. Instead, Vorstman advised he could not exit and left in the helicopter with a group of passengers. 

Approximately 5 minutes later, Vorstman returned and, after finishing his safety checks and exiting the aircraft he met with deputies. He told them he “had a heavy load” and explained why he was flying low over traffic. They also spoke with the company owner who told deputies their pilots have procedures for handling matters like this which contradicted Vorstman's actions. Due to the safety concerns and Vorstman's reckless behavior, the company owner terminated Vorstman's employment immediately.

Based on the statements and evidence, Vorstman was arrested and charged with Operating an Aircraft in a Reckless Manner and Resisting Without Violence. He was booked into the Osceola County Jail. Deputies notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the incident.

Thomas Vorstman (DOB 3/1/85), 9103 Avenue Point Circle, Orlando

Source:  http://www.nbc-2.com



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A helicopter pilot was arrested Saturday after deputies said they spotted him flying just a few feet above cars traveling in the area of West U.S. 192 in Kissimmee.

Deputies said Thomas Vorstman was so close to the cars that if a passenger van or semitruck were traveling in the same direction, there would have been a collision with the helicopter.

Osceola County deputies waited for Vorstman at the helicopter air pad, but when he returned he would not exit the aircraft. They said due to safety concerns, they were not able to approach him.

Vorstman reportedly took off in the helicopter but returned five minutes later and met with deputies.

Vorstman told deputies he'd "had a heavy load," which was why he was flying so low over traffic, but the owner of the company, Orlando HeliTours, told deputies their pilots have procedures that contradicted Vorstman's actions.

Vorstman was arrested and charged with operating an aircraft in a reckless manner without violence. He was booked into the Osceola County Jail.

Vorstman was also terminated from the company.

Story and  photos:    http://www.clickorlando.com

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – On August 6, Osceola County Sheriff's deputies were patrolling in the area of West 192 in Kissimmee when they observed a red helicopter flying a few feet from the tops of cars traveling both eastbound and westbound.

The helicopter's proximity was so close to the cars, that if a passenger van or semi-truck were traveling the same direction, there would have been a collision with the aircraft. At one point, a motorist, who witnessed the incident, alerted the deputy to make sure he saw the helicopter, too.

Deputies responded Orlando HeliTours located at 5071 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, where the aircraft is registered, and spoke with the manager. They explained the incident they witnessed and asked to speak with the pilot, identified as Thomas Vorstman, upon his return. Deputies waited for Vorstman near the helicopter pad, but when he returned, he refused to exit the aircraft. Deputies made numerous attempts to get Vorstman to meet with them, but he would not turn off the aircraft and, for safety concerns, they were not able to approach him. Instead, Vorstman advised he could not exit and left in the helicopter with a group of passengers. Approximately 5 minutes later, Vorstman returned and, after finishing his safety checks and exiting the aircraft he met with deputies. He told them he “had a heavy load” and explained why he was flying low over traffic. They also spoke with the company owner who told deputies their pilots have procedures for handling matters like this which contradicted Vorstman's actions. Due to the safety concerns and Vorstman's reckless behavior, the company owner terminated Vorstman's employment immediately.

Based on the statements and evidence, Vorstman was arrested and charged with Operating an Aircraft in a Reckless Manner and Resisting Without Violence. He was booked into the Osceola County Jail. Deputies notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the incident.

Source:  http://www.firstcoastnews.com

Beech B90, Doorless Leasing LLC, N901WL: Incident occurred August 07, 2016 at Colorado Springs East Airport (CO49), Calhan, El Paso County, Colorado

DOORLESS LEASING LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N901WL

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03

Date: 07-AUG-16
Time: 21:00:00Z
Regis#: N901WL
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 90
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Skydiving
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: CALHAN
State: Colorado

AIRCRAFT, DURING PARACHUTE SKYDIVING OPERATION, ENGINE INGESTED BIRDS CAUGHT FIRE, ALL SKYDIVERS ON BOARD EXITED AND LANDED SAFELY, AIRCRAFT LANDED WITHOUT INCIDENT, COLORADO SPRINGS EAST AIRPORT, CALHAN, COLORADO.



ELLICOTT, Colo. -- An airplane carrying sky divers caught fire after taking off from Colorado Springs East Airport on Sunday. There were 11 sky divers on board, including two who were first-time jumpers. The airport is about 25 miles east of Colorado Springs near Ellicott.

A bird strike on one of the plane's propellers might have caused the fire, according to Out of the Blue Skydiving co-owner John Mahan. The plane was able to return to the airport and make a safe landing.

Mahan said he was one of the two tandem jumpers who were taking out the first-time jumpers. They were a father celebrating his 60th birthday and his son.

Mahan said the impact to the left propeller happened at about 2,600 feet. The engine caught fire and the pilot shut it down. The pilot then ordered an emergency evacuation, Mahan said.

The nine solo sky divers were out of the plane within 30 seconds. Mahan said the tandem jumpers made some extra checks on the rigging for the safety of the passengers, but they were still out within a minute of the pilot's order.

He was with the father and was the last out of the plane. Mahan said he was able to see the plane head back to the airport and saw it reach the runway but didn't see the actual landing because that was out of his view.

All 11 jumpers landed safely in an area outside of their normal landing zone, so it took them a while to figure out what road to go to for crews to find them and pick them up.

Mahan said they usually climb to an altitude of 12,000 feet before jumping, but the engine caught fire just three minutes into the flight.

The industry standard is to deploy the parachute no lower than 2,500 feet, so they were close to that when they jumped at 2,600 feet.

No injuries were reported.

Story and video:  http://kdvr.com

CALHAN, Colo. -  A skydiving plane had to make an emergency landing at the Colorado Springs East Airport on Sunday.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said at around 1:46 p.m. the pilot of the "Into the Blue Skydiving" aircraft was attempting to land at the airport after an engine had caught fire. 

Officials believe a bird may have gotten into the engine, causing the fire.

Fourteen people were on board, most being clients of the skydiving company. They were all able to parachute from the plane and were later picked up by company personnel. No one was injured.

Trent Reese was on the plane when the engine went out. He said everyone heard a pop, and turned to the pilot for direction on what to do next.

"The pilot took a few seconds to assess the situation and he said 'everybody out.' And we were at a safe altitude for all of us to get out. And we all landed safely," said Reese.

Owner John Mayhan said they were three minutes into the flight when they struck the bird.

"It's an unfortunate event. Everyone is safe. We are very happy everyone is accounted for. Now we have to figure out how to mitigate the damages and get back open. Hopefully by next weekend we will be able to get back up and get flying," said Mayhan.

Mayhand said once everyone landed, it took a little while to track down all the sky divers because they were scattered in the surrounding area. He was grateful for the pilot's maneuvers under pressure.

"He did an amazing job flying the plane, and he brought it back safely," said Mayhan.

Rusty Bobby Wardlow was also in the plane when the bird struck. He was able to use his parachute, but other jumpers had to use their reserve parachutes because they were jumping too close to the ground. The skydivers normally jump at 12,000 feet but exited the plane at 2,000 feet.

"We are all skydivers. We deal with high stress situations every day. It's part of our life. So for everyone to remain calm, it's pretty normal in that kind of situation," said Wardlow.

The company hopes to have the plane fixed and reopen for business next weekend.

Story and video:   http://www.krdo.com

Piper PA 22-108 Cadet, N5945Z: Incident occurred May 17, 2016 at St. Lucie County International Airport (KFPR), Fort Pierce, Florida





















AIRCRAFT:   1963 Piper PA 22-108 Cadet N5945Z, s/n 22-9816

The current Tach is 4899.4, and Hobbs is 5316.3. 

The last annual inspection was recorded on 12/03/2015 at 4890 Tach/4890 TTIS
                                                              
ENGINE:  Lycoming O-235-C1, s/n: 6530-15

EQUIPMENT:   Com Val 760 TSO, Narco AF50A TSO Transponder
           
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  Aircraft was flipped over by a storm gust while taxiing at St Lucie County Airport, Fort Pierce, FL on May 17, 2016

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:    Damage includes but may not be limited to the following:  
   
Left wing forward strut bent 4” forward causing wing to warp.  Fuselage to wing joint is out of shape and nav light broken

Left passenger window shattered.

The windshield is popped from frame and has a 4” crack.

Prop blades bent, prop spinner crushed

Top of rudder and vertical fin are crushed

Right wing forward strut is bent 5” forward causing wing to warp.

Right wing outer 18” is scraped and bent.

Right side of the upper engine cowl has cracks in the latches.

Engine cowls do not align properly

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:  Inside storage at Fort Pierce, Florida 

INQUIRIES/REMARKS:  Logs are not guaranteed to be complete.

Read more here:   http://www.avclaims.com/N5945Z.html

Cessna 182R Skylane, North Shore Aero Club, N6453H: Incident occurred August 07, 2016 at Long Island MacArthur Airport (KISP), Ronkonkoma, Suffolk County, New York

NORTH SHORE AERO CLUB INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N6453H

http://www.nsaeroclub.com




A small plane hit a sign while taxiing at Long Island MacArthur Airport on Sunday in preparation for takeoff, officials said.

Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose said the  Cessna 182R Skylane left the taxiway at 11:50 a.m. and that airport personnel saw the plane strike the sign.

“There are [routinely] a lot of people on the airfield watching [for planes] ... and fire rescue as well,” LaRose said. “He [the pilot] was getting ready to leave — he was taxiing out and left the taxiway and hit a sign.” She said the sign directed pilots to the ramp or runway area. “It’s a guidance sign,” she added.

“There was no transmission from the pilot involved,” LaRose said, because the aircraft did not become airborne at any time. “He didn’t radio in an emergency.”

She said the pilot was not based at the airport and was taken to the hospital, she said.

He was in stable condition and was taken by Community Ambulance Company of Sayville to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, according to an email statement sent by Jamie Atkinson, the ambulance’s vice president.

Tariq Fasheh, president of North Shore Aero Club, confirmed the tail number on the plane was one of three owned by the 60-member club. He said the other small planes include a Cessna 172 and a Piper Warrior, and that members of the nonprofit organization can reserve the planes and sign them out for noncommercial use.

Fasheh, who learned about the accident from a reporter, said, “Any of our members can take a plane and fly it if it’s available — I had that one (the Cessna 182) last week out in Wisconsin.”

The pilot was uninjured and it appears the airplane had only minor damage, Fasheh said in an email.

LaRose said she expected the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate and that perhaps the National Transportation Safety Board would also be involved in the probe.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen identified the Cessna as a Cessna 182 aircraft that she said “taxied to Runway 33 Left, then went onto the grass” and that airport emergency services responded.

Shortly afterward, two fire trucks and a police car were seen around a small plane on the runway immediately north of the main terminal. According to an FAA registry, the tail number on that plane showed it was registered to the North Shore Aero Club Inc. of Topsfield, Massachusetts, and it was described as a “fixed wing single-engine” plane.

The airport remained open.

At 1:09 p.m. the plane was hooked to a pickup truck and brought to a hangar at the west end of the airport.

Source:   http://www.newsday.com

PZL-Bielsko SZD-55-1, N551DR, owned and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred August 06, 2016 at Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59), Channahon, Illinois

James M. Patton with his eldest granddaughter, Molly.

James Patton, age 69, was fatally injured on August 6, 2016. US Air Force Veteran. Jim was a Mason with Masonic Lodge #270 and an avid aviation enthusiast. Patton's wife, Gwen Patton, said her husband has held a pilot's license for his Cessna plane for at least 25 years. He began flying the glider plane about 10 years ago. "He flew as often as he could," Gwen Patton said, adding he would go out on weekends to fly if the weather was nice. "I think (he liked) the freedom and the challenge of being up there and being free like that," she said of his interest in gliders. Patton's love for flying also included taking his 9-year-old granddaughter to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The two would sleep in a tent under the wing of the plane, family members said fondly, adding that 9-year-old Molly Ouradnik was considered Patton's co-pilot.
~


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Plaines, Illinois 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N551DR 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Channahon, IL
Accident Number: CEN16FA308
Date & Time: 08/06/2016, 1533 CDT
Registration: N551DR
Aircraft: PZL-BIELSKO SZD 55-1
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis

The single-seat glider, flown by a private pilot, was being towed into the air by a tow airplane. During the takeoff ground run, the glider's right wing dropped and contacted the ground after the wing-runner let go of the right wing. The wings leveled momentarily, and then the left wing contacted the ground while the glider was veering slightly to the left. The pilot again leveled the wings briefly before the glider pitched up about 30° to 40° and became airborne. The tow airplane was still on its takeoff ground run when the glider pitched-up. As the glider climbed in a 30° to 40° nose-up attitude, the tow airplane took off, and, shortly thereafter, the glider released from the towline. The glider's pitch attitude leveled out, and it briefly entered a right turn before it entered an aerodynamic stall/spin about 150 ft above the ground. The tow airplane subsequently landed uneventfully with the towline still attached to its tail clasp mechanism.

A postaccident examination of the glider's airframe revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The complete span of towline and tow ring remained attached to the tow airplane and appeared undamaged, consistent with the glider pilot having intentionally released the towline. There was no evidence of a medical condition or substance use that contributed to the accident. The pilot likely was distracted by the wings contacting the ground during the takeoff run and allowed the glider to pitch-up into a rapid climb. After the pilot released the glider from the towline, he likely did not recognize that the glider was approaching stall speed and allowed the glider to exceed its critical angle of attack, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall at a low altitude.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The glider pilot's failure to maintain adequate pitch control while being towed and his subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed control after releasing from the towline, which resulted in the glider exceeding its critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall/spin at a low altitude. 

Findings

Aircraft
Pitch control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Airspeed - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Angle of attack - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Incorrect action performance - Pilot (Cause)


Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 6, 2016, about 1533 central daylight time, an experimental PZL Bielsko SZD 55-1 glider, N551DR, collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59), Channahon, Illinois. The pilot was fatally injured, and the glider was substantially damaged. The glider was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The local flight was departing at the time of the accident.

The pilot of the tow airplane reported that he initiated the takeoff from runway 27, a 2,000-ft-long grass runway, and that the takeoff ground run was normal. The tow airplane lifted-off about halfway down the runway and began climbing. He stated that, when the tow airplane was about 20 ft above ground level (agl), he began to feel a "heavy increasing drag from the glider and shortly thereafter, felt the glider release from the tow." The tow airplane subsequently landed uneventfully with the towline still attached to its tail clasp mechanism.

Three witnesses reported that, during the takeoff roll, the glider's right wing dropped and contacted the ground after the wing-runner let go of the right wing. The wings leveled momentarily, and then the left wing contacted the ground while the glider was veering slightly to the left. The witnesses stated that the glider pilot then leveled the wings briefly before the glider pitched-up about 30° to 40°. The tow airplane was still on its takeoff ground run when the glider pitched-up. The glider continued to climb in a 30°- to 40°-pitch attitude until the towline released from the glider, which was then on a southwest heading. The glider's pitch attitude subsequently leveled out, and it appeared that the glider briefly began a right turn before it entered an aerodynamic stall/spin to the left. The witnesses stated that the glider had reached 100 to 200 ft agl when it entered the aerodynamic stall/spin.

Data downloaded from an LX 7007 Pro Image flight recorder that was recovered from the glider indicated that, at 1533:03, the glider achieved its highest recorded altitude of 152 ft agl at a ground speed of 45.5 mph and a climb rate of 1,650 feet per minute (fpm). About 7 seconds later, the glider impacted the terrain while descending at 870 fpm. For further details about the data recorded by the LX7007 during the accident flight, see the Tests and Research section later in this report.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 69-year-old glider pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land airplanes, single-engine sea airplanes, and gliders. He also held an airplane instrument rating. His most recent second-class airman medical certificate was issued on November 3, 2015, with the restriction to have glasses available for near vision. During his medical examination, the pilot reported a total flight time of 1,810 hours. The pilot had an estimated 112 hours of flight time in gliders.

The pilot purchased the glider in April 2016. The pilot's logbook indicated that he flew the glider 5.7 hours between May 3, 2016, and May 18, 2016. There were no additional flights logged in the accident glider between May 18, 2016, and the day of the accident; however, the logbook indicated that the pilot flew other gliders for 2.1 hours between July 7, 2016, and July 11, 2016. According to the on-board LX 7007 Pro Image flight recorder, the pilot flew the accident glider for 50 minutes earlier on the day of the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-seat glider, serial number 551192039, was manufactured in 1992. The glider's maximum gross weight was 1,102 pounds. The last condition inspection was conducted on April 1, 2016, when the glider had a total time of 930 hours. The glider's flight logbook indicated that the glider had a total time of 937.1 hours when the previous owner sold it to the accident pilot in April 2016.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATON

At 1535, about 2 minutes after the accident, the surface weather observation at the Joliet Regional Airport, Joliet, Illinois, located about 6 miles northeast of the accident site, reported the surface wind 330° at 6 knots, a clear sky, 10 miles surface visibility, temperature 29°C, dew point 16°C, and altimeter 29.97 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The glider impacted a field with tall grass about 200 ft south and 1,600 ft from the approach end of runway 27. The impact damage was consistent with the glider impacting in a left-wing-low, steep nose-down attitude. The entire aircraft was located at the point of impact. The entire span of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage, and the outboard section of the wing exhibited crushing and impact damage along the leading edge. The nose and cockpit remained attached to the fuselage; however, they were crushed, broken, and displaced to the right. The pilot's seatback was displaced during the impact. It was not possible to determine where the seatback was positioned before impact. The pilot's parachute was in the cockpit and had not been deployed.

The outboard section of the right wing was separated at the aileron bellcrank and was lying forward of the inboard section of the wing in the direction of travel. The tail was broken aft of the fuselage, and the tail boom and empennage were displaced to the right of the fuselage. The empennage remained intact and exhibited no damage. The wing and horizontal stabilizer attach points were attached properly and were secure.

The flight controls, including the spoilers, were checked for continuity from the flight controls to their respective surfaces. Flight control cables and control tubes were traced, and all breaks were consistent with overstress separations. No preimpact flight control continuity anomalies were detected. The ballast tanks did not contain any water. The towline release mechanism was found in the spring-loaded closed position. The release lever was operated by hand, and it moved to the tow release position. The complete span of towline and the tow ring remained attached to the tow airplane and appeared undamaged.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Will County Coroner's Office, Crest Hill, Illinois, conducted an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was multiple injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. No carbon monoxide was detected in the blood. The test for cyanide was not performed. No ethanol was detected in the vitreous. Quinine was detected in the blood and urine. Rosuvastatin was detected in the urine but not in the blood.

Rosuvastatin is a medication used to treat high cholesterol. Quinine is used to treat malaria and is found in tonic water. Neither of these drugs is impairing.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The SZD-55-1 Flight Manual in Section 4.9.1, "Stalling and characteristic airspeed IAS," indicated that the stall speed for a light pilot without water ballast is 39.1 mph in straight flight and 46.5 mph when circling with a 45° bank angle.

The LX 7007 Pro Image flight recorder captured data at a rate of once every 4 seconds while in flight. The flight track data provided the following information about the glider's performance: 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The glider flight instructor who provided flight training to the pilot in 2002 when the pilot was new to flying gliders aided the NTSB during the on-site investigation. He knew the pilot personally and was familiar with the pilot's glider experience. He reported that the pilot was about 6 ft 1 inches tall and had a sleeve length of about 41 inches. He stated that the pilot likely had the seatback set at an aft location due to his height and the fact that he was wearing a parachute during the flight. He stated that, if the seatback had accidently fallen rearward, the back would have traveled only about 2 inches aft; this would not have restricted the pilot's full access to the cockpit flight controls. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 69, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/03/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1810 hours (Total, all aircraft), 112 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PZL-BIELSKO
Registration: N551DR
Model/Series: SZD 55-1
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 551192039
Landing Gear Type: Hull
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/01/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1102 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:
Airframe Total Time:  926.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: JOT, 582 ft msl
Observation Time: 1535 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:  6 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 32°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 16°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 330°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Channahon, IL (IL59)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Channahon, IL (IL59)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1532 CDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 590 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2000 ft / 250 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 41.430833, -88.249444

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA308
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 06, 2016 in Channahon, IL
Aircraft: PZL-BIELSKO SZD 55-1, registration: N551DR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 6, 2016, about 1533 central daylight time, an experimental PZL Bielsko SZD 55-1, a single-seat glider, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain during takeoff from the Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59), Channahon, Illinois. The pilot was fatally injured. The glider was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The glider departed from IL59 about 1532 on a local flight. 

The pilot of the tow airplane reported that he initiated the takeoff from runway 27 (2,000 ft by 250 ft, grass/turf) and that the takeoff was normal. The tow airplane lifted off about halfway down the runway and began climbing. He stated that when the tow airplane was about 20 ft above ground level (agl), he began to feel a "heavy increasing drag from the glider and shortly thereafter, felt the glider release from the tow." 

Witnesses reported that during the takeoff roll, the glider's right wing dropped and hit the ground after the "wing runner" let go of the right wing. The wings leveled momentarily and then the left wing hit the ground while the glider was veering slightly to the left. The witnesses stated that the pilot leveled the wings briefly before the glider pitched up approximately 30 to 40 degrees. The tow airplane was still on its takeoff roll as the glider pitched up. The glider continued to climb at a 30 to 40-degree pitch attitude until the tow rope was released from the glider, which was on a southwest heading. The glider's pitch attitude leveled out, and it appeared that the glider started a right turn, but then the glider entered a stall/spin to the left. The witnesses stated that the glider had reached 100 to 200 ft agl when it entered the stall/spin.

The glider impacted a field with tall grass in a left wing low, steep nose-down attitude about 200 ft south and 1,600 ft from the approach end of runway 27. The entire aircraft was located at the point of impact. The entire span of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage and it exhibited crushing and impact damage along the leading edge of the outboard section of the wing. The nose and cockpit remained attached to the fuselage; however, it was crushed and broken, and displaced to the right. The outboard section of the right wing was separated from the rest of the wing at the aileron bellcrank and was lying forward of the right wing in the direction of travel. The tail was broken aft of the fuselage and the tail boom and empennage were displaced to the right of the fuselage. The empennage remained intact and exhibited no damage. The wing and horizontal stabilizer attach points were attached properly and were secure. The flight controls, including the spoilers, were checked for continuity from the flight controls to their respective surfaces. Flight control cables and control tubes were traced and all breaks were consistent with overload. No preimpact flight control continuity anomalies were detected. There was no water found in the ballast tanks. The chin tow cable release was found in the spring-loaded closed position. The chin release lever was operated by hand and it moved to the tow release position.
James M. Patton in this undated photo with his eldest granddaughter, Molly.

James Patton, age 69, was fatally injured on August 6, 2016. Longtime resident of Tinley Park, Illinois. US Air Force Veteran. Former owner of Patton's Tire and Auto Service for 44 years and was a 25 year veteran of the Tinley Park Fire Department. Jim was a Mason with Masonic Lodge #270 and an avid aviation enthusiast. 


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Plaines, Illinois 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N551DR 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Channahon, IL
Accident Number: CEN16FA308
Date & Time: 08/06/2016, 1533 CDT
Registration: N551DR
Aircraft: PZL-BIELSKO SZD 55-1
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 6, 2016, about 1533 central daylight time, an experimental PZL Bielsko SZD 55-1 glider, N551DR, collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59), Channahon, Illinois. The pilot was fatally injured, and the glider was substantially damaged. The glider was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The local flight was departing at the time of the accident.

The pilot of the tow airplane reported that he initiated the takeoff from runway 27, a 2,000-ft-long grass runway, and that the takeoff ground run was normal. The tow airplane lifted-off about halfway down the runway and began climbing. He stated that, when the tow airplane was about 20 ft above ground level (agl), he began to feel a "heavy increasing drag from the glider and shortly thereafter, felt the glider release from the tow." The tow airplane subsequently landed uneventfully with the towline still attached to its tail clasp mechanism.

Three witnesses reported that, during the takeoff roll, the glider's right wing dropped and contacted the ground after the wing-runner let go of the right wing. The wings leveled momentarily, and then the left wing contacted the ground while the glider was veering slightly to the left. The witnesses stated that the glider pilot then leveled the wings briefly before the glider pitched-up about 30° to 40°. The tow airplane was still on its takeoff ground run when the glider pitched-up. The glider continued to climb in a 30°- to 40°-pitch attitude until the towline released from the glider, which was then on a southwest heading. The glider's pitch attitude subsequently leveled out, and it appeared that the glider briefly began a right turn before it entered an aerodynamic stall/spin to the left. The witnesses stated that the glider had reached 100 to 200 ft agl when it entered the aerodynamic stall/spin.

Data downloaded from an LX 7007 Pro Image flight recorder that was recovered from the glider indicated that, at 1533:03, the glider achieved its highest recorded altitude of 152 ft agl at a ground speed of 45.5 mph and a climb rate of 1,650 feet per minute (fpm). About 7 seconds later, the glider impacted the terrain while descending at 870 fpm. For further details about the data recorded by the LX7007 during the accident flight, see the Tests and Research section later in this report.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 69-year-old glider pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land airplanes, single-engine sea airplanes, and gliders. He also held an airplane instrument rating. His most recent second-class airman medical certificate was issued on November 3, 2015, with the restriction to have glasses available for near vision. During his medical examination, the pilot reported a total flight time of 1,810 hours. The pilot had an estimated 112 hours of flight time in gliders.

The pilot purchased the glider in April 2016. The pilot's logbook indicated that he flew the glider 5.7 hours between May 3, 2016, and May 18, 2016. There were no additional flights logged in the accident glider between May 18, 2016, and the day of the accident; however, the logbook indicated that the pilot flew other gliders for 2.1 hours between July 7, 2016, and July 11, 2016. According to the on-board LX 7007 Pro Image flight recorder, the pilot flew the accident glider for 50 minutes earlier on the day of the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-seat glider, serial number 551192039, was manufactured in 1992. The glider's maximum gross weight was 1,102 pounds. The last condition inspection was conducted on April 1, 2016, when the glider had a total time of 930 hours. The glider's flight logbook indicated that the glider had a total time of 937.1 hours when the previous owner sold it to the accident pilot in April 2016.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATON

At 1535, about 2 minutes after the accident, the surface weather observation at the Joliet Regional Airport, Joliet, Illinois, located about 6 miles northeast of the accident site, reported the surface wind 330° at 6 knots, a clear sky, 10 miles surface visibility, temperature 29°C, dew point 16°C, and altimeter 29.97 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The glider impacted a field with tall grass about 200 ft south and 1,600 ft from the approach end of runway 27. The impact damage was consistent with the glider impacting in a left-wing-low, steep nose-down attitude. The entire aircraft was located at the point of impact. The entire span of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage, and the outboard section of the wing exhibited crushing and impact damage along the leading edge. The nose and cockpit remained attached to the fuselage; however, they were crushed, broken, and displaced to the right. The pilot's seatback was displaced during the impact. It was not possible to determine where the seatback was positioned before impact. The pilot's parachute was in the cockpit and had not been deployed.

The outboard section of the right wing was separated at the aileron bellcrank and was lying forward of the inboard section of the wing in the direction of travel. The tail was broken aft of the fuselage, and the tail boom and empennage were displaced to the right of the fuselage. The empennage remained intact and exhibited no damage. The wing and horizontal stabilizer attach points were attached properly and were secure.

The flight controls, including the spoilers, were checked for continuity from the flight controls to their respective surfaces. Flight control cables and control tubes were traced, and all breaks were consistent with overstress separations. No preimpact flight control continuity anomalies were detected. The ballast tanks did not contain any water. The towline release mechanism was found in the spring-loaded closed position. The release lever was operated by hand, and it moved to the tow release position. The complete span of towline and the tow ring remained attached to the tow airplane and appeared undamaged.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Will County Coroner's Office, Crest Hill, Illinois, conducted an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was multiple injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. No carbon monoxide was detected in the blood. The test for cyanide was not performed. No ethanol was detected in the vitreous. Quinine was detected in the blood and urine. Rosuvastatin was detected in the urine but not in the blood.

Rosuvastatin is a medication used to treat high cholesterol. Quinine is used to treat malaria and is found in tonic water. Neither of these drugs is impairing.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The SZD-55-1 Flight Manual in Section 4.9.1, "Stalling and characteristic airspeed IAS," indicated that the stall speed for a light pilot without water ballast is 39.1 mph in straight flight and 46.5 mph when circling with a 45° bank angle.

The LX 7007 Pro Image flight recorder captured data at a rate of once every 4 seconds while in flight. The flight track data provided the following information about the glider's performance: 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The glider flight instructor who provided flight training to the pilot in 2002 when the pilot was new to flying gliders aided the NTSB during the on-site investigation. He knew the pilot personally and was familiar with the pilot's glider experience. He reported that the pilot was about 6 ft 1 inches tall and had a sleeve length of about 41 inches. He stated that the pilot likely had the seatback set at an aft location due to his height and the fact that he was wearing a parachute during the flight. He stated that, if the seatback had accidently fallen rearward, the back would have traveled only about 2 inches aft; this would not have restricted the pilot's full access to the cockpit flight controls. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 69, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/03/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1810 hours (Total, all aircraft), 112 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PZL-BIELSKO
Registration: N551DR
Model/Series: SZD 55-1
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 551192039
Landing Gear Type: Hull
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/01/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1102 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:
Airframe Total Time:  926.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: JOT, 582 ft msl
Observation Time: 1535 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:  6 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 32°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 16°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 330°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Channahon, IL (IL59)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Channahon, IL (IL59)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1532 CDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 590 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2000 ft / 250 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 41.430833, -88.249444

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA308
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 06, 2016 in Channahon, IL
Aircraft: PZL-BIELSKO SZD 55-1, registration: N551DR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 6, 2016, about 1533 central daylight time, an experimental PZL Bielsko SZD 55-1, a single-seat glider, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain during takeoff from the Chicago Glider Club Gliderport (IL59), Channahon, Illinois. The pilot was fatally injured. The glider was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The glider departed from IL59 about 1532 on a local flight. 

The pilot of the tow airplane reported that he initiated the takeoff from runway 27 (2,000 ft by 250 ft, grass/turf) and that the takeoff was normal. The tow airplane lifted off about halfway down the runway and began climbing. He stated that when the tow airplane was about 20 ft above ground level (agl), he began to feel a "heavy increasing drag from the glider and shortly thereafter, felt the glider release from the tow." 

Witnesses reported that during the takeoff roll, the glider's right wing dropped and hit the ground after the "wing runner" let go of the right wing. The wings leveled momentarily and then the left wing hit the ground while the glider was veering slightly to the left. The witnesses stated that the pilot leveled the wings briefly before the glider pitched up approximately 30 to 40 degrees. The tow airplane was still on its takeoff roll as the glider pitched up. The glider continued to climb at a 30 to 40-degree pitch attitude until the tow rope was released from the glider, which was on a southwest heading. The glider's pitch attitude leveled out, and it appeared that the glider started a right turn, but then the glider entered a stall/spin to the left. The witnesses stated that the glider had reached 100 to 200 ft agl when it entered the stall/spin.

The glider impacted a field with tall grass in a left wing low, steep nose-down attitude about 200 ft south and 1,600 ft from the approach end of runway 27. The entire aircraft was located at the point of impact. The entire span of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage and it exhibited crushing and impact damage along the leading edge of the outboard section of the wing. The nose and cockpit remained attached to the fuselage; however, it was crushed and broken, and displaced to the right. The outboard section of the right wing was separated from the rest of the wing at the aileron bellcrank and was lying forward of the right wing in the direction of travel. The tail was broken aft of the fuselage and the tail boom and empennage were displaced to the right of the fuselage. The empennage remained intact and exhibited no damage. The wing and horizontal stabilizer attach points were attached properly and were secure. The flight controls, including the spoilers, were checked for continuity from the flight controls to their respective surfaces. Flight control cables and control tubes were traced and all breaks were consistent with overload. No preimpact flight control continuity anomalies were detected. There was no water found in the ballast tanks. The chin tow cable release was found in the spring-loaded closed position. The chin release lever was operated by hand and it moved to the tow release position. 

The surface weather observation at the Joliet Regional Airport (JOT), Joliet, Illinois, located 6 miles northeast of the accident site, was wind 330 degrees at 6 kts, 10 miles visibility, sky clear, temperature 29 degrees C, dew point 16 degrees C, altimeter 29.97 inches of mercury.



A 69-year-old Tinley Park man died after the glider plane he was piloting crashed into a field in Minooka over the weekend, authorities said.

James M. Patton, a former firefighter and assistant fire chief in Tinley Park, was at the Chicago Glider Club in Minooka when his plane crashed into a field Saturday, according to Will County Sheriff Deputy Chief Tom Budde. No one else was injured in the crash.

Witnesses at the club, located at 26291 W. Airport Road in Minooka, told investigators they saw one of the wings of Patton's plane dip after the glider detached from the tow plane. The glider then stalled and "nose dived" into the field shortly after, Budde said.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the crash, Budde said.

Patton's wife, Gwen Patton, said her husband has held a pilot's license for his Cessna plane for at least 25 years. He began flying the glider plane about 10 years ago.

"He flew as often as he could," Gwen Patton said, adding he would go out on weekends to fly if the weather was nice.

"I think (he liked) the freedom and the challenge of being up there and being free like that," she said of his interest in gliders.

Patton's love for flying also included taking his 9-year-old granddaughter to the air show in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin. The two would sleep in a tent under the wing of the plane, family members said fondly, adding that 9-year-old Molly Ouradnik was considered Patton's co-pilot.

Patton was a 25-year veteran of the Tinley Park Fire Department. He retired about 15 years ago and served as assistant fire chief before his retirement.

He started out as a firefighter for the Tinley Park Fire Department in 1967 and rose through the ranks to eventually be named assistant fire chief in 1976. He held that post until he retired in 1992.

He was involved in setting up MABAS — the mutual aid and box alarm system, a network that provides assistance to other departments during a major crisis situation. He also played a key role in helping computerize the fire department, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Klotz said.

"He set a real good foundation for us," Klotz said.

Though Klotz never served with Patton, Klotz said he got to know him through other events.

"He was always there to help with what he could help with," Klotz said.

Patton also owned Pattons Tire & Auto Service at the corner of 167th and Oak Park Avenue for more than 40 years. He eventually sold the property and retired from the business in 2005.

Son-in-law John Ouradnik said Patton started the business in his 20s and built it up through "hard work, blood, sweat and tears."

"That is how I learned a good work ethic," Ouradnik said.

Family members said Patton also was active in various community organizations and found ways to give back to those in need.

"He was a great man, a great friend and he was always helping people," his wife said. "He was just a good man."

Patton is survived by Gwen, his wife of 48 years; two daughters, Lisa (John) Ouradnik and Chris and two granddaughters, Molly and Carter.

Visitation will be on Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Brady-Gill Funeral Home, 16600 Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park. Funeral services will be Friday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home.


Source:   http://www.chicagotribune.com

MINOOKA – A Tinley Park man died Saturday in Minooka when the glider he was piloting crashed into a field.

The incident occurred about 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Chicago Glider Club, located on West Airport Road, according to Will County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Tom Budde.

James M. Patton, 69, was pronounced dead at 5:30 p.m. at the scene, according to the Will County Coroner's Office.

The Sheriff's Office, National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said the crash occurred shortly after the glider detached from its tow plane. 

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford stated via email that preliminary information indicates the glider detached not long after takeoff.

Knudson said an NTSB investigator would be on scene Sunday. 

A preliminary incident report is expected in one to two weeks and it will take six to 12 months to complete the investigation, he said. Patton's final cause and manner of death is pending autopsy, toxicological and police reports, according to the Coroner's Office. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.