Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Schweizer SGS 2-32, operated by Stowe Soaring, N17970: Fatal accident occurred August 29, 2018 in Morrisville, Lamoille County, Vermont

Suzanne and Frank Moroz, 56 and 58 respectively, of Hamden, Connecticut. The husband and wife, married in 1994, were the passengers in a glider that crashed into Sterling Mountain on August 29th, 2018.

Don Post, 70, of Stowe died in a glider accident on August 29th, 2018.

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Morrisville, VT
Accident Number: ERA18FA238
Date & Time: 08/29/2018, 1200 EDT
Registration: N17970
Aircraft: Schweizer SGS 2 32
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation - Sightseeing 

On August 29, 2018, about 1200 eastern daylight time, a Schweizer SGS 2-32 glider, N17970, operated by Stowe Soaring, was substantially damaged during collision with trees and terrain while maneuvering over Sterling Mountain, Morristown, Vermont. The commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the aerial sightseeing flight which departed Morrisville-Stowe State Airport (MVL) about 1140 and was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the tow pilot, the purpose of the flight was to provide a 30-minute sightseeing tour to two passengers in the 3-place glider. After takeoff, he climbed his airplane to 4,500 feet, where he released the glider from the tow. The glider turned westbound toward Spruce Creek and Sterling Pond, Morristown, Vermont. The tow pilot returned to MVL, and he did not visually monitor the flight of the glider.

A witness who was hiking near Sterling Pond observed the tow plane and glider above the pond. He photographed both airplanes while the glider was on tow, and the glider after its release. The witness provided an interview to local police along with copies of his photographs. According to the summary, the witness watched as the tow plane made a "slingshot" turn and released the glider from the tow. He watched the glider fly away and "disappear" into the clouds.

The tow pilot stated that when the glider had not returned after 45 minutes, an attempt was made to reach the pilot by radio, without success. After numerous attempts over multiple radios and by cellular telephone, MVL personnel notified the local 911 operator of the missing glider, and an ALNOT was subsequently issued. The tow pilot and another local pilot began an aerial search, and at 1756, the glider was identified from the air near the summit of Sterling Mountain. At 2135, search and rescue crews reached the accident site about 40 feet below the summit, at 3,673 feet elevation. The accident site was 7 miles from MVL, on a 297-degree ground track.

The pilot/owner/operator held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for gliders. He held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, single engine sea, and instrument airplane. His Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 3rd class medical certificate was issued June 30, 2018. A review of the pilot's logbooks revealed he had accrued 3,103 total hours of flight experience, 1,214 hours of which were in gliders. He had accrued 406 hours of flight experience in the accident glider make and model.

According to FAA records, the glider was manufactured in 1973. Airframe logbooks revealed its most recent annual inspection was completed July 3, 2018 at 3,589 total aircraft hours. Records of the glider's most recent weight and balance were not immediately discovered.

At 1154, the weather recorded at MVL included clear skies, 10 miles visibility, and winds from 190 at 9 knots. The temperature was 29°C, and the dew point was 22°C. The altimeter setting was 29.90 inches of mercury.

When asked about weather conditions at the time of departure, during the climb, and before and after the glider release, the tow pilot said, "the air was really smooth" but that he had to "weave around the clouds." There was "plenty of room" between the clouds. According to the tow pilot, "Some of the mountaintops were partially obscured."

The wreckage was examined at the site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The glider came to rest in a near-vertical, nose-down attitude. The nose and leading edge of the left wing rested on the ground. The left wing was torn about 9 feet inboard of the tip but remained attached by sheet metal and control tubes. The right wing was attached and bowed slightly between the aileron attach points.

The empennage was wrinkled on the left side just aft of the wing, and the tail section, vertical fin, rudder, horizontal stabilizer, and elevator were intact.

The nose enclosure, rudder controls, instrument panel, and front cockpit were destroyed by impact. The passenger compartment appeared largely intact. The front seat belt was released by rescue personnel. The rear seatbelt was secured at the buckle, but the right-side seat belt mount bracket was fractured. The bracket section attached at the belt was not recovered. The fracture surfaces on the bracket section attached to the airframe exhibited fracture features consistent with overstress.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schweizer
Registration: N17970
Model/Series: SGS 2 32 No Series
Aircraft Category: Glider
Amateur Built: No
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: KMVL, 732 ft msl
Observation Time: 1554 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 190°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.9 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Morrisville, VT (MVL)
Destination: Morrisville, VT (MVL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  44.592778, -72.745833 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should

Don Post

The family of Don “Postie” Post is profoundly sad to share the news that our husband, father and grandfather died in a glider accident on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018.

The loss of this vibrant man is a blow to our family, his huge circle of friends, and the community of Stowe where he lived for close to 50 years. His impact on the town and community will be felt for generations to come. Everybody knew and loved Postie.

Born to Marguerite and Robert Post on Feb. 10, 1948, Postie grew up in Madison, N.J., with his sister, Dot. He went on to excel in engineering at Clarkson University, graduating in 1970.

Postie moved to Stowe following graduation, where he joined the ranks of elite skiers, rock climbers and hang gliders. These activities gave him firsthand knowledge of every square inch of the Green Mountains and Worcester Range — knowledge he would employ years later as an observer for the Vermont Audubon Society and Vermont Center for Ecostudies to ensure the well-being of peregrine falcons and Bicknell thrush.

He brought his boundless energy to a wide array of business and community activities. After several years of competing on the freestyle skiing circuit, Postie ran the Mansfield Touring Center and is credited with reinvigorating the Stowe Derby. He was a hands-on entrepreneur who founded Black Magic Chimney Sweeps and Stowe Sky School (for hang-gliding instruction) with longtime friend and business partner Chris Curtis. These pursuits were followed by several business ventures in the fields of energy management and conservation.

His glider instruction and riding business, Stowe Soaring, continued his passion for flying and introduced thousands of customers to the joy of pure flight. The experience was best described by a friend who wrote, “The beautiful void encompassed the glider and there was nothing but soaring and silence, and it was magnificent.”

In recent years, Postie served as a consultant for the Freeman Foundation in preserving and enhancing public libraries in Vermont. He took pride in personally visiting each and every one of those libraries.

Postie dedicated himself to the Stowe community. He served from 1991 to 2014 as the longest-standing member of the Stowe School Board. Through constant transition in Vermont’s educational climate, Postie remained a steady force and tireless advocate for quality education for Stowe students.

Complementing his school board work was his service for the Stowe Education Fund and the Starr Foundation Scholarship Fund. Few things made him happier than hearing of the accomplishments of children who went through the Stowe school system.

In addition to education, he was committed to youth athletics. Stowe’s perennially successful soccer and hockey teams have Postie to thank for co-founding Stowe Youth Soccer with neighbor Alan Thorndike, and championing the new town hockey rink and sports arena.

Postie was a man for all seasons. He loved windsurfing, kite boarding, scuba diving, hockey and excelled in all forms of skiing and cycling. Obsessed with road biking, Postie set out at age 53 to ride from Seattle to Cape Cod, a journey he accomplished in 30 days.

His passion for exercise was matched only by his love of food, especially Ben and Jerry’s, “the best ice cream in the world.” Coffee, however, could not be offered without his infamous reply, “It’s unbelievable how something that smells so good can taste SO bad.”

He will always be remembered as the first person on the dance floor, especially when “Start Me Up” came on. As an avid Rolling Stones fan, he frequently attended their concerts, the most recent being this past June in Edinburgh.

Neighbors and friends will miss Postie dearly. He was always there with a helping hand when a truck got hung up on a rock, a tree was down, or a meadow needed brush-hogging. His wealth of knowledge meant that if you were willing to endure a lengthy discourse, any question could be answered.

Overarching all of his activities and accomplishments was his love for his family. He was taken far too soon from his beloved wife Linda and children Tyler, Alexi and Graham. He was known as “Po” to his grandchildren Greyson, Isla and newly arrived Evie, all of whom he adored. He loved his sister Dot Gordon, niece Casey, nephew Cole, daughter-in-law Stacie Post, and son-in-law Ryan Perryman.

A celebration of Postie’s life will be held Thursday, Sept. 6, at 2 p.m. at Stowe Community Church. In lieu of flowers, the family will appreciate donations to Stowe Mountain Rescue, P.O. Box 291, Stowe, VT 05672.

Obituary of Frank and Suzanne Moroz

HAMDEN – Francis “Frank” “Gus” Moroz III, 58, and Suzanne J. Moroz, 56, passed away Wednesday, August 29, 2018, at Sterling Mountain in Vermont.

Frank was born June 21, 1960 in New Haven, the son of the late Francis and Marilyn (MacAurthur) Moroz Jr. and Suzanne was born September 28, 1961 in Paterson, NJ, the daughter of the late John R. Loder and Jane (Wasmer) C. Loder of Cheshire.  They married in 1994 and made their home in Hamden.  Frank was employed as a mechanic for Sikorsky Aircraft and Suzanne was employed as an Independent Broker providing Health Insurance.  Frank enjoyed biking and airplanes, while Suzanne enjoyed working outdoors in her garden and spending time with friends and family. The couple had a love for animals especially their cats and dogs. 

In addition to her mother, Frank and Suzanne are survived by Suzanne’s sisters Janine L. Koukos and her husband John of Cheshire and Cheryl A. Miller and her husband Ray of Bradenton, FL; Frank’s brother Scott S. Moroz and his wife Tricia of Hamden; their nieces and nephews, Theodore and Alexandria Koukos, Sarah and Alison Miller and Zachary Moroz; as well as their pets Noel, Dante, Rocky and Bella.  In addition to Frank’s parents and Suzanne’s father, they are predeceased by their nephew Ryan C. Miller. 

Arrangements – Visitation will be held on Friday, September 7th, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Cheshire, 615 S. Main St. with a service at 7 p.m.  Burial will be private and held at the convenience of the family in St. Peter’s Cemetery.  Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Connecticut Humane Society, 701 Russell Rd., Newington, CT 06111.

Three persons died Wednesday afternoon in a Stowe Soaring glider crash on Sterling Mountain in Vermont's Green Mountains.

The glider, an aircraft without an engine that's towed aloft by an airplane, was reported missing shortly before 2 p.m. by Morrisville-Stowe State Airport personnel when it became clear it hadn't returned from its flight.

After 3 1/2 hours of searching, an aerial crew spotted the downed glider late in the afternoon about 1,000 feet below the Sterling Mountain summit, not far from the Long Trail.

Search and rescue crews made their way up the Morrisvlle side of the mountain into the densely wooded remote area.

At about 9:35 p.m., they came upon the wreckage and found all three occupants of the glider dead, Vermont State Police Lt. Shawn Loan said in a 10:30 p.m. news conference at the search's command post at the airport located just south of Morrisville.

"It was pretty rough terrain, and it took several hours to get out there," Loan said.

The identities of the three persons -- a pilot and two passengers -- were not released Wednesday night pending notification of next of kin.

Family members were present at the airport command center. They asked news reporters to leave them alone as they left following the discovery of the bodies and before the deaths were announced.

Stowe Soaring has long offered glider rides from Morrisville-Stowe State Airport. A sign standing not far from the search command center Wednesday night read "Glider Rides Today!"

What's next after glider crash

* Thursday morning, rescue crews will bring the bodies down from the remote site, which is about one mile from and 1,500 feet in elevation above the nearest trailhead, state police said.

* This effort is expected to take several hours.

* Later, the bodies will be taken to the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Burlington, where autopsies will be performed.

* Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will come to Vermont to investigate the cause of the glider crash.

Chronology of the glider accident

* 11:30 a.m.: The glider heads into the skies, towed by a plane that takes off from Morrisville-Stowe State Airport. A pilot and two passengers are on board the glider.

* 11:50 a.m.: The tow plane disconnects from the glider.

* 1:56 p.m.: Morrisville-Stowe State Airport personnel call 911 and report the Stowe Soaring glider missing. Quickly, Vermont State Police and other local authorities set up a search command center inside the Stowe Aviation building at the airport.

* 5:35 p.m: Following a 3 1/2 hour search, an airborne crew spots the glider about 1,000 feet from the top of Sterling Mountain. Rescue crews set out to the site in the densely wooded mountainous area.

* 9:35 p.m.: Search and rescue crews reach the downed glider and find all three persons aboard dead. Representatives of Vermont State Police, Stowe Mountain Rescue, Morrisville Police, Stowe Police, local fire departments and the Vermont Agency of Transportation all contribute to the search effort.

* 10:30 p.m.: State police announce the three bodies have been found.

Stowe Soaring accident occurred in 1994

National Transportation Safety Board records available online show one previous accident involving a Stowe Soaring glider.

That occurred June 3, 1994, when a pilot released his glider too soon from the tow plane.

"The glider pilot thought he could make Mt. Elmore so he released from the tow plane," an NTSB investigator wrote in the accident report. "He was unable to make it to Mt. Elmore, and the glider started to sink."

The pilot sought to land in a field. The glider struck tree tops and spun to the ground, with the pilot escaping injury.

The NTSB investigation determined the probable cause to be the premature release from the tow plane, a lack of lift and a downdraft.

Story and video ➤

Vermont State Police Lt. Shawn Loan speaks outside the Morrisville-Stowe State Airport about a glider crash that left three people dead. 

MORRISVILLE – Vermont State Police say a pilot and two passengers died Wednesday after a glider they were in went down in a heavily wooded area near the summit of Sterling Mountain outside Stowe.

Police said late Wednesday night they were not releasing the names of those who died pending notification of next of kin.

Crews are expected to begin work Thursday morning to recover the bodies and take them down from the remote crash site, which is about a mile from the nearest trailhead and 1,500 feet higher in elevation, police said.

Once the bodies are recovered, according to police, they will be taken to the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for autopsies.

The glider, belonging to the company Stowe Soaring, had left the Morrisville-Stowe State Airport late Wednesday morning, police said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation and police said it’s too early to say what factors may have played in role.

“Unfortunately, sad news tonight,” State Police Lt. Shawn Loan said at a press briefing shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday outside the airport in Morrisville.

“At about 9:35, search and rescue located a glider that had gone missing on Sterling Mountain,” he added. “The search and rescue crews located the glider and there were three deceased people.”

According to police, a tow plane with the glider attached left the airport at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Police said the glider detached from the tow plane over Spruce Peak about 20 minutes later.

At 1:56 p.m., the Morrisville Police Department received a report that the glider was missing, according to police.

Emergency crews from Morrisville and Stowe police departments, along with the Vermont State Police, went to the airport, establishing a command post for the search, police said.

At about 5:35 p.m., police said, the crew of an aircraft launched from the airport saw what appeared to be the glider about 1,000 feet from the summit of Sterling Mountain.

“It was pretty rough terrain and it took several hours to get out there,” Loan said late Wednesday night after rescue crews reached the downed glider. “It’s a remote area, just off the Long Trail.”

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are expected to join the investigation, Loan said.

He said he wasn’t aware of any safety problems with the glider company, but added the FAA was in better position to answer that question.

Stowe Soaring bills itself as the “premier soaring site in New England,” according the company’s website. The company says it offers glider tours of the Stowe region as well as instruction on how to fly the aircraft.

Original article can be found here ➤

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