Sunday, November 03, 2019

Remote Control Glider: Fatal accident occurred November 02, 2019 in Pingtung County, Taiwan

The co-owner of local seafood chain Lure Fish House was arrested in Taiwan after his remote-controlled glider struck and killed a woman.

The accident happened Saturday as David Cortina, 57, was visiting Taiwan to participate in a World Air Sports Federation remote-controlled glider competition.

According to a report in the English-language Taiwan News, Cortina was flying his glider at a park on the southeast coast when it came down about half a kilometer from the competition site and fatally hit a 36-year-old woman in the head as she held her son. Her son suffered a minor cut, according to Taiwan News.

Cortina was arrested and questioned and has since been released from police custody after posting $6,500 bail, according to the Taiwan News report. He remains in Taiwan after handing over his passport and travel documents.

In a brief phone interview with The Star on Wednesday evening, Cortina said he is doing what he can to help in the aftermath of the accident.

“We’re so focused on the family, that’s all that really matters at this point,” Cortina told The Star.

In a written statement issued later, he said:

“We are consumed with immense sadness and grief over this tragic accident and are fully cooperating with Taiwanese authorities. At the moment, our primary focus is supporting the family as they mourn this terrible loss. We ask our local community to offer their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Out of respect to all involved, we will not be commenting further.”

Lure Fish House opened its first location nine years ago in Camarillo. It later expanded to Ventura, Westlake Village and Santa Barbara. Cortina co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Patricia, according to the restaurant’s alcohol license.

Original article can be found here ➤

"The problem is, of course, with the activity itself in that country, but the main issue is the organizer.

This race is part of the FAI racing program and this location is one of the best in the world for F3F. This is the fourth time a race has been organized in this area and apparently no issue has been raised so far.

The peculiarity of this category is that while in all other categories the presence of the wind does not only help it, it is not only helpful but necessary. The limit in this category is double that of all others. That is, while the threshold for any other wind category is 12m / s here it rises to 25m / s. 

These gliders are almost identical to those of the F3B but much more robust because they are designed to handle much more load. In fact, when there is high wind many times the ballast reaches the limit and the model weighs about 4.5 kg.

The accident did not happen at the time of the test but at the time of landing. After the pilot makes the 10 rounds, he then climbs too high and, after first resting, then plans to land in a specific area designated by the organizer. The race area and the landing area must be clearly defined by the organizer and normally not only visitors but also other participants or organizers or judges are not allowed to access them. Because the organizer in this particular case was and is very experienced I would say he did it again.

The same was the unlucky athlete from America. David C ...... is a member of the US EO and has participated in many World Championships. So does his assistant in this particular case.

From my information it appears that the athlete climbed high after 10 laps to prepare for the landing. I note that many times the landing takes place several minutes after the effort is completed. At this stage and while the model was flying at low speed and low enough (it was in the final) it entered the sun and lost it. After that was done it was uncontrollable. The unfortunate visitor had nothing to do with the event. He may not even have known it. The place was a large public park that attracted many visitors.

Both the athlete and the organizer are not currently in custody. Apparently the race was interrupted.

Put yourself in the position of the athlete. Even if there is no intent (which is certain) even if the sentence is the least, it is not difficult to understand what an abusive psychological state will be after this event.

The insurance coverage that certainly existed on both the organizer and the athlete's side cannot erase the fact.

Authorities have already contacted the FAI and requested specific information.

It has nothing to do with this subject but unfortunately our mentality is most often "there is no way this can happen to me".

Authorities are currently examining the athlete, organizers and park officials to determine what action has been taken.

It's a good idea not to mess with alanas etc because I don't think it matters. The accident can happen to anyone everywhere. Then what do you do?"

There is obviously a procedure to be followed for similar cases. You don't see that in air-modeling the events are limited at least internationally, but at the level of other airports the incidents are much more and unfortunately there are deaths. Then what do you do I do not mention if you are or are involved in an international organization but if you happen on a daily basis even in a model runway. In this particular case what had to be done had been done. Remember that we are dealing with electronic devices and we rely on them. It does not mean that they cannot fail. The point is to be able to prove that you had taken all the necessary steps and what happened was something that surpassed you.

Distance is not the measure that will ensure safety on its own. It's a series of measures. I mention that the responsibility (not just in this case) is mainly on the organizers because they are the ones who know the particularities of each area and those who should take care of what the competitors have to throw away. That's why there are local rules. For this particular case what I mentioned was what I know right now from the reports we have received. Now if there was a signal loss issue and the model besides the sun problem mentioned there was another issue I don't know. Years ago it had become deadly at an airshow in Hungary again with a German participant. His model fell kilometers away and killed a man. In the end, it turned out that despite the existence of a Notam, a military base updated its electronic systems and shut down the model. That is why I say that in such cases you must have done what is humanly possible to avoid the unpleasant.

Because we are concerned with the fact and because such incidents are rare for this reason and there are similar discussions around the world today. How many accidents happen on the road every day? Much more. It obviously does not mean that we should not make our occupation safer.

Antonis Papadopoulos

The damaged RC glider.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An American who was piloting a remote-controlled (RC) glider suspected of fatally striking a Taiwanese woman on November 2nd, has been released on bail.

A competition for radio-controlled gliders in Pingtung County’s Kenting went fatally wrong at 4:50 p.m. on November 2nd when a glider controlled by a competitor from the U.S. team hit a 36-year-old woman surnamed Lin in the head, killing her, while she held her two-year-old boy. The glider, which weighed 5 kilograms, also inflicted a minor cut to the boy's neck, according to Hengchun Precinct police.

Lin was part of a tour group from Tainan and had been walking on a wooden path in Kenting's Longpan Park when the glider suddenly fell out of the sky. The site was located 450 meters from the F3F Radio Control Soaring (Slope) World Cup at Longpan Park, leading an expert to suggest that the glider had been thrown off course by a strong wind, UDN reported.

Chen Yi-li, the chief prosecutor at the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office, said that forensic analysis found that Lin had suffered severe trauma to her head, prompting the office to investigate the man for negligent homicide, reported CNA. When the RC glider pilot, identified as David Cortina, 57, was arrested at the scene, he refused to make a formal statement without consulting a lawyer and was held in custody overnight.

At noon on November 3rd, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) appointed an attorney for Cortina. At 1 p.m. that day, Hengchun Precinct District prosecutors questioned Cortina, along with Taiwan R/C Slope Glider Association head Tseng Kuo-tung, about the incident, according to the report.

Cortina, a member of the California Team, who had previously participated in an event in Kenting in 2014, said he felt remorse and apologized for the incident that day. After the plane had suddenly disappeared, he said he went searching for it and panicked when he heard that it had struck a passerby.

In the afternoon, Cortina was released on NT$200,000 (US$6,500) bail, and he and Tseng face charges of negligent homicide, reported CNA. Prior to his release, Cortina was required to hand over his passport and travel documents to prevent his departure from the country as he awaits trial.

Other RC gliders from the race.

Taipei, November 3rd   -  An American pilot of remote control gliders was released on NT$200,000 (US$6,700) bail Sunday after being questioned over an accident in which his glider struck a woman during a competition in Pingtung County and killed her.

Chen Yi-li, the chief prosecutor at the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office, said a forensic examination showed that the woman sustained a head injury, leading to the possibility that the American pilot may be liable for negligent homicide.

The pilot, identified as David Cortina, was prohibited by the court from leaving Taiwan, and he was ordered by prosecutors to turn over his passport and travel documents to prevent him from fleeing or hiding.

The accident occurred at 4:50 p.m. Saturday during the F3F Radio Control Soaring (Slope) World Cup at Lungpan Park on the eastern coast of the Hengchun Peninsula.

The aircraft, operated by Cortina, crashed into the 35-year-old mother, who was holding her 2-year-old son as she was walking on a path at the park about 450 meters from the race venue.

The woman fell and immediately lost consciousness after being hit, and she was pronounced dead at the site.

Her 2-year-old son suffered a cut on his neck but was fine otherwise, according to Hengchun Precinct police.

The landing spot was far away from the 100-meter course used to race the gliders. The course was out to sea and along the coast, while the park was well inland.

Cortina, a member of a team from California, participated in a similar race in Kenting in 2014, police said, and when he gave his statement Sunday, he expressed regret and apologized over the matter.

He said the aircraft disappeared suddenly, and as he began to look for it, he heard that it hit someone and led to the person's death.

"Extremely sorry," he said Sunday before getting into a police vehicle, according to police.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. An accident, pure and simple. But would be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit here in the US.

  2. ^^^^^
    I agree... when this is over he will probably wish it had happened in the US ... wrongful death lawsuit and all


  3. Individual is a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), based in Muncie Indiana, and he is covered by their multi-million dollar insurance policy. The family needs to know about that, so they can seek not just criminal accountability for his negligence, but also civil judgement to replace a lifetime of a mother. Furthermore, the AMA issues a "safety code," which theoretically at least - all members must comply. However, AMA does not enforce compliance with its own rules, let alone any others. There was a Superior Court Judge in the US state of Pennsylvania that specifically warned in the case of the Farview Flyers that "The record clearly demonstrates that the speed, size and weight of the model airplanes and jets have increased over the past five decades to characteristics where safety needs to be the primary concern", yet AMA has done nothing to reign in size, speed, or behaviors. Sadly, a woman has now died as a consequence of something I think could easily have been prevented by a PROPER aviation safety management system. AMA has one, but it exists on paper only. ZERO enforcement by the organization.

  4. Not sure what the intent or agenda is by calling out the AMA here but there is no direct correlation. The event was a world cup competition sanctioned and organized by the FAI which is the world governing body of airsports. The only correlation between the FAI and the AMA is that the AMA is a participating organization within the NAA which is the official US representative to the FAI.

    The logic here holds no water, its like blaming AOPA safety practices for a crash at a RedBull air-race held in Germany. Regarding the comments on RC aircraft characteristics, will go back to my general aviation example, it would be like blaming AOPA for the not managing what Piper, Cessna or Beechcraft produces. The vast majority of RC fixed wing aircraft sold and operated today are battery powered, foam construction that are far lighter and slower than the accident aircraft mentioned. Many have gyro stabilization, self righting panic buttons and the newest generation have GPS, loiter and self-land capabilities that are just now being introduced to piloted aircraft.

    Focusing for a moment on the report at hand a seasoned competition pilot lost sight of an aircraft while on final approach due to sun glare. An FAA study found over a 10 year period that 130 aircraft accidents were primarily caused by the same factor. Where is righteous indignation at nature?

  5. First, "its[sic] like blaming AOPA..." False analogy. AOPA does not promulgate safety rules for part 61 operations. In contrast, AMA promulgates safety rules, with which all members (including the one involved in this incident) must comply. All the time. Yes, FAI is also in the mix, but nowhere does AMA say that members can follow the "least restrictive rules" of FAI or anything else for that matter.

    Second, if there are these great safety systems readily available to RC aircraft, as you've described above, it seems a significant gap in AMA's governance that they are not required equipment? Especially since they are obviously small enough and light enough to be present on "far lighter" aircraft. This would appear to be a significant oversight by AMA's safety group, or do they think that safety rules should not be regularly updated in light of advances in technology, size, speed, and operations ... and the now rather obvious grave risk they pose to people on the ground? Make them mandatory for AMA members all the time, and I assure you FAI will come along from a policy standpoint.

    Third, it's abundantly evident that whatever rule exists for AMA (and other groups) as to standoffs is clearly insufficient. Is it insufficient because it does not exist at all? Or insufficient because the distance is too small given the total energy of these gliders? Is it insufficient because it is not enforced (by AMA or FAI)? Or, and this is my opinion, because the hobby has a very dangrous culture with respect to safety. One that says "accidents happen" as a way of rationalizing activities that clearly pose grave risk to the public. One only has to look at the RC Groups thread on this event to see participants bragging about "big air" and speeds, and even talking about how many times the individual involved crashed other gliders in the days prior to this event. Clearly the warning signs where there, they were just ignored. And now a woman is dead as a result.

    Sadly, this is not the first time AMA should have recognized their overall policy governing minimum standoff distances are insufficient. In 2015, a 100lb model sent crowds diving for cover at an AMA sanctioned event in Delaware. In 2016 a large RC helicopter flew into the crowd at another AMA sanctioned event in Indiana (at AMA Headquarters in fact). In 2016, a judge in Pennsylviana cautioned about the risk to the public from the size and speed of RC planes and repeated overflights of the public. That club ignored AMA rules for years, regularly overflying people and propert - and AMA did precisely NOTHING. In 2013 the Vice President of an AMA sanctioned club in NY was killed when his own helicopter went out of control and hit him. Again, where is mandatory standoffs? Where is the culture of compliance. And now an innocent person has been killed. All because it's clear that AMA "rules" as to required standoff distances are inadequate, or because they're not being followed, or because the culture of the organization and its members is patently unsafe. And the examples above point to the latter.

    The question is will AMA and FAI now do a bottoms up review of their safety standoff distances, perhaps base them on real science like total energy of the planes/helicopters rather than the "that looks about right" as done now. Clearly a 500 meter standoff from the public is inadequate. Additionally, will the AMA and FAI update their rules to require failsafe devices on high total energy planes/helicopters? And finaly, in the case of AMA, will they take action to change to enforce their own rules and change the wild west safety culture?

    1. Wow that was certainly a long and well planned attack on r/c hobbyists of which your unrealistic statements and obviously slanted views of the hobby as being a "dangerous" and wild west mentality could not be further from the truth. I question where you formed this opinion because the truth of the matter is you have not been exposed to actual r/c hobbyists that fly and compete at this level these are not people that buy a r/c product at Walmart take it home and fly it on they're cul de sac for the first time hitting nearly everything within sight including possibly children that have come to spectate.these are people that usually have countless hours of flight time and a very significant investment in time and money the pilots in events such a f3f aren't doing dangerous aerobatics and taking risks that could destroy they're model remember they need that to compete in this race! Furthermore you bring up r/c groups and make it sound as if it is a modelers underground where they go to brag about big air etc.thats like saying surfers are dangerous because of terminology they use to Express their experiences that doesn't make them dangerous careless and what ever else is in the picture you're trying to far as putting limits or expanding zones just ridiculous! True these models are fast they are heavy but so are the cessnas and pipers and many other aircraft that are crashing and killing innocent people on the ground in their house watching t/v or walking their dog do you the vilify private pilots? Of course not even though everyday they crash and take lives.i suggest that since you don't have a good knowledge of these events you should take the time to watch videos of these competitions you will see they aren't as you describe in your text.also if you want to vilify anyone please set your sight on illegal street racing where it really is the wild west anything goes! How many innocent people get killed from that activity sound like you fly full size aircraft and your text sounds like your are a lawyer if you are both please don't fly over my house.

  6. In the last 30 years there has been no fatal accident in this category F3F and the rules regarding the weight and size of models have not changed since the creation of this category. In addition, the reliability of control systems has increased. David is a very experienced pilot and one of the best in the USA. Participant of the F3F World Championship. The event is an unfortunate coincidence which the pilot could not have foreseen. If anyone has doubts about the professionalism of the pilot, I will say so much the model would not finish the competition flight just crashed right after the start on the cliff and rocks. You can't blame the pilot for doing something wrong because any other pilot without eye contact with the model would not be able to avoid an accident. I do not agree with the statement "model piloted by David". Yes, the model was the property of the pilot but at the time of the accident could not be piloted by him because he had no eye contact with him. If they steal a car from you and take this car with someone, it is difficult to say that you are the perpetrator of the accident, so in this case the model carried away by the wind wounded a woman fatally. In addition, you can not fault the organizer, because he has kept the security standards that are used at higher-level events. Nobody and nowhere use 500m safety zone because in this category you don't fly so far. Another thing is that for the media it is something new and that by attracting public opinion they will do everything to publicize the case. If at the races the car enters a crowd of people and a dozen or so people are killed, this is not a revelation because it happens often. But the model is something new and can attract public opinion. In addition, hundreds of military and civilian drones and other aircraft with much larger masses fly above our heads, which can also fall on the head and kill, but no one raises it because the army will hide such matters from the public. The only thing that seems appropriate in this situation is to release the pilot and the organizer from the charges that they have been made by classifying the event as an unfortunate accident. And by the way, a person with a child and family should also have life insurance because, as you can see, you can die in an unexpected way.

    1. As a former r/c sailplane race competitor and r/c pilot of 40 years I can tell you this is an extremely rare occurrence but extremely tragic as well. events like these are nearly always run with a safety first mindset that is to say that precautions are taken to prevent likely accidents that would cause injury or damage to property or both but like everything in life it's usually a chain of events or occurrences that culminate in an accident.when I was racing from beginning to mid nineties participating in both csr.(California slope racers) and isr.racer which were primarily man on man events with 3 to 4 gliders on the course at one time.durung these races you (the pilot) would have a spotter/caller standing directly behind you as a second set of eyes and was a r/c pilot as well I do recall a few time's that the racer lost site of his plane and the spotter took the transmitter until the pilot had sight of his or her glider.i don't know in fact if losing sight was the primary or only reason for this very unfortunate accident but perhaps having a spotter/caller next to the competitor to take over in a lost visual situation reducing the chances of your aircraft getting away would prevent a loss of sight accident from occurring. My thoughts and prayers for all involved in this rare tragedy.

  7. Captain Dave Cortina -
    1980 Started School at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University;
    1984 Left Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

  8. ERAU ... Wow ... I'm surprised they didn't escort him back to the event. I'm sure the judge will recognize that ERAU affiliation is special and offer an apology for his inconvience.

  9. Can't fathom the coldness of this comment ......blaming the victim ! A child is motherless
    over this accident . What a flippant comment :

    . "The only thing that seems appropriate in this situation is to release the pilot and the organizer from the charges that they have been made by classifying the event as an unfortunate accident. And by the way, a person with a child and family should also have life insurance because, as you can see, you can die in an unexpected way."

  10. If during the race the car falls out of the road and enters the crowd killing people, nobody closes the driver to prison, it should be exactly the same, because this is also the official sport and competition in FAI, a licensed athlete and an accident during competition. And of course the victims are very sorry, but also the pilot. And stop yelling hate because what you do the victims will not save and the pilot will have to live with this tragedy in his head for the rest of his life. I hope that we will draw conclusions from this that will help prevent such a tragedy in the future. This place is magical for F3F pilots it would be a huge loss for them not to play the event in this place, so maybe on those few days of the year you can have an accident in mind. Restrict access to part of the park for the competition in this category. If public roads are blocked for sports, cycling, marathons or car races many times a year, you can also make an exception for an international event like this. For many modelers, Taiwan's showcase is this place. Here speed records were broken in this category and I hope that next ones will fall in the following years and each of us will certainly remember about the tragedy that happened there.

  11. Interesting that every comment in this post is Anonymous or Unknown. Some interesting allegations and counter arguments but nothing someone is willing to attach a name to?

    I find the spotter/caller suggestion by Unknown a reasonable suggestion, given the speeds and distances covered at speed by these craft. It could help at any phase of the flight.

    But given the poor mother was hit some distance from the race, clearly more thought could have been put into separation from the race events and the public. Combining some additional separation/distance/public exclusion areas and spotters may be the best compromise.

    In the US in areas with conflicts on trails (hikers and fast mountain bikers) one solution for one jurisdiction was to allow one user group on odd days and the other user group on even days. People didn't like it at first ("But I want to go on the odd day!"), but eventually became supporters once they got used to it.

    This event is a good example of how it is better to avoid a tragedy than trying to put Humpty back together again. I hope Taiwan can figure out a way to maintain some F3F access/use at this 'magical' site, the family can get reasonable recompense for their loss, and the pilot can move on in a meaningful way from this event. I know I would not want to carry the burden of a situation like this through the rest of my life.

  12. R/C airplanes are for little boys. What is this grown man doing going to an event with other grown men and playing with toys that they have stepped up to super lethal speeds? Also, the fact the event is worldwide is negligible. All that means is they have to search the entire world over to find a dozen growth stunted morons who try to reach the highest most lethal speed for their chunks of pointed fiberglass. I say shut the "sport" down. Nobody ever will miss it. World wide event. Pfffft. Looks like there was maybe a dozen grown up little boys there.

  13. And what do you think is a sport for big boys to write hate entries in this and other blogs? . Jim has written a very reasonable compromise that can always be found. For this sport a specific direction and wind strength is necessary which depends only on nature. The rest is up to the park manager and event organizer. I hope that the matter will be resolved quickly because the media noise does not serve anyone or the family of the tragically deceased woman or the unlucky pilot. It has happened we must live on and no hate's post in this and other blogs will change anything here.

  14. One might question why a competition involving RC aircraft that could kill people was held in an area open to the public. Piss poor planning and absolutely tragic consequences.

  15. I’m torn in here. Should he held responsible for negligence? Should he face 20 years jail time or just $millions$ compensation? An accident that took the life of the young mother and a baby will grow old without her.