Monday, February 10, 2020

Aviastroitel AC-4C Russia, N912ES: Fatal accident occurred February 09, 2020 near Front Royal-Warren County Airport (KFRR), Virginia

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Washington, District of Columbia 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Front Royal, VA
Accident Number: ERA20FA097
Date & Time: 02/09/2020, 1320 EST
Registration: N912ES
Aircraft: Aviastroitel AC 4C
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 9, 2020, about 1320 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Aviastroitel AC-4C glider, N912ES, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain while maneuvering to land at the Front-Royal Warren County Airport (FRR), Front Royal, Virginia. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed FRR about 1225.

The pilot was a member of the Skyline Soaring Club, which was based at FRR. According to a club member, most glider activity did not occur until March but due to nice weather they scheduled an "Ad Hoc" day. The club member said he helped the pilot assemble his glider and complete a comprehensive flight control check. The club member said the flight control check (which included the divebrakes) was normal. The pilot told him that he planned to practice "speed control" in the traffic pattern. The glider's panel mounted radio was not working, so the pilot had to use a handheld radio. However, the club member, who was monitoring the airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) that afternoon, did not hear the pilot make any radio calls prior to the accident.

Another club member said that he and a passenger were flying in another glider when they caught up with the accident pilot while airborne. About 10-15 minutes prior to the accident, they few a thermal together before the club member and his passenger returned to FFR. The club member said he encountered "a huge updraft" when he made a right turn from the downwind leg to base leg of the traffic pattern for runway 28. He said the updraft, which he estimated was about 10 knots, caught him off guard, but he was able to correct for it and land uneventfully. Once the club member exited his glider, he saw the accident glider in the traffic pattern. It was midfield on the right downwind leg for runway 28. He said the glider appeared to have a nose-up attitude and was moving "slower than normal." The club member thought that the pilot was flying at "minimum sink" speed, which he said was not unusual in the traffic pattern. At this time, another club glider had just executed a practice premature termination of tow (PTT) maneuver from runway 28 and was landing in the opposite direction on runway 10. The club member thought that the accident pilot had slowed down to wait for that glider to clear the runway, and he made a comment to his passenger, that the accident pilot might fly over the top of them and land. The club member turned his attention away from the accident glider and when he looked back up, the glider was no longer in the traffic pattern.

The flight instructor that had just completed the PTT maneuver said that they had just finished their landing roll-out on runway 10 when he looked up to his left and saw a "white glider" in a fully involved spin toward the ground. He did not see the impact and was unsure what direction it was spinning. The flight instructor said that he did not hear any radio communications from the pilot prior to the accident.

The soaring club's tow pilot flew over the area where the spinning glider was last observed and located it in the woods about a 1/2 mile northwest of the airport.

On-scene examination revealed the glider came to rest upright on rolling terrain at the base of a cluster of trees. The cockpit area was displaced to the right. Several broken tree branches were on top of and around the main wreckage. All major components of the glider were accounted for at the accident site. Both wings remained attached to the fuselage, and the tail section had separated but remained attached via control cables. A portion of the left wing's wing tip was located about 20 ft southwest of the main wreckage. Several broken pieces of the Plexiglas canopy were found around the main wreckage.

The right wing exhibited some impact damage, but the aileron was secure and undamaged. The divebrake was extended and was being held up by tree branches that had lodged under it consistent with impact. When the branches were removed, the divebrake fully retracted into its wing box.

The left wing exhibited more impact damage than the right wing. There was a large gash in the leading edge of the left wing and the top of the wing was fractured back to the aileron's inboard attach point. The aileron was separated from the inboard attach point but remained attached to the outboard attach point. The aileron was also fractured mid-span. The trailing edge of the left wing at the wing root was crushed and appeared to be slightly pulled away from the fuselage. The divebrake was fully retracted in its respective wing box.

Flight control continuity was established for the ailerons, the rudder and the divebrakes from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces. The divebrake handle in the cockpit was found in the forward and unlocked position. The divebrake's aluminum control rod aft of the handle was bent about 30° consistent with impact damage. When the divebrake handle was pushed aft, both divebrakes simultaneously extended. The trim was set in the second notch position.

The elevator did not move when the flight control stick was moved. Further examination revealed that that the elevator control tube rod end that attached to the elevator bell crank located directly below the control stick was impact damaged and fractured. When the fractured elevator control tube was manually moved, the glider's elevator moved freely.

An index card was found in the wreckage that contained several flight speeds written on it. According to the card, the glider's minimum sink speed was calculated to be 39 knots and the stall speed was 37 knots.

The pilot's handheld radio was found in a storage pouch that was attached to the right side of the cockpit wall. The radio exhibited some impact damage to the battery section and could not be turned on.

The pilot held an airline transport certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land. He also held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and glider. The pilot held numerous type ratings in large transport category airplanes including the B-727, B-737, B-757, B767, B-787, and L-300. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical was issued on October 11, 2019. At that time, he reported a total of 18,800 flight hours. A review of the pilot's glider logbooks revealed he had a total of about 95.8 hours in gliders, of which, about 17.5 hours were in the accident glider (make/model).

Weather reported at FRR, at 1335 included wind from 250° at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles and clear skies.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aviastroitel
Registration: N912ES
Model/Series: AC 4C No Series
Aircraft Category: Glider
Amateur Built: Yes
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: FRR, 703 ft msl
Observation Time: 1335 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / -3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 250°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.41 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Front Royal, VA (FRR)
Destination: Front Royal, VA (FRR) 

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: 38.550000, -78.140000

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 email

Authorities say a Clarke County man died Sunday when his glider crashed near the Front Royal-Warren County Airport on Stokes Airport Road.

Peter C. Maynard, 65, of Lander Lane, Berryville, was killed in the crash at 1:37 p.m. Sunday, according to information provided Monday by Virginia State Police Sgt. Brent Coffey and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Senior trooper R. Riggs responded to the report of a plane crash in Warren County shortly after the incident, according to information from Coffey. Maynard died at the scene as a result of his injuries, according to police information. No one else was injured. State police notified the FAA and the NTSB of the crash. 

A preliminary investigation into the crash indicates the pilot tried to land or take off and then hit several trees, according to police information.

Maynard was the newly elected president of the Skyline Soaring Club, according to the club's online newsletter. The club, based at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport, is dedicated to the sport of "soaring" in gliders, some of which have engines and some of which do not. About a hundred people belong to the group, which operates on weekends, weather permitting.

Shane Neitzey, one of the club's founders, declined to talk about the crash, but he said Maynard was a well-liked, active member of the group and that he was "very safety conscious."

"He was loved, and he's going to be missed," Neitzey said in a phone interview. "It hurts us all."

According to Neitzey, Maynard joined the Skyline Soaring Club in 2015. The group owns and operates five gliders, plus two tow planes. About 20 gliders are privately owned. Maynard owned his glider, Neitzey said.

In the club's February newsletter, Maynard introduced himself, telling members he was a recently retired United Airlines pilot, having spent 35 years with the company, in addition to having extensive military experience. He added that he was married with two grown daughters. Maynard stressed the importance of safety, saying there is "never a reason to compromise" it.

Maynard also served on the Clarke County Planning Commission. He was appointed to the panel on April 16, 2019.

"We are shocked and saddened by this news," Clarke County Board of Supervisors Chairman David Weiss said in a statement. "Pete approached life with vitality, and his energy invigorated everyone around him. He will be missed by all of us in Clarke County. We send our heartfelt prayers and condolences to his family and friends."

The Federal Aviation Administration provided more details about the crash in a statement issued Monday afternoon. An AviaStroiel AC4 Model C, taildragger-style glider crashed into a field while on approach to the airport at 1:37 p.m. Sunday, according to FAA information.

Investigating agencies did not provide information on a tow plane that would have pulled the glider.

The FAA referred the media to local authorities for information on the pilot. The FAA is investigating the crash and the NTSB will determine the probable cause of the crash.

An investigator with the NTSB has responded to the crash, Terry Williams, a public affairs officer with the agency, said by phone Monday. The investigation could take more than a year to complete, Williams said. The agency has entered the on-scene or early fact-gathering phase of the investigation. The investigator first documents where the glider crashed and came to rest and looks at the site and the aircraft, Williams explained.

“The aircraft will be moved to a more secure location for further examination and we’re gonna be looking at the engine as well as ... the aircraft itself and damage to the aircraft and so forth,” Williams said.

NTSB investigators will examine the aircraft and its maintenance records; the environment, including the weather conditions at the time of the crash; and the pilot’s records and training, Williams said.

A plane crash killed a pilot near the Warren County-Front Royal Airport in early October 2017. The operator of a tow plane pulling a glider crashed on private property near the facility and caught fire, according to police information released after the incident. Authorities identified the tow plane pilot as Steven B. Zaboji, 76, of Reston, who was towing a glider for a student’s introductory flight. The glider landed safely at the airport. The NTSB released its final report on the crash last spring but did not identify a specific cause for the incident.

The report indicates that investigators found no sign of mechanical failure in Zaboji’s plane nor did he have medical complications during the flight. The agency report indicates that the glider instructor turned away from Zaboji’s plane, which delayed Zaboji’s timing on releasing the tow rope that contributed to the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

WARREN COUNTY, Virginia (WHSV) — A Shenandoah Valley man is dead after a plane crash in Warren County Sunday afternoon, according to police.

Virginia State Police say 65-year-old Peter C. Maynard, of Berryville, was attempting to land or take off in a small glider when the plane collided with several trees at 1:37 p.m. in the 400 block of Stokes Airport Road.

That's not far from the Front Royal-Warren County Airport.

Maynard died at the scene as a result of his injuries.

According to police, both the FAA and NTSB were notified of the crash.

No one on the ground was injured.

Police continue to investigate the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

FRONT ROYAL (WINA) – State Police report a glider pilot from Berryville is dead after a crash into some woods in Warren County. The FAA and NTSB have been called in for investigation, but a state trooper responded around 1:30 Sunday afternoon to the 400 block of Stokes Airport Road near the Front Royal-Warren County Airport for a report of an aircraft crash.

A preliminary investigation found a glider that was attempting to land, and collided with several trees — bringing it down. 65-year old Berryville resident Peter Maynard — the only person aboard the glider — died at the scene.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. I flew with Pete at United ... Great guy and he will be missed.

    RIP on the final glide west my friend.

  2. At the beginning of the report "A preliminary investigation into the crash indicates the pilot tried to land or take off and then hit several trees, according to police information." I don't think the pilot was trying to take off in this particular glider.

    Aside from that, prayers for the family and for the pilot.