Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus, N271BL: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2020 near Seminole-Lake Gliderport (6FL0), Groveland, Lake County, Florida

Marc Vinarub

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Groveland, FL 
Accident Number:ERA20LA145 
Date & Time: 04/07/2020, 1400 EST
Registration: N271BL
Aircraft: Schempp Hirth STANDARD CIRRUS
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 7, 2020, at 1400 eastern daylight time, a Schemp Hirth Standard Cirrus glider, N271BL, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Seminole-Lake Gliderport (6FL0), Groveland, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured. The glider was operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the tow pilot, it was customary to tow gliders to 2,000 ft. prior to release and he said the initial takeoff from runway 36 was "…normal with slight PIOs (pilot-induced oscillations) from the glider but nothing extreme. While climbing out at approximately 500 ft. we hit [an] area of turbulence, which is when I noticed the glider get low on tow and out of sight in the mirror. At that time is when I felt the glider release. I continued straight ahead in the event it was a rope break, [as] the glider would then have made a turn back to the runway to land."

The tow pilot did not witness the glider's descent, and neither did he witness the accident. He added that at no time did he see the spoilers deployed.

Two witnesses on the ground, who were residents of the gliderport residential community, described watching the glider release from the tow at a "low" altitude and turn to the east. They each described the turn continuing to the south, and then the nose of the glider "point down," before it descended vertically from view.

The glider came to rest on the gliderport property behind a residence on the east side of the turf runway. Continuity of the flight control system could not be confirmed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector because of the way the glider rested. The glider was retained for further examination.

An officer with the parent company of the gliderport was familiar with the glider and said that another pilot had recently flown it in competition, and the glider was not disassembled after the competition but was hangared fully assembled. Flight control checks were performed and "certified" on the glider prior to the competition.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and glider. The pilot's most recent FAA 3rd class medical certificate was issued in January 2012, and he declared 110 total hours of flight experience on that date. The pilot obtained his glider rating October 1, 2019. His total flight experience could not be determined, but examination of the pilot's glider logbook revealed he had accrued 19.0 total hours of glider experience as of January 15, 2020. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schempp Hirth
Registration: N271BL
Model/Series: STANDARD CIRRUS Undesignated
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: ZPH, 120 ft msl
Observation Time: 1415 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 5000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 60°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Groveland, FL (6FL0)
Destination: Groveland, FL (6FL0)

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: 28.411389, -81.835278

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 

Marc Vinarub 

Marc R. Vinarub passed away on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, at the age of 58.

Marc was born on October 31, 1961. He will be loved and remembered by his children: Keri Vann & Michael Vinarub; mother, Audry Vinarub; brothers, David & Paul Vinarub; granddaughter, Alaina Vann; and many other family & friends.

Marc was lovingly known as someone who truly lived life to the fullest. He was our favorite pilot, glider, thrill-seeker, steering wheel drummer, chicken farmer, and Appalachian Trail hiker. He was someone who pushed us out of our comfort zones and, by his example, taught us to live life on our own terms.

In lieu of flowers, we ask that you carry Marc’s memory and enthusiasm for life on your next adventure. Memorial to be set at a later date.

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