Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Avia Stroitel AC-5M, N263R: Fatal accident occurred June 30, 2020 at Bend Municipal Airport (KBDN), Deschutes County, Oregon

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. 

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon

Location: Bend, OR 
Accident Number: WPR20LA201
Date & Time: June 30, 2020, 13:24 Local 
Registration: N263R
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On June 30, 2020, at 1324 Pacific daylight time, an Avia Stroitel AC-5M motorized glider, N263R, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident at Bend Municipal Airport (BDN), Bend, Oregon. The pilot was fatally injured. The glider was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

Witnesses reported high winds at the time of the accident, and that the glider's right wing was low during takeoff. As the glider gained ground speed, the wings became level. Once airborne, the glider began an extremely rapid climb and banked right; the glider subsequently nosed over and collided with the ground.

A postcrash fire ensued and the glider was destroyed.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AVIA STROITEL
Registration: N263R
Model/Series: AC-5M
Aircraft Category: Glider
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBDN,3462 ft msl 
Observation Time: 13:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C /4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots / , 330°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Bend, OR (BDN) 
Destination: Bend, OR (BDN)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 44.1025,-121.197776

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

Christopher McKeage 

Chris McKeage of bend Oregon, age 65, was killed on June 30th, 2020 while flying his beloved motorized glider.

He was the son of the late Frank McKeage of Franklin and is survived by his mother Mary Thibodeau McKeage of Bend Oregon.

He is also survived by his wife Colleen Pleasants McKeage of Bend. Son Aaron McKeage, wife Jessica, and 2 grandchildren, of Syracuse Utah; 2 step sons, Justin Pleasants, William Pleasants and wife Mimzy. Sister Cheryl Mair, husband Howard, and neices Amelia and Helen.

Chris was a graduate of Franklin High School class of 1973, and Vermont Technical College in 1975. He was retired from Sutter Creek CA water district as district manager.

Chris was a "jack of all trades", and could build anything, including his retirement home, 2 airplanes, and a swimming pond for his grandchildren. He was often called upon by neighbors, friends and family, to lend a helping hand. Chris was born to fly and he died doing what he loved. May he rest in peace.

Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Oregon

Location: Bend Municipal Airport; 63136 Powell Butte Highway

Deceased: McKeage, Christopher S. Age: 65 Bend, Oregon

Aircraft: 2002 Avia Stroitel AC-5M glider

On June 30, 2020, at approximately 1:25pm, deputies with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a report of a glider crash in the NE corner of the Bend Municipal Airport. Witnesses reported the aircraft caught fire immediately after it crashed.

Deputies arrived and confirmed a power glider had crashed just after take-off from the airport and the sole occupant, Christopher S. McKeage of Bend, was deceased. Bend Fire Department resources quickly extinguished a small brush fire that occurred because of the crash before it could spread to nearby trees.

Deputies spent the afternoon photographing and documenting the scene, contacting witnesses, and collecting nearby video surveillance around the time of the crash. The information collected will be forwarded onto the FAA and NTSB to assist with their investigation.

The crash is still under investigation and cause has not been determined. McKeage next of kin has been notified.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Bend Police and Fire Departments and the Deschutes County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Street Crimes, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with six K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves the nearly 190,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 230 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 187 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.

BEND, Oregon (KTVZ) – A motor glider crashed and burned shortly after takeoff Tuesday afternoon at Bend Municipal Airport, killing the pilot, a 65-year-old Bend man, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said.

Sgt. William Bailey said deputies were dispatched around 1:25 p.m. to the reported glider crash in the northeast corner of the airport, located off the Powell Butte Highway east of the city. Witnesses reported the aircraft crashed and quickly caught fire.

Deputies learned a 2002 Aviastroitel AC-5M motor glider (also known as a powered glider) had crashed just after takeoff and the sole occupant, Christopher McKeage, had died, Bailey said.

Witnesses said the glider had just left the runway when the pilot apparently encountered engine problems.

The glider rose to about 100 feet but stalled, banked sharply and crashed nose-first into the ground, catching fire seconds later, the witnesses said.

Bend Fire & Rescue, sheriff's deputies and Bend police rushed to the airport as thick, black smoke rose over the crash scene.

Fire crews had the resulting fire knocked down in about 10 minutes.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, which occurred near the airport's helipad, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

The crash remains under investigation and the cause has not been determined, Bailey said. Deputies spent the afternoon photographing and documenting the scene, talking to witnesses and collecting video surveillance around the time of the crash, for forwarding to the federal investigators.

The Deschutes County Medical Examiner's Office also assisted at the scene, he added.