Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Glasair GlaStar, N628RS: Fatal accident occurred October 12, 2021 in Waukesha County, Wisconsin

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 traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Accident Number: CEN22FA013
Date and Time: October 12, 2021, 09:30 Local 
Registration: N628RS
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On October 12, 2021, about 0930 central daylight time, a Glasair GlaStar airplane, N628RS, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Waukesha, Wisconsin. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to information obtained by investigators, the airplane departed the Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (KMWC), about 0915, and was enroute to the Salina Regional Airport (KSLN), Salina, Kansas. 

The pilot had received clearance for a special visual flight rules (SVFR) departure with the restriction that he maintained an altitude at or below 2,300 ft mean sea level. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data showed the flight as it proceeded to the southwest, then it made a tight left turn. 

The airplane collided with a tree and traveled about 200 ft before it impacted down sloping terrain. The wreckage path continued 90 ft toward a slight ravine then up an embankment. Both wings separated from the airplane and were found in the debris path near the ravine.

The main wreckage, which consisted of the fuselage and empennage, continued another 200 ft and came to rest against trees. The engine separated and came to rest 58 ft past the main wreckage. The propeller was sheared from the propeller flange and was found near the main wreckage. The accident debris was generally aligned on a 134° heading.

All major airplane components were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control cables were traced and were fractured in multiple locations with evidence of tension overload. Elevator and rudder cables were cut during the recovery process. At least 5 gallons of fuel was found in the left tank and the right tank was breached with a slight odor of fuel in the area.

At 0845, an automated weather reporting facility at the departure airport (KMWC), reported 10 miles visibility and an overcast ceiling at 900 ft above ground level (AGL).

At 0945, an automated weather reporting facility at Waukesha County Airport (KUES), Waukesha, Wisconsin, reported 5 miles visibility with mist and an overcast ceiling at 400 ft AGL.

The wreckage has been retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: RANDAL C REIMER
Registration: N628RS
Model/Series: GLASTAR 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: IMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KUES,911 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:45 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C /15°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 270°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 400 ft AGL
Visibility: 5 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.83 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Milwaukee, WI (KMWC)
Destination: Salina, KS (KSLN)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 42.936229,-88.230919 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290. 

Randal C. & Susan M. Reimer

Albuquerque - Randy Reimer, 74, and Susie (nee Stock) Reimer, 70, both of Albuquerque, New Mexico passed away on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 in an accident. They had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June. Randy, a 1965 Sussex Hamilton High School graduate, served in the Air Force until honorably discharged. Susie, a 1969 graduate of Menomonee Falls High School, attended Wisconsin - LaCrosse. Randy & Susie met at a square dance party, a theme that would dominate a large part of their lives, as they were long time members of the Falls Promenaders Square Dance Club, with Randy serving as President for a time. Randy was a long-time electrician for Kearney & Trecker, Giddings & Lewis and Maintenance Service Corporation. Susie could be described as an entrepreneur, as she was the owner of Susie's Works of Heart crafts. After retiring from Menomonee Falls, Randy completed his lifelong goal of building his own airplane. They quickly became active in the Albuquerque community by joining EAA Chapter 179, the Lions Club and Sagebrush Church. In addition, they hosted a countless number of children in the EAA Young Eagles. Randy will be remembered for his quick smile and bad jokes. Susie will be remembered for her baking ability, spoiling her grandchildren and pretending to laugh at Randy's bad jokes.

They were preceeded in death by their parents Ralph & Margaret Reimer and Fred & Alice Stock, along with Susie's sisters Janet Stock and Cathy Bresson. They are survived by their children Matthew (Kristi), Andrew (Rebecca) & Erin (Eric) Place, along with grandchildren Keegan, Isaac, Elizabeth, Kayla, Ryan, Zeke, Emily, Lois-Anna & Ava. They are survived by siblings Ralph (Carolyn) Reimer, Ron (Vickie) Reimer, Rachel (Brad) Bares, Bob (Dianna) Stock, Bill Stock, Ron (Diane) Stock and brother-in-law Mark Bresson. In addition to a countless number of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews & nieces.

Visitation will be Saturday October 30, 2021 at Spring Creek Church, N35 W22000 W. Capitol Dr. in Pewaukee, from 11am until the memorial service at 3pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to EAA Chapter 179, P.O. Box 3583, Albuquerque, NM 87190 or donate online at

WAUKESHA, Wisconsin  — Two people died when a small plane crashed in the village of Waukesha Tuesday morning.

It happened about 9:40 a.m. on Red Wing Drive.

Family of the couple identified them as Randy and Susie Reimer.

They told WISN 12 they were flying home from a family wedding.

"My dad spent three and a half years building that (plane). It was his pride and joy," said Matthew Reimer, the couple's son. "When they retired from living in Menomonee Falls and moved out to Albuquerque, first thing he did was move by the kids so he could build his own airplane."

Reimer said his parents were in Waukesha for his cousin's wedding on Saturday.

"They were trying to fly home," Reimer said.

Reimer said he was also at the wedding and said he remembers his parents buying gifts for his cousin's wedding.

He said his father likely had the plane for about five years and was considered a good pilot.

Reimer said he was shocked to hear the plane crashed.

Officials said the cause of the crash was still under investigation.

Reimer said his parents were adventurous and fun-loving people.

"Just anger at this point," Reimer said, when talking about how he was feeling. "That they died in such a senseless way."

WAUKESHA, Wisconsin — Both occupants of a small aircraft that crashed in the Village of Waukesha Tuesday have been pronounced dead by authorities.

Family identified the victims as 74-year-old Randy and 70-year-old Susie Reimer. They had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Investigators don’t know at this point what caused the crash. Family tells us they were headed home to New Mexico after visiting family in Wisconsin.

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that first responders were called to the area around 9:41 a.m. regarding reports of a loud noise and possible debris.

The Milwaukee Approach Control Tower also reported that they had lost both radio and radar communication with an airplane.

Deputies searched the area and found the plane in a wooded area south of Redwing Drive. There they confirmed the deaths of the pilot and passenger of the plane. No one else was injured in the crash, the sheriff's office said.

TMJ4 News has learned from records that the plane was a fixed-wing, single-engine Glastar with two seats. It was an amateur build, with the pilot assembling most of the plane.

The plane's last flight was from New Mexico to Texas, and from Texas to Kansas City. The plane was heading to Salina, Kansas when it went down in Waukesha County.

TMJ4 News spoke with pilot Dick Knapinski, who says the plane has a good safety record. “A very stable design, a very sturdy design, lot of them out there that have been built and flying successfully,” said Knapinski.

David Eicher has lived in the village of Waukesha and in this specific neighborhood for 30 years.

He was at home on his computer, writing an article, when he was startled.

"I was having an ordinary morning, working on stories about space, and heard what I thought was a strange thump," Eicher said. "I thought of a heavy truck slamming or even a truck crash, but there was no evidence of that."

Eicher said it wasn't until he came outside and asked the deputies what was going on that he learned a small plane had crashed.

​"Across the street on my side of the street, a couple houses down, there appears to be a little part of fuselage," Eicher said. "It's shocking and horrible and very sad day for the township here, and the families involved."

Eicher told us he often hears small aircraft going over his home, but he never thought anything to this magnitude could happen.

The incident is being investigated by the National Traffic Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.

The NTSB's online database shows the board has investigated 21 aviation accidents in Wisconsin this year - four of which were fatal.

The sheriff's office was assisted by the Village of Big Bend Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Villages of Waukesha and Vernon Fire Departments.

TMJ4 News has obtained the recorded conversation between pilot Randy Reimer and air traffic control (ATC).

The first two minutes are of the pilot and ATC checking in with each other.

Soon after, Reimer tells ATC "to hang on a second" as his audio keeps going in and out. He was trying to tell them where he was flying to.

ATC then tells him "We can barely hear you." He keeps asking the pilot where he is.

Reimer eventually says, "I can hear you now."

About a minute later, Reimer tells ATC, "We've got to climb. I hope to get above the clouds."

Reimer then tells ATC, "My destination is Selena, Kansas." This would be the last they hear from him.

Right after, ATC asks him if he's going to be able to reach his destination. He says something like "or do you need to," but then it cuts out and says something inaudible.

Almost four minutes into the recording, the ATC says, "Radar contact has been lost."

The ATC asks another dispatcher to try to contact the plane or see if they can see him on the radar.

The other ATC tells the original ATC, "They haven't responded."

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) --Federal investigators are looking into the reason why a small plane went down in Waukesha Tuesday, Oct. 12, killing both people on board.

It happened around 9:30 a.m. near Highway 164 and Red Wing Dr. 

The Glasair GlaStar took off from Timmerman Airport Tuesday morning en route for Salina, Kansas. Family say the owner, 74-year-old Randy Reimer, built it himself.

Just 11 minutes into the flight, Milwaukee's control tower notified Waukesha County they had lost communication with the plane. 

That's when neighbors along Red Wing Drive heard a loud bang.

"We heard this kind of a screeching, whirling noise first and then a big bang, that to me sounded like a car accident, a truck hitting a tree or something else," said Bruce Rahlf, neighbor.

"A thump overlaying with a sort of a metallic, just instantly it kind of reminded me if somebody had sort of a panel truck and they slammed the metal door on the back down really hard," said neighbor David Eicher.

Eicher took us to his neighbor's house. The plane came dangerously close to hitting it, clipping a tree in their front yard.

"That is a complete surprise to me. Wow! And that explains some of the fuselage damage here.  If this plane had gone into one of these houses, it would've been worse yet, and so thankfully that didn't happen," said Eicher.

Deputies saturated the area and located the airplane in a wooded area. The two occupants aboard the aircraft were pronounced dead at the scene.

Family say Randy Reimer and his wife Susie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June. 

They'd been in town for a wedding and were headed home. Both are being remembered by neighbors here who are extremely thankful for whatever the pilot did to avoid hitting these homes.

No other citizens were injured in the area. 

"Another 20 feet, he would've hit the house. I don't know what the pilot was trying to do, if he was trying to land it in the field, stay away from the houses," said Rahlf.

Family say flying was Randy Reimer's passion. They don't know what could have gone wrong.

The National Transportation Safety Board will have representatives in the area Wednesday, sifting through the wreckage and looking for clues as to what happened. 


  1. Glastar departed KMWC under special VFR. Destination KSLN.

    Contacted MKE Dep. 125.35 @ 1418:30Z Radar contact @ 1419:19. Asked for a heading to remain clear of KUES class D airspace 1421:21

    Pilot stated he hoped to get above the clouds @ 1426:27

    1429:31 radar contact lost with MKE departure freq. 125.35.

    1. Track:

    2. Archive radar:

  2. Spatial Disorientation. Blue Side Up......
    We humans are VFR-only creatures. The senses we use to maintain our balance and know “which end is up” are completely unreliable when our bodies are in motion without visual reference to the world around us. Pilots deprived of visual references while flying can quickly lose control of the aircraft and succumb to one of general aviation’s killers: spatial disorientation." @ AOPA

    1. This is likely the third one of these in the last few days.

    2. "We humans are VFR-only creatures." I'm going to use this in my aviation classes if you don't mind, i usually say "humans were not meant to fly"

    3. For a "VFR-only creature", I sure have thousands of hours of IFR. Go figure. As for "unknown" I can't imagine who would let you teach pilots with that kind of attitude.

    4. To whoever said "I can't imagine who would let you teach pilots with that kind of attitude." We are VFR-only creatures. What he said was that we are not wired as humans to be able to trust our senses in IFR conditions. The first thing people learn in instrument flying is to set up your instruments to be trustworthy and trust them, not your senses. I would trust that person as an instructor.

  3. Sad, but they had a good life together and hopefully neither one suffered.

  4. I live in MKE, just east of the Localizer to 19R, up near Shorewood. It was hazy and just "scuddy" around Milwaukee on Tuesday AM. If you are current IFR and have the equipment, skills, rest, etc it was not impossible, but leaving on a "Special" was always uncomfortable for me. You are hoping/planning to stay VFR, maybe not mentally ready to pop into the clouds and get a clearance, set up a long IFR leg...its not a great way to go without a plan B.
    I sat in a Glastar at Oshkosh21, and most have nice glass panels/autopilots...but you can still get disoriented quickly if not ready to fly instruments, and Tuesday around Milwaukee was not the best VFR. RIP. ATP/CFII CE-340. Bell 206.

    1. I train out of Waukesha Airport, and my very first instructor told me to ‘never look for a reason to fly’. Currently I am near the end of my instrument training. I have about 6hrs of actual, and that morning I was at the airport intending to fly, yet my instructor and I decided not to go because ceilings were too low for our comfort. Clouds are really pretty when you’re not inside them… get that IRA, it’s a life-saving piece of paper.

  5. Can someone help me understand why an IFR pilot would fly "special VFR" and not fly IFR?

    This was my former neighbor, my parents had just met them for breakfast a few days prior, and he told my dad he flies through clouds so I assume he was instrument rated. Why not fly by instruments? Very sad.

    1. Airman Registry check shows pilot is not instrument rated.



    2. when doing a special vfr you are flying ifr on instruments It's to transition from a ifr area to a vfr area in a quick manner. You still need to be Ifr rated.

    3. No, special vfr is not flying ifr on instruments by an instrument rated pilot. In the accident case, the pilot used to clearance to exit the control area in the weather conditions at the time, as explained below. Note the bolded text.

      4−4−6. Special VFR Clearances
      An ATC clearance must be obtained prior to operating within a Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E surface area when the weather is less than that required for VFR flight. A VFR pilot may request and be given a clearance to enter, leave, or operate within most Class D and Class E surface areas and some Class B and Class C surface areas in special VFR conditions, traffic permitting, and providing such flight will not delay IFR operations. All special VFR flights must remain clear of clouds.

      FAA AIM:

  6. Whenever I read comments about not transitioning quickly from VFR to IFR, especially when not expecting it, and to handfly in that situation, I wonder whether modern autopilots had a "wings-leveler"? And wouldn't a single non-professional (non-proficient) pilot know about its function, importance and its early use?

    1. Pilot does not have instrument rating and a 2017 article about his plane doesn't mention it having autopilot.

    2. Thanks for the link.
      I meant my above question in a general way about spatial disorientation accidents, not just this one, and thought many modern planes with glass cockpits (Cirrus) often had autopilots.

    3. I can tell you first hand he did have a Trutrak 100 autopilot in his plane.

  7. The short answer is... No instrument rating.
    The long answer is... No instrument rating.
    No instrument rating.


    10432 BILBOA ST NW
    ALBUQUERQUE NM 87114-5579
    County: BERNALILLO
    Country: USA
    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 7/2021
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None

    Certificates Description
    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
    Date of Issue: 11/24/2013



    At least they had 50 YEARS together. Sad

  8. Looks like an in flight breakup. Those 2 people had to have made the plane way over gross weight. Plus any bags they had.

    1. Glastars do not break up in flight from being over gross. They break up when they hit something.

  9. Replies
    1. Nope, :>), It appears they hit a tree. The wreckage was too close and confined to the wreckage site to have broken up in mid air.... notice the multiple news photos of the tree branch in the yard adjacent to the wooded area the plane was found. Time will tell, but I know the Glastar pretty well and have been involved with them for decades and they have never ever had a structural failure for any reason .... But that doesn't bring these folks back to their families.

    2. Homeowners were lucky to not be hit. Photos linked below shows where the piece in the front yard came from. It's from on top, between the wings. The aircraft passed thru their trees adjacent to the home low enough to cut branch clusters seen in the yard and detach that overhead panel but still cleared the house.

  10. Another sad case of spatial disorientation. Get there itis! So sad, and praying for the loved ones.

  11. Yet another fellow pilot is killed, along with his wife. Rest In Peace.

    I’ve commented before about SD. It happens much faster than you’d ever envision. I’ve noticed some of these crashes are preceded by distractions or workload stress. When hand flying IFR nothing becomes more important than managing attitude, speed and vertical speed. Forget the radio, the gps, ect. Fly the airplane. Once distracted, it’s amazing how fast trouble starts and progresses. As a CFII I would intentionally put students under the hood in task heavy situations. Within seconds the bank angle increases, the vertical speed increases, the altitude unwinds.
    If you’re IFR rated, stay current. If VFR, never think you’re immune from SD. Stay home, fly another day.

    1. If you are instrument rated, "never think you’re immune from SD."

    2. A compulsory tri-annual flight revue exercise, should be an IFR taking a non IFR pilot into cloud...just to give a stark reminder.....

  12. Seems like a great couple. Involved in their community and giving back in so many ways. Ready to ride out their older years together. Maybe not much comfort to family members and close friends but sadly they left this earth.......together.

  13. NTSB final report: continued VFR into IFR without instrument rating. Pilot's CFI never recommended using special VFR clearance for departure purposes and this crash illustrates exactly why. Stupid and pointless.


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