Sunday, April 17, 2022

Schleicher ASW 19B, N19KW: Fatal accident occurred April 16, 2022 at Herlong Recreational Airport (KHEG), Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida

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


Location: JACKSONVILLE, Florida 
Accident Number: ERA22FA189
Date  Time: April 16, 2022, 13:15 Local Registration: N19KW
Aircraft: Schleicher ASW-19B
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 16, 2022, about 1315 eastern daylight time, a Schleicher ASW-19B glider, N19KW, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at the Herlong Recreational Airport (HEG), Jacksonville, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured. The glider was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the tow pilot, shortly after becoming airborne, he observed the glider in his rearview mirror. He stated that the glider climbed above him, then descended, then climbed again. As the tow pilot reached for the tow-release handle to release the glider, he heard the glider pilot say “release” over the radio. The glider was released, and the tow pilot immediately entered a right turn at an altitude of about 250 ft above ground level (agl). He could not immediately see the glider; however, a few seconds later, he saw the glider in the trees adjacent to the runway.

Another pilot, who had just dropped off parachute jumpers, was descending through 9,000 ft agl directly over the airport and could see the tow plane and glider taking off. He said he had a “bird’s eye view” of the entire accident. The pilot said that when the glider became airborne it pitched up about 30 to 40°, and he could see the entire nose of the glider. He said the glider “stalled and nosed over” before it entered a secondary stall and pitched up again. He heard the glider pilot on the UNICOM frequency yelling at the tow pilot to “take it easy … something is not right” followed by the sound of the tow “release” mechanism. The glider then made a left “knife-edge” turn about 200 ft agl. The glider continued in a descending left turn, the left wing impacted the ground first and the tail section separated.

The accident pilot was a member of the local soaring club, and the accident was witnessed by several people on the ground. The witnesses stated that the glider made abnormal pitch oscillations before it released from the tow plane from about 100-150 ft agl. The glider then entered a 30° left turn back to the airport. While in the turn, the glider descended and did not pull up or level out before it impacted the ground. One witness said the glider appeared to have lost elevator authority.

On-scene examination of the glider revealed that all major components of the glider were accounted for at the accident site. The glider came to rest upright in 3 to 4 ft-high brush/trees in a wetland area adjacent to the departure end of the runway. The cockpit area was heavily fragmented. The canopy had separated and was found forward and to the right of the main wreckage.

An impact scar was observed on the ground about 6 ft behind the left wing. The outboard half-section of the left wing was folded over the top of the left wing but remained attached to the wing via control tubing. The right-wing was intact, but the tip came to rest up against a small tree. The speed brakes were extended on both wings.

The glider’s tail section (t-tail) was partially separated at the empennage and was resting on the right horizontal stabilizer, which was bent down about 90° mid-span. The vertical and left horizontal stabilizers, the rudder, and the elevator were undamaged.

Flight control continuity was established for all flight control surfaces to the cockpit area except for the elevator. The elevator control, which includes a fixed ball joint on the base of the elevator and the elevator control tube that extended the length of the vertical stabilizer, was not connected as required by preflight flight assembly procedures. The proper function of the elevator connection was manually tested several times, and no anomalies were noted. The base of the connection clasp contained a small hole for the purpose of using a spring clip to secure the connection. No evidence of a spring clip or other securing device was observed.
The tow pilot told a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspector shortly after the accident, that the pilot had trailered the glider to the airport that day and assembled the glider himself.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Schleicher
Registration: N19KW
Model/Series: ASW-19B
Aircraft Category: Glider
Amateur Built:
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: HEG,86 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C /18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: JACKSONVILLE, FL
Destination: JACKSONVILLE, FL

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: 30.277778,-81.805944

Glider crashed under unknown circumstances in the woods.

Date: 16-APR-22
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N19KW
Aircraft Make: SCHLEICHER
Aircraft Model: ASW-19B
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 fatal 
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: DESTROYED
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: JACKSONVILLE
State: FLORIDA

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


JACKSONVILLE, Florida — A 66-year-old man was found dead in his glider plane at the Herlong Airport.

Police say he was an experienced glider pilot.

“He was flying. He released the lever to let go of the tow rope of the airplane. Immediately the glider appeared to be in some sort of distress and crashed into the ground," said Lt. Mike Silcox with the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office. 

The pilot released the lever at about 150 feet in the air.

“Just off from the top of my head, if he released the tow rope and it simply dove into the ground then there was some type of mechanical problem," said James Goolsby, who is very experienced with planes. 

Goolsby has been flying planes for decades, he says gliders are assembled and put together just before every flight.

“If he forgot something or if something wasn’t attached or failed that would explain the diving right away into the ground,” said Goolsby. 

Goolsby says these glider aircraft are very efficient, but you do have to plan ahead for flights.

“It’s a very nice way to go. I mean there’s no noise. you have to be very conscious of what the weather is around you and where the thermals might be and at one point you are going to have to come down," said Goolsby. 

Police are asking if anyone knows any information from the crash to contact them.