Glider Crashes Near Minden

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

A tranquil field in Carson Valley became a pilot's final resting place this afternoon.

Pilots say the man anticipated the prime for gliding morning weather patterns and took his aircraft up for a soar...only to face tragedy in the skies.

"This is the main crash site. The fuselage crashed here and I'm told there are parts of the plane a couple miles Northeast of here," says Dan Britton with the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators still aren't certain what caused the crash and if the weather was a factor.

"This is the premiere place to fly in the world, it simply is. Pilots come from all over the world to fly here. With that, you get the most demanding conditions, says Tony Sabino, a flight instructor with Soar Minden. He's based at the Minden airport says a combination of the high altitude and mountains makes for strong lift conditions.

"We teach people to fly in conditions like this. But remember, we are all students of flight. The gentleman who flew this plane is an extremely experienced pilot, albeit a little bit new to gliders."

People at the airport told us the victim was a retired United Airlines pilot who had logged thousands of hours flying.

"He's helped to give aviation and gliding a very good name that we need to have here. And, he's been helpful in the policies and planning of the airport by his contributions," says Sabino.

The victim was flying a motor glider that removes the need for a tow plane. They're considered the most sophisticated in gliding technology with a sticker price in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

No doubt today's accident is a shock and a sadness for Minden's flying community. The pilots name will be released once the next of kin is notified.


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