Pilot's Story

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

A day after a pilot survived a glider crash in Sparks, he's talking and able to move.
50-year-old Eric Larson shared his amazing story...with two glider experts.
And News Channel 8's James Steiner talked to one of them today, and also went up in a glider similar to the one that crashed.
There were two people Wednesday trying to set a cross-country long distance record.
One was Eric Larson...the other, left here from the Minden airport.
Gliding experts say they had prime conditions for such an attempt.
From the end of October, to the first week in December...Northern Nevada is one of the best soaring sites in the world.
Pilots come up mostly from the Bay area...to test the Sierra.
Pilots have a two month window in the fall, and a one month window in the spring...where the jet stream is positioned JUST right.
Prime gliding conditions...if you can catch them.
For Eric Larson, and Kempton Izuno, the weather looked perfect to break a record.
Larson's flight path was Inyokern to Herlong...back to Inyokern.
The same time...Izuno left Minden, and headed as far south as he could go.
Somewhere between Mount Rose and the Reno airport...Larson's glider broke apart.
Larson started a freefall at about 20-thousand feet.
His instructor describes the glider as a lawn dart...until Larson was able to parachute to safety.
The force was so great, he lost his socks and shoes, and had to land in rocky terrain.
His instructor says the injury to Larson's spine left him about two inches shorter.
Carl Herold says Larson will have to wear a straight jacket for the next few months...but could be released from the hospital by Friday.
A harrowing story to tell for a pilot with more than thirty years experience.
An interesting part of the story is that a UPS driver saw an item fall in front of his truck.
Turned out to be Larson's wallet.
No money, but credit cards and ID in tact.
The wallet later appeared that day at Washoe Medical Center.


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