Fri, Nov 17, 2006
Father, Son Pilot Team Perish In Crash
Searchers on Thursday found the crash site of a motorglider
missing since the day before. Rescuers recovered the bodies of the
two pilots from the wreckage of their Stemme S10-V powered
glider (file illustration of Stemme S10-VT below) on the slopes of
New Zealand's Mount Prospect.
Sixty-nine-year old Englishmen Owen Truelove and his son,
thirty-seven-year old James were competing in the South Island
Regional Gliding championship. The pair was three hours overdue
when the call went out to search and rescue teams.
The elder Truelove was a highly-experienced glider pilot.
Indeed, he had actually flown the accident aircraft from the UK to
New Zealand in 2004. The flight took 2 1/2 months and 48 stops.
A competition spokesman believes the aircraft encountered a
severe downdraft trying to get over a steep ridge line. Downdrafts
are a known phenomenon for mountain flying. Usually pilots account
for downdrafts by approaching ridge lines at a higher altitude and
crossing at an angle allowing a turn downhill if necessary.
Bill Walker, a spokesman for the gliding club, told the UK
newspaper Telegraph, "It was a particularly rough day with extreme
conditions. One always has to be wary in this area when these
Rescue personnel say the motorglider was equipped with an ELT,
which for some reason didn't activate.
The rescue effort involved 12 aircraft including eight
helicopters. Crews had to set down a distance from the crash site
and approach the area on foot in a driving rain.
Investigators are on the way to scene hoping to determine the
cause of the crash.
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