Saturday Afternoon Mishap Claims Pilot's Life
A preliminary investigation into the fatal crash of a glider
near Sylacauga, AL this weekend indicates the aircraft's detachable
wings folded up inflight, leading to the accident that claimed the
life of pilot Robert Wallace, 65.
The Sylacauga Daily Home reports investigators with the FAA and
NTSB were on the scene Sunday, one day after Wallace's SZD 36A
glider (shown above) impacted a rock quarry shortly after
being towed into the air from Merkel Field. The pilot was the only
NTSB Investigator Butch Wilson states there is no known issue
with the 36A's detachable wings, so long as they are mounted
properly to the fuselage prior to flight.
"(The wings) folded straight up and then separated," Wilson
said. "We don’t know why they folded."
Witnesses at the quarry told authorities they saw the glider
break apart as it headed towards them, Talledega County Deputy
Coroner Shaddix Murphy told the paper.
Talladega County Deputy Coroner Shaddix Murphy said witnesses at
the quarry told officials they saw the glider heading toward the
quarry and then breaking apart as it approached.
Wallace was a member of the Sylacauga Soaring Society, based at
Merkel. The club lists Wallace as holding a club altitude record of
9,100' MSL, set in March 2006.
Report created 4/3/2007 Record 1
Make/Model: GLID Description: SZD 36A
Date: 03/30/2007 Time: 2158
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
Fatal Mid Air: N Missing:
City: SYLACAUGA State: AL Country:
ACFT BROKE APART AND CRASHED INTO A ROCK QUARRY, THE ONE
PERSON ON BOARD
WAS FATALLY INJURED, SYLACAUGA, AL
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 0 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
WEATHER: NOT REPORTED
Activity: Unknown Phase:
Unknown Operation: OTHER
Dep Date: Dep.
Last Radio Cont:
FAA FSDO: BIRMINGHAM, AL
Entry date: 04/02/2007