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Thu, May 31, 2012

Glider Pilot Fatally Injured During Competition

Other Pilots Plan To Vote On Whether To Continue Flying

A pilot from Minnesota participating in the Soaring Society of America (SSA) Region 6 North Super Regional glider competition was fatally injured Tuesday when his aircraft went down near the end of the runway at Ionia County (MI) Airport (Y70).

The Michigan online news site "MLive" reports that the accident occurred about 1535 CDT.

Television station WXMI says airport officials delayed the event, which was scheduled from May 26th to June 2nd, until Tuesday due to hazy weather conditions. But officials would not say whether weather contributed to the accident.

"MLive" reports that some pilots were concerned about strong winds, which reportedly were gusting up to 32 miles per hour during the competition. But one of the pilots involved in the competition said that the conditions were not unfavorable to flying the aircraft. Another pilot reportedly made an off-airport landing after the thermal activity subsided and he was unable to return to Y70.

Competitors were planning to vote on whether to continue the competition following the accident. One told "MLive" "I'm not going to fly anymore here. I just can't." The accident is under investigation by the FAA and NTSB.



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