Jet, Glider Collide, All Survive
A Hawker XP800 corporate jet flying about 300 mph at 16,000 feet near Reno, Nev., on Monday afternoon collided with a Schleicher sailplane. The collision damaged the nose and landing gear of the jet, but the crew was able to make a safe belly landing at Carson City. The pilot suffered minor injuries, but the co-pilot and three passengers were fine. Meanwhile, glider pilot Hirao Akihiro, 58, bailed out over the Pine Nut Mountains, landed safely, and hiked about three miles until rescuers found him about 6:45 p.m. Other than some cuts and bruises, he was unhurt. The wreckage of the glider has not been found. On Tuesday, a local pilot said jets approaching Reno shouldn't be directed over the mountain range, which is a popular site for gliders. About 10 to 12 gliders per day are likely to be found at those altitudes, Fred LaSor, manager of a soaring facility, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. The Hawker's instrument panel was damaged in the collision, and Carson City Sheriff Kenneth Furlong told the Gazette-Journal that the inside of the jet looked like someone had detonated a hand grenade. Furlong praised the crew, pilot Annette Saunders, 38, and co-pilot Mitchell Merchant, 35, for landing the jet safely. The jet was leased from NetJets.