Pilots Killed In Pawnee/Glider Collision

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The FAA and NTSB are investigating why a Piper PA25 tow airplane and a Schleicher ASW 27 high-performance sailplane were involved in a collision over Middletown, Calif., that killed both pilots involved; there were no passengers. The FAA said both aircraft were approaching the same runway from different directions, but did not specifically state that the aircraft hit head-on. The accident occurred at 11 a.m. Saturday at Crazy Creek Air Adventures, which offers glider flights and open-cockpit biplane rides from its facility near Napa Valley wine country. Contacted by Lake County News, Jim Indrebo, owner of Crazy Creek Air Adventures, noted the active investigation, adding only, "I can't say much about it."

The Schleicher ASW 27 is a modern 15-meter-class single-place glider with a 48-1 L/S ratio at 54 knots, a maneuvering speed of 116 knots, and a minimum sink rate of 102 ft/min. The PA25 design, called the Pawnee, has been flying since the 1950s and is an externally braced low-wing single seater available with a 235-hp Lycoming.