An 80-year-old glider pilot experienced a mishap Sunday morning when he tried to land at the Waimea-Kohala Airport.
The glider, a motorized $250,000 carbon-fiber Schleicher ASH 25 Mi, had finished its flight and was returning to the airport. Turning east along the runway to land, the pilot experienced a loss of lift, according to the Fire Department and Waimea Fire Capt. Bill Bergin.
Bergin was told these final pre-landing maneuvers typically take place 1,500 feet above ground level.
The pilot tried to start the craft’s engine, but he was unable to do so before he made a forced landing in a pasture about 150 yards southeast of the runway.
The pilot complained of pain to his sternum from the harness upon impact. He was admitted to North Hawaii Community Hospital in stable condition the Fire Department said after reporting to the 10:07 a.m. call.
“This pilot is a well-known glider pilot and he’s just out for … recreational flying,” Bergin said.
The glider received moderate damage, Bergin said.
Bergin was in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board, which typically conducts investigations into the cause of aircraft incidents. A check of the NTSB database found no other crashes with this model of glider.
A group of glider enthusiasts uses the airport as home base for the Mauna Kea Soaring Club.