CAP Aircraft Crashes into Powerline in Residential Area


By WSFA 12 News Staff

[Editor’s Note: This CAP cadet appears to have done a reasonably good job. We are thankful he is okay. The point of the story is that Civil Air Patrol is not mentioned anywhere in WSFA Channel 12’s coverage of the accident. Nor is CAP mentioned in the NTSB database record of the accident. Our contributors are suggesting that this is a classic Civil Air Patrol cover-up. This CAP glider was also involved in the fatal crash caused by Civil Air Patrol pilots in 2014 at LaGrange Airport, GA.

CAP Maj Jim Matthews, Virginia Wing Group 3 Commander agrees with our contributors’ assessment. He stated: “If I were the reporter and a Wing PAO tried to convince me that a glider incident – resolved successfully and publicly – involving a cadet pilot was FOUO and that I should leave CAP out of it, after I stopped laughing I would immediately file a sidebar story about the Wing trying to suppress the details of the story.”]

16-year-old Pilot Crash Lands Glider in Deatsville

DEATSVILLE, AL (WSFA) – A 16-year-old pilot landed in a residential area while operating a glider Friday, according to the Millbrook Police Department.

The boy, whose name has not been released, was not seriously injured in the incident, according to Chief P.K. Johnson. There were no other reported injuries, and no other property besides the glider was damaged.

“This young man was very fortunate, as were the residents in the area,” Johnson said. “I believe had he not quickly assessed his situation and realized that he was not going to make it back to Wetumpka Airport, we very well could be discussing a tragedy.”

Civil Air Patrol

The crash landing happened between the roadway and a residence in the 300 block of Fraley Lane in Deatsville. When the boy lost altitude, he made the decision to attempt a crash landing.

The boy was reportedly flying towards the Wetumpka Airport when he realized he wasn’t going to make it. According to a statement he gave police, the boy initially looked for a vacant field to make a safe landing.

After seeing nowhere else to land, the boy told authorities he was forced to use trees to slow his decent into a residential area. During that descent, the glider struck a power line, briefly knocking out power in the area.

Date: 21-JUL-17
Time: 18:15:00Z
Regis#: N342BA
Aircraft Make: LET
Aircraft Model: L23 SUPER BLANIK
Event Type: INCIDENT)

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20 Comments on "CAP Aircraft Crashes into Powerline in Residential Area"

  1. There are more CAP crashes you need to add.

    [links redacted]

  2. Is it OK to share on Facebook?

  3. That misspelling Cuivil Air Patrol, deliberate to prevent searches from picking it up in the NTSB and FAA databases?

  4. I just found this website and this article.

    As the ALWG member who was the first one called by the CFIG right after this accident I am compelled to correct a few posts.

    My first calls were to the NTSB and the FAA. They each assigned their respective investigators within minutes and both called me on a conference call. I answered their questions with the information I had and the NTSB decided that since there were no injuries the Birmingham FSDO would lead the investigation and no one from NTSB would visit the site. I agreed to meet the FAA investigator at the crash site in two hours. I was directed to ask the glider pilot, tow pilot and the CFIG to each write an initial statement, which I did.

    I then called the CAP and was directed to George Vogt. He was somewhat surprised that I had already contacted the FAA and NTSB and not CAP. I explained that it only seemed appropriate to contact the authorities rather than the aircraft owner first. He asked me to let CAP handle things, to get the statements, etc. I told George I would be meeting the FAA representative that afternoon.

    Later that afternoon I was contacted by the ALWG Safety Officer who demanded that the cadet, the CFIG and I (and the FAA rep!) remain at the crash site and not move the glider until he could arrive and investigate, which he predicted would take about four hours. I told him that bad weather was forecast before dark, that the FAA investigation would suffice and that everyone was tired from the ordeal and that we were making arrangements to move the glider to a hangar as soon as it was released by the FAA to avoid the upcoming storm and so the road it was blocking could be re-poened. No CAP PAO was ever involved.

    The local police prevented new reporters from visiting the site. The news report that fails to mention it was a CAP glider is probably due to the fact that the story was written by a WSFA (television) desk reporter who spoke with the on-scene fire department captain by phone. None of us at the scene were interviewed by any reporters at all and were unaware of the WSFA interview. I am not sure the FD rep even knew it was a CAP glider or, if he did, didn’t think it was relevant. I’d suggest that was an honest oversight that, in fact, didn’t really figure into the specific event. (With the understanding that an operator should be considered for safety trends, obviously).

    To reply to the comments by Alabama IceMan, in my 30+ years of glider, SEL vintage military jet flying and several years of instructing I reserve comment on accidents for one practical reason: I wasn’t there. In this case, IceMan, the fact that the young man wears glasses has absolutely zero to do with the unfortunate accident. The flight was no videography stunt either. And–I want to be clear about this–gliders thermalling together is very common, is a critical part of training, and is in no way considered formation flying. This particular cadet had received several hours of thermal flying training. It was time for him to improve his ability to find, center and fly thermals on his own and with other gliders. One issue he was learning to overcome was to reliably locate thermals (one key being other circling gliders, in this case to be his instructor). His CFIG thought, very reasonably in my opinion, that joining him in a thermal would help the student’s progression. The accident stemmed from the student searching too long for lift before returning to the airport and, as a result, getting too low. How he handled the crash itself was exemplary.

    There are a number of areas where CAP can improve operations; specifically, accident investigating and sharing data are two important ones. But some of the assumptions made in the comments herein are simply not accurate.

  5. Did y’all ever see the PUBLIC accident report form that was filled out by CAP? They name the cadet, detail the events and George C. Vogt Civil Air Patrol Chief of Safety is the one who signed it.

    Odd thing is that the Glider Instructor who soloed him was not named. They pushed their cadet into the public view, but not the instructor on who’s ticket he was soloed?!?

    [Editor: We just found this comment that came in on September 16th and have updated the story. Sorry for the delay in getting this out.]

    • Avatar Alabama IceMan | October 16, 2017 at 10:08 | Reply

      From CAPR 60-1.2-1c. Formation flying with CAP aircraft is prohibited.

      So the idea of a low time, glasses-wearing cadet soloing in a CAP Glider to rendezvous with his instructor to turn in thermals together seems more like an UNSAFE videography stunt rather than the normal course of training progression. And this comes AFTER the mess Civil Air Patrol created at Lagrange-Callaway in February 2014. Shame on Civil Air Patrol for doing this and then working to cover it up in the press.

  6. IMHO, and this is in regard to all of the CAP and not this story alone, 25% of the people in CAP know they are lying as they are doing it and are trumpeting them to anyone who will listen. 25% of the people in CAP have no clue they are being lied to and regurgitate the lies as truth.

    These days, the other 50% are aware they are lies and are not repeating them, yet hanging their heads in shame and remaining in to retain relationships or quitting when the coast is clear. Those 50% are the ones who will reveal the truth sooner rather than later.

    What goes around comes around CAP, there are eyes upon your every move, every word you utter is recorded. The whole world knows you are a corrupt organization, and your BOG is a bully, someone just needs to step up to the plate and hit a homer.

    I hope the lies will bring about their downfall. The best thing that ever happened to me after leaving was the feeling that I no longer had to look over my shoulder wondering when the lies I was being forced to tell were going to catch up with me.

  7. If you investigate Civil Air Patrol beyond the PAO feel good stories of cadet promotions, you will find the organization in a perpetual state of denial and coverup. Sexual assaults, misappropriation of funds, aviation accidents, and intimidation & defamation to hold the line on the coverups.

    This insidious culture of Civil Air Patrol can never be adjusted to reduce abuse if the commanders of the perpetrators are allowed to demonize those who report.

  8. Jim Matthews is a hero for pointing this out on CAP Talk.

  9. Avatar BrokenArrow | August 4, 2017 at 01:57 | Reply

    That’s one twisted Civil Air Patrol glider.

  10. In my sampling of articles on AuxBeacon, this story also checks true. Civil Air Patrol is attempting to conceal that the aircraft is one of their gliders N342BA, registered to:


    Write-ups regarding this CAP cadet who mysteriously “lost altitude” are glowing, but this is hype for the public before the NTSB prepares its more objective assessment of the instructor and the operation.

    We have seen this tactic from Civil Air Patrol before, a glowing testimony before the NTSB final report reveals incompetence, inattention or even mid-air morphine drug use.

  11. Avatar Dirks Glaser | July 30, 2017 at 22:45 | Reply

    I am not involved with CAP, but I know the answer to this question.

    Dave Mitchell was the “unaware” Civil Air Patrol glider instructor in the backseat of the CAP glider at Lagrange on the day of the crash. I think of David and Civil Air Patrol often on my drive to Roosevelt Field.

    Here he is:

    • What did Civil Air Patrol do with David Mitchell after the FAA/NTSB delivered its final report on the Lagrange Crash?

      • Avatar GliderDirector | August 11, 2017 at 02:05 | Reply

        After a safety down period of just a little over a week, Georgia Wing commander Richard Greenwood had David Mitchell continue in the role of Glider Operations Director. See March 17th article in The Citizen: CAP Glider Pilots in Training

      • He is currently the Georgia Wing Glider Operations Director

  12. In its final report, published 09/29/2015, the NTSB stated that:

    “The Civil Air Patrol Flight Instructor in the glider at the time of the accident stated he was “unaware” of the additional rules at LGC with regards to glider operations, and was also unaware of the rule that required a spotter. He added that the airport authority had never corrected glider operators for not placing spotters during glider operations.

    All three CAP pilots involved in the glider operation at the time of the accident had current CAP Flight Evaluation Forms completed with satisfactory results. The areas evaluated included, ‘Local Procedures’ as well as ‘Surface and Traffic Pattern Operations.'”

    So, if any CAP readers know, who was the “unaware” Civil Air Patrol Flight Instructor in the Glider on the day of this accident?

  13. Avatar LagrangeGlider | July 28, 2017 at 18:17 | Reply

    I was a member of Civil Air Patrol in February of 2014 when that fatal crash to avoid a CAP glider at Lagrange went down. Many of us in GAWG were up in the north Georgia mountains that weekend for the famous yearly SAREX they call Frostbite.

    I have never told anyone about this, but it really creeped me out at the time. One of the leading SMs, an Incident Commander in the ES/ICS lingo of the program, was Col Tom Berg (Lt Col Thomas R. Berg).

    He and others made statements to the cadet trainees and staff of the SAREX that we should not talk about this crash with anyone. Not even parents. How messed-up to tell cadets they could not speak to a legal guardian about a fatal crash involving Civil Air Patrol pilots? Maybe they would not want us flying with the CAP pilots who were involved!!??

    I told a few CAP SMs (senior members) that I thought might explain or correct this, but it all got sucked into a black-hole of silence. When the final report came out I think some in Georgia Wing even lied about who the pilot of the glider or toe-plane was. Totally rotten!

  14. Pfft, I’m disgusted. Our Maxwell bossman might be a-fixin to ask Alvin Bedgood for his thoughts on this the next time he uses him to wash the van or terminate an honest whistle-blower. Al is always mumbling about gliders.

    Obviously, CAP worked a delay with a naive reporter to conceal the names of the Senior Member(s) running the activity and who may have failed this unfortunate cadet in briefing the winds and penetration speed.

    Until CAP ejects the political cronies and installs quality leaders, the program does not mix with the active aviation community. A few years ago, Civil Air Patrol was booted from Lagrange-Callaway Airport across the line over there in Georgia. Why? Because on February 22nd 2014 three men were killed as a result of Georgia Wing CAP’s failure to follow airport rules on glider operations. Col Richard Greenwood commanded Georgia Wing at that time.

    The NTSB found that airport regulations, published on the airport website, required that a local notice to airmen (NOTAM) be filed prior to the conduct of glider operations. Additionally, a “spotter” was prescribed to be used during glider operations, positioned in a location from which the entire length of the intersecting runway could be viewed, in order to avoid conflicts with other aircraft. The tow plane and glider were prohibited from taking off without approval from the spotter.

    Investigators found that on the day of the accident, the required NOTAM had NOT BEEN FILED regarding the day’s glider operations, nor was a spotter being used. In addition, interviews with the Civil Air Patrol glider operator revealed a widespread lack of knowledge regarding these published rules. That’s all trunews in the free4all NTSB Aviation Accident Database.

    It doesn’t end there. Four months later on July 14th this very same glider (N342BA) sustained substantial damage on impact with glider N400AZ due to the fast tempo operations authorized by the CAP ghost Director of Operations at Roosevelt Field Warm Springs Georgia. The NTSB assigns blame to CAP for that one as well.

    So after soiling the state of Georgia with bent aluminum, Maj Gen Joseph Vazquez thought it wise to bring some closer to Maxwell? If I had my druthers, Maj Jim Matthews would be promoted immediately to BOG Chairman.

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