At 12h20 today a 51-year-old pilot from Norway was killed in a social gliding accident near Tempe airport. The next of kin were informed telephonically shortly thereafter. The pilot is known as Mr Arent Arntzen and was killed when his aircraft allegedly spun into the ground after breaking the tow rope of the “tug plane” taking the glider up. The pilot had more than 1000 hours of gliding experience and previously flew F16’s in the Norwegian Airforce.
The tug pilot immediately radioed the accident to a passing military helicopter who dropped a paramedic at the scene shortly thereafter. The local flying school operation at Tempe was also contacted and implemented the emergency protocol immediately. It is believed that the pilot was killed on impact. Tempe hosts gliding facilities for Europeans wishing to fly in South Africa for leisure during their winter months.
The Civil Aviation Authority has been contacted and will proceed with an investigation as to the reason for the accident.
Soaring is regarded as one of the safest sports and have a very good track record. Whether the pilot incurred a medical problem, pilot error or equipment failure is best left to the investigation team to discourage speculation.
The Soaring Society of South Africa extends its condolences to the family of the deceased.
Issued by: Dirk Smit, Chairman of Soaring Society of South Africa – SSSA