Misrigged Civil Air Patrol Glider Crashes, Seriously Injuring Pilot

Schweizer SGS 2-33A Glider, N2045TSchweizer SGS 2-33A Glider, N2045T

By Anonymous | AuxBeacon News Contributor

[Editor’s Note: We received an anonymous tip regarding this crash. Thank you for your contribution. This CAP glider crash was attributed to the pilot’s failure to perform a thorough pre-flight inspection. The pilot, Lt Col Eldon Vosseller of Basking Ridge, NJ was 70 years old.]

On May 4th 2013, a Civil Air Patrol Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider, N2045T, was substantially damaged resulting in one serious injury when it impacted trees and terrain, near Erwinna, Pennsylvania. The mechanic who conducted a flight control check after the annual inspection with assistance from another pilot seated in the cockpit stated that he confirmed movement of the rudder while at the rear of the glider.

However, he did not see which pedal the pilot was pushing and did not verbally confirm the corresponding position of the rudder pedals. If the pilot had conducted a thorough pre-flight inspection, he should have been able to detect that the rudder control cables were rigged backward.

Probable Cause
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s loss of glider control due to improper rigging of the rudder control cables, the mechanic’s inadequate flight control checks following the glider’s most recent annual inspection, and the pilot’s failure to perform a thorough pre-flight inspection.


BUCKS COUNTY, PA — A 70-year-old New Jersey pilot who was injured Saturday after his glider crashed at a Bucks County airfield remains in the hospital, according to a report in Lehigh Valley’s The Morning Call.

Eldon Vosseller, of the Basking Ridge section of Bernards, was hospitalized for injuries just after noon Saturday after his glider crashed during take-off on the grassy runway of Van Sant Airport in Tinicum Township, PA.

Vosseller had been piloting a New Jersey Civil Air Patrol glider when it crashed.
Steven Long, chief of the Bucks County Rangers, told The Morning Call that Vosseller remained in the hospital’s intensive-care unit.

A nursing supervisor at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem, Pa., would not confirm Tuesday morning the extent of Vosseller’s injuries or his status at the hospital.
Messages left for family members at Vosseller’s Basking Ridge home had not yet been returned.


May 05, 2013 | By Patrick Lester, Of The Morning Call:

The glider pilot injured after crashing at a Bucks County airfield on Saturday remained in the intensive care unit at St. Luke’s University Hospital-Fountain Hill Sunday, said Steven Long, chief of the Bucks County Rangers.

Eldon Vosseller, 70, of Basking Ridge, N.J., was hurt during take-off on the grass runway of Van Sant Airport in Tinicum Township, Long said.

The hospital has not released Vosseller’s condition.

Long said that officials from the Federal Aviation Administration would be visiting the site of the crash on Monday.

The crash happened after noon as Vosseller was being towed in a New Jersey Civil Air Patrol glider by a single-engine fixed-wing plane, Long said.

Vosseller “realized something was wrong,” released the towrope, and the glider “pancaked” on the runway after falling, Long said.