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NTSB releases details of fatal plane crash

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — The National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary accident report on a fatal plane crash earlier this month includes details on the moments before the glider tow plane crashed onto private property off Ridgeway Road.

Pilot Steven B. Zaboji, 76, of Reston, was killed in the crash.

Zaboji was a member of the Skyline Soaring Club, which is based at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport, according to the report. He was towing a glider the afternoon of Oct. 7 in a Piper Pawnee plane. A flight instructor in the attached glider was giving an introductory flight to a passenger, the report said.

The flight instructor said the takeoff was normal, but he soon noticed the airplane was below and to the right of the glider, according to the report. He also said that the cable attaching the two aircrafts had some slack.

The flight instructor released the cable, performed a 180-degree turn and landed successfully, the report said.

The instructor then approached a nearby back yard in which the plane had crashed, and saw a "fireball," the report said. There was a small crater in the backyard, and the main wreckage settled upright about 65 feet to the north.

The wreckage, which included separated landing gear and an engine, was retained for further examination, the report said. All major airplane components were recovered, but there were no readable cockpit instruments.

The NTSB also will review a video shot from the glider that captured portions of the flight, but not the crash.

Zaboji had flown about 11,900 hours as of Oct. 2015, and had airline transport pilot, commercial pilot, and flight instructor certificates.

The plane was built in 1981. As of its last inspection, it had about 8,200 hours of operation time and 468 hours since its last overhaul, the report said.




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