The family of an 18-year-old student glider pilot killed in a midair collision in 2019 is petitioning Transport Canada to make collision avoidance warning systems mandatory on gliders and towplanes. Adam Leinweber and instructor Allan Wood, 68, were killed after the glider they were in collided with their towplane shortly after release over the Cu Nim Gliding Club strip near Black Diamond, Alberta on July 26, 2019. Both aircraft were equipped with anti-collision systems but the device on the towplane wasn’t working on the day of the flight. If the system was mandatory, the towplane would not have been able to legally do the tow but such systems are approved but not required by Transport Canada. “We would like to see legislation put in place that would require the use of collision avoidance systems on all civilian gliders and tow planes in Canada,” said Bradley Leinweber, Adam’s father.
Leinweber and Wood were on the student’s 76th flight and the glider released in a right turn, rather than when both aircraft were straight and level. The pilot of the towplane did not know the glider had released and made a left turn that took it into the path of the glider, its propeller striking the empennage. The glider dove vertically into the ground while the towplane was damaged but landed safely. Leinweber said that kind of flying environment should require an extra level of safety. “By the very nature of the activity, gliders are flying in close proximity with their tow planes, and there are usually other gliders in the area often trying to use the same thermals or wave lifts to gain altitude,” he said. “And that’s why we think it’s important.”