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Man killed in 'glider-type airplane' crash

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 12:54 p.m. MDT

A man was killed when his glider-style aircraft crashed near Cedar Valley airport Sunday afternoon. (Shutterstock) A man was killed when his glider-style aircraft crashed near Cedar Valley airport Sunday afternoon. (Shutterstock)

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — A man was killed when his glider-style aircraft crashed near Cedar Valley Airport Sunday afternoon.

Jeff Knell, 60, of Salt Lake City, was flying the aircraft when three witnesses saw it struggle and hit the ground, killing Knell before police could reach him, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cole Christensen said.

Glenn Black was driving on Pony Express Parkway when the plane crashed at 2:20 p.m. Black said he cut through a nearby field in his car straight to the glider where he found the aircraft in pieces.

"He dipped and went straight into the ground. I saw the tail go up and then dust everywhere," Black said. "I could see the pilot had been ejected from the plane. He wasn't in good shape. He wasn't moving."

The aircraft was not a typical plane but rather a "glider-type airplane," Christensen said. Friends of the pilot told Black it was an experimental aircraft they had built, which had problems that they fixed a year ago.

"It wasn’t an airplane, but it wasn’t a hang glider … It looks like an airplane just without the motor on it," Christensen said.

According to Black, the wind caught the right wing of the glider causing the crash.

"It was really low on the horizon, and it had missed its last turn to make a good approach," Black said.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company