TEHACHAPI, Calif. - A 17-year-old pilot died when the glider he was flying disintegrated in the air and crashed near Mountain Valley Airport.
David Alan Quick, a licensed glider pilot from Palmdale, was approaching for a landing at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when his BG-12 glider fell apart and crashed about one mile north of the airport, authorities said.
Katrina Collins was at a recreational vehicle park nearby and heard the crash.
''I heard a pop, which made me look up,'' she said. ''Then I saw the fuselage coming out of the sky and then I heard the crash and saw something white floating like a feather to the ground.''
Glider pilot Cam Martin said Quick was a good, experienced pilot.
''It isn't as if he was a student pilot on his first course. David has been flying very well, very proficiently,'' said Martin, whose 14-year-old son, Scott, saw the crash.
Saturday's death was the second fatal glider crash in recent months near Mountain Valley Airport, where glider pilots flock to take advantage of thermals rising off the Tehachapi Mountains.
Tehachapi is about 110 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.