A glider pilot forced to make an emergency landing near Tumalo Falls on Friday afternoon suffered only minor injuries, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
Reports of an airplane crash sent deputies to the area at approximately 2:20 p.m. On Forest Service Road 4603, the road between Tumalo Falls and Skyliners Road, they found pilot John Bentley, 52, of Bend, and his crashed glider.
Bentley told deputies he’d started his flight from the Bend Airport and spent nearly an hour in the air. West of Bend, he experienced a loss of lift and elected to try to land the glider on the gravel road.
As Bentley neared the ground, one of his wings clipped a small tree — the aircraft has a wingspan of more than 66 feet — and he crashed.
Bentley declined medical attention from medical personnel on the scene.
Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified, and spoke with Bentley before the glider was moved from the crash scene.
Bentley is described as an experienced pilot who has spent approximately 30 years flying both gliders and powered aircraft.