I don't have the details about the accident yet, but Eric asked me to post this to let everyone know. He said he will follow up later with additional information.
Shane recently returned from two years of missionary work in Guatemala, and had enthusiatically returned to flying.
I'd like to offer my heartfelt condolences to his parents Orrin and Dianne, to his brothers and sisters, and to his girlfriend.
I am truly saddened to hear of Shane’s passing and offer my heart felt condolences to his friends and family. I had the opportunity of meeting Shane and sharing some air at Miller on my first trip to Tucson two years ago just before his trip to Guatemala. I always read this forum and have been intrigued by Shane’s enthusiasm as he returned to flying again. Shane, your passing will leave a void in our lives and the hangliding community, you will be greatly missed.
We, as a local community, have a responsibility to learn all we can from the accident and share that knowledge with the broader flying community.
To that end, I am requesting that anyone who witnessed the incident write down what you observed and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know it’s painful, but the accuracy of observations decreases rapidly with time, so please do it as soon as you can possibly manage.
Please send me the raw data without attempting to analyze it, make sense of it, or sanitize it. I will then correlate the observations, and I will likely be talking with each of you to clarify points of confusion. One of the end products will be the accident report, fully devoid of names, that I must file with USHPA.
Perhaps a much more important artifact I hope to produce is a set of suggestions about systemic changes we might make as a local flying club and suggest to the broader organization.
Thank you all for your help with this very unpleasant task.
Raquel says that Shane spoke of how lucky he was to have such a good family and to be a Mormon. You could tell how devoted he was to his spiritual growth and hang gliding. I was a little envious at how quickly he was progressing as a pilot. He was a rising star and would have been a great pilot someday....just like his father. At one point he asked me if I still got nervous before launch, so ironically we discussed the Glen Bender tragedy and how to avoid his ultimate mistake.
Shane launched first and I followed shortly afterward. Shane managed to soar over the PG launch and for a short while we flew together there. He had a perfect landing and commented that the only reason he landed was to give the PG pilot room to launch...what a guy. I'll never forget that day.
Later, Shane told me that a Harris hawk landed on his HG nose just after he landed. Kirk (one of the visiting San Diego PG pilots) flies with a trained hawk. It must have been a magical moment.
Shane first flew solo at age 12 on my very old Excaliber PG. I sold that PG to Paul St. Onge and Orrin eventually got it. If I remember the story correctly, Shane's first flight was at Sheba Mountain near Flagstaff.
I will miss Shane.