Aussie grandfather dies in glider crash

An Australian grandfather-of-seven killed in a glider crash near Lake Hawea had been flying for more than 50 years.

David Wilson, a competitive glider from Victoria, was taking part in the South Island Gliding Championships when his craft crashed into a ridge in the Hunter Range about 5.30pm yesterday.

Mr Wilson was the only person on board the 18m Discus 2.

The Gliding Federation of Australia today confirmed Mr Wilson's death and said he was a "respected member and very experienced", AAP reports.

President Peter Cesco said he had done some courses learning how to safely handle a glider through mountains the week before the fatal crash.

An online tribute from David Cleland said Mr Wilson was a well-known pilot in Australia and had provided weather forecasting for competitions for many years using his own software.

A police statement yesterday said Mr Wilson had already died when emergency services arrived at the scene.

Competition flying at the champs was cancelled today, the Otago Daily Times reported. Gliding New Zealand spokesman Nigel Davy said the decision was taken as a sign of respect for Mr Wilson.

The crash was being investigated by New Zealand Police, the Civil Aviation Authority and Gliding New Zealand.

It is the second fatal glider incident in New Zealand in the past week, after a man in his 70s was killed in the North Island on Friday.

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