BLAIRSTOWN — The pilot of a glider that struck trees on the approach to Blairstown Airport died when the plane crashed while trying to land Sunday afternoon.

The FAA said the Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider quickly lost altitude after hitting the trees. Only the pilot was on board. FAA records show the glider is registered to Jersey Ridge Soaring, a company based at the airport that offers flights in one-and-two passenger gliders.

Blairstown police chief Scott Johnsen said an off-duty officer and several bystanders removed the pilot from the plane after it landed upside down in a grassy area across the street from the airport. They began administering CPR before EMS arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Johnsen said the pilot was a 70-year-old man but did not disclose his identity pending notification of his family.

The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash.

A Schweizer SGS 2-33A glider is a two-seater craft commonly used for training purposes. It was last manufactured in 1981.

Small plane after crashing at Ocean County Airport in Berkeley Township 5/1/22
Small plane after crashing at Ocean County Airport in Berkeley Township 5/1/22 (Ocean County Scanner News)

Another small aircraft crash in New Jersey

It was the fifth small airplane or glider to crash at a New Jersey airport since the end of March. The crash was the first resulting in death.

A Cessna 172 that left Old Bridge Airport in Englishtown on an instructional flight on May 1 crashed at Ocean County Airport on May 2. Pictures of the plane show it standing upright on its nose against a perimeter fence that runs along Route 530. The FAA's incident notification said the plane experienced "engine issues" and crashed into the fence.

A Citation CJ3 jet that was landing on Runway 22 at Essex County Airport on April 18 was not able to touch down at the correct moment due to strong crosswinds. When the plane did land on the runway it went off the pavement into a drainage brook.

A single-engine M20M  crashed on the front lawn of a house on South Main Street in Manville while trying to land at Central Jersey Airport. The pilot got out of the plane and was hospitalized for a facial injury on April 4.

A plane rolled off the runway on April 2 at Morristown Airpot in Hanover with four people on board. It came to a stop in the grass with significant damage. Both wings had separated from the small plane, according to Morristown Green.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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