An elderly glider pilot killed over the weekend is the third person to die in the second small airplane to crash shortly after taking off from same Shirley airstrip in nine months.

Vincent Petruso, 74, of East Moriches, was described by his family as a “dedicated member of the Long Island Soaring Association,” a five-decade-old nonprofit group dedicated to piloting such engineless aircraft.

The group is based out of Brookhaven Calabro Airport, where Petruso’s glider left shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday until it went down about 15 minutes later near Titmus Drive in Mastic.

Two people died in August when their single-engine propeller plane that crash landed on a Shirley side street minutes after taking off from the same airport.

Two others died when their small plane crashed into the Moriches Inlet in October. That plane had taken off from Spadaro Airport in East Moriches.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to issue a preliminary report on the glider crash in about a week.



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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.