A preliminary accident report on the Saturday crash of a glider in Mastic will be posted on the National Transportation Safety Board website within 10 days, a spokesman for the agency said Sunday.
Describing the investigation process generally, spokesman Eric Weiss said that NTSB personnel would focus on "perishable" evidence initially, documenting any traces of the crash, such as marks left on the ground, that are vulnerable to the elements, and interviewing witnesses.
The probable cause of the crash won't be officially determined for another 12 to 18 months, he said.
The pilot, Vincent Petruso, 74, of East Moriches, was killed when the glider he was piloting crashed in a wooded area in Mastic as he attempted to return to the runway at Brookhaven Calabro Airport, federal officials said. Petruso's glider took off from the town-run airport at 10:54 a.m. and crashed at 11:05 a.m., Suffolk police said.
The orange-and-white Schweizer SGS glider was airborne for 11 minutes before it plunged into trees on state Department of Transportation property south of Sunrise Highway, authorities said.
Petruso was the only person in the sailplane at the time of the crash, according to authorities. No other injuries were reported. The retired computer software analyst was a past president of a glider pilots' group.
Several witnesses saw the glider approaching the runway when it suddenly veered off to the pilot's right and went into a spiral, Robert Gretz, a senior air-safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday.
A wake is scheduled for Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Raynor & D'Andrea Funeral Home, 245 Main St., in West Sayville. Cremation will follow.
With Robert Brodsky
and Nicole Fuller