After a fatal crash of a glider last Friday, Höfern airfield is to remain closed indefinitely. The state of Tyrol has imposed on the operators that the obstacle situation must be re-measured. However, a causal connection with the most recent accident is ruled out – at least publicly.
On Friday, August 18, 2023, a 58-year-old German crashed his glider. According to initial findings, the winds occurring at the time of the accident could have played a not inconsiderable role. The pilot died in the crash. The cause of the accident is now being determined by experts and authorities.
The responsible supervisory authority has now decided that the Reutte-Höfen airfield will be closed for an indefinite period. This also has consequences for two machines that do not have their "home base" here, but were only guests. These were denied take-off permission without giving any further reasons. An affected aircraft owner explains in an interview with the Austrian broadcaster that he cannot understand this official decision. Sooner or later he will have to leave with his machine anyway, because it is not taken away by truck.
The fact that this is the third serious accident in two years seems to have played a significant role in the authority's decision. For example, about a year ago, a small plane crashed onto the roof of a house. However, a representative of the state of Tyrol emphasizes that the accidents would not have been the cause of the ban.
Christian Senn, chairman of the Ausserfern gliding club, emphasizes that he has never seen the approach chosen. According to him, it has never happened – at least in Austria – that airfields have been closed for several days after accidents. Wolfgang Falch, Chairman of the Reutte-Höfen Aviation Club, emphasizes that the three accidents are already clear that they are not related to the airfield or the airfield operator. The safety situation on the pitch would not have been the cause of the crashes. He criticizes the responsible aviation authority of the state of Tyrol.
On the part of the state government, Klaus Hohenauer, who works in the aviation sector, rules out that the decision has a causal relationship with the most recent accident. You would just have visited the airfield to check if everything is in order with security and then decide. It would not be the task to draw conclusions, because the public prosecutor's office would be responsible for this in the case of flight accidents.
Nevertheless, there is a requirement for the operators, because they have to remeasure the obstacle situation around the runway and submit the documents to the authorities. The two clubs want to do this in the next few days. The costs for this have to be borne by the operators, although it is still completely open whether this will be approved or not.