The brother and sister of a man killed in a glider crash in Jacumba spoke first with NBC 7 Sunday about their beloved sibling, who will be very much missed.
On Saturday, Richard “Rick” Noble, 63, went out to San Diego’s Jacumba area for his first-ever glider plane lesson with an instructor.
At around 12:30 p.m., the whole day changed.
That’s when Noble, along with Martin “Marty” Rothwell, 54, were involved in a fatal glider plane crash near the Jacumba Airport. Both men, who were riding together inside an Allstar PZL glider were killed, the FAA and law enforcement confirmed.
On Sunday, NBC 7 spoke with Noble’s sister, Kathleen Carroll, and brother, Robert Noble.
The siblings fondly remembered Noble as a devoted brother, father, friend and decorated Naval officer who died flying – something he very much loved.
“My brother was a passionate pilot. My brother, and father and I actually all flew all the way across the country when he and I were 12 years old, so we’ve all had a passion for flying. Rick wanted to fly gliders now,” recalled Robert.
“He was a character; a wild teenager who grew up to become a Navy pilot and officer,” Carroll told NBC 7. “[He was] a wonderful listener, and that’s what will be so missed by all of his friends and family. He was a very loyal friend. “
“I take some comfort in knowing he was happy doing this [flying],” she added.
The siblings said Noble was an adventurous spirit, which led him to become a Navy pilot bomber who flew A-6s. He grew up alongside his siblings and their parents in Rancho Santa Fe.
These days, Noble lived part-time in Florida and spent the rest of his time in San Diego, helping to care for their elderly mother.
Carroll said Noble was also an avid race-walker, walking every morning around La Jolla Cove or Torrey Pines. He enjoyed body-surfing as well.
On Sunday, Noble had planned to ride Segways around San Diego with Robert.
Instead, the family is now trying to heal by remembering the great life Noble lived.
Meanwhile, NBC 7 has learned that the glider plane that crashed in Jacumba is called a “Perkoz,” and is registered to the Associated Glider Clubs of Southern California (AGCSC).
The deadly crash is still being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
According to reports released by the county medical examiner’s office on Sunday, the glider plane was being towed and the towline was released at about 100 feet. For unknown reasons, the glider lost control, rapidly decelerated and fatally struck the ground.
On Sunday, NBC 7 spoke with Rolf Schulze, former president of the AGCSC, about the deaths of Noble and Rothwell.
“Richard Noble was a visitor [flying with the AGCSC] group. He just went for a ride that day. It’s very tragic what happened,” said Schulze.
“Marty was the President of the Club. He has a family. I don’t know the family well, but I know he leaves behind a family. This is sad,” Schulze added.
NBC 7 also spoke off-camera with Rothwell’s family, who was understandably distraught over his death.
His wife said Rothwell was a wonderful, loving person.