Brockport man killed in plane crash in Cattaraugus County

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 April 2021 at 11:08 am

William Mandelare frequently flew out of Pine Hill and Genesee County airports

A Brockport man killed in a small plane crash Wednesday in Cattaraugus County was well known at Genesee County and Pine Hill airports.

William Mandelare of Brockport died in the crash which seriously injured Raymond Groetsch, also of Brockport. Groetsch is reported in critical condition.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office said Groetsch was flying the plane and Mandelare was the passenger. The cause of the accident is still under investigation with the assistance of the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.

Mandelare, 80, was an experienced pilot who taught Batavia flight instructor Pete Lockner and gave him his commercial license in 1982, Lockner said this morning. Lockner also previously taught flying at Pine Hill and said Mandelare frequently flew out of there.

Lockner is saddened by the news. He said Mandelare retired in 1982 as a mechanical drawing teacher in the Greece School District. He came to Genesee County Airport to be a flight instructor for Dick Drilling, who ran the airport at the time.

Mandelare, who was a short man, was known as “Little Bill” to his friends. Lockner said Mandelare always used a little seat when flying so he could reach the pedals, and that when in a plane, he always insisted on riding right seat.

Lockner described the Cessna 177 Cardinal as a tricky plane to fly. That model has a stabilator in the horizontal tail, rather than an elevator. That means when landing, the plane has to be put in a nose-up position to adjust the pitch. If the pilot forgot to re-adjust the pitch when taking off, the plane could have been in too sharp a nose-up position, causing it to stall. When a plane stalls, the left wing always drops and hits the ground first, and then cartwheels, which is what it appears happened in Mandelare’s case.

Lockner himself has been flying since 1981 and been giving flight instruction since 1986, so is familiar with the configuration of many aircraft.