Former 174th, NY Air Guard commander dies in glider crash

Bob Knauff

Retired Air Force Major General Robert Knauff, who commanded the Syracuse-based 174th Fighter Wing, and then the New York Air Guard, has died in a glider crash.

Knauff assumed command of the 174th Fighter Wing in 1996, after being transferred here from the New Jersey Air Guard. He assumed command of the New York Air guard in 2005, until his retirement from the military in 2009. He was a 1971 US Air Force Academy graduate, and a veteran fighter pilot, with over 39-hundred hours logged.The Manlius resident remained active in Syracuse-area community groups, including with the Salvation Army Syracuse board of directors.

The Maricopa, Arizona Sheriff's Department says Knauff was flying in Aguila, Arizona, near Phoenix on Saturday.

The glider, which he owned, was about 100 feet in the air when a towrope connecting him to an airplane somehow became disconnected. Witnesses told investigators Knauff appeared to try making a sharp turn and then the glider stalled, hitting a pole. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash, and said the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will determine the probable cause.

Robert Knauff was 61. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.