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Collision After Overtaking on Approach

PUBLISHED: 11:52 23 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:05 10 October 2012

The two occupants of a Bellanca Decathalon and the pilot of a Piper Pawnee glider tug escaped serious injury when the two aircraft collided at fifty feet on approach to Vansant Airport in Erwinna, Pennsylvania.

The two occupants of a Bellanca Decathalon and the pilot of a Piper Pawnee glider tug escaped serious injury when the two aircraft collided at fifty feet on approach to Vansant Airport in Erwinna, Pennsylvania.

The instructor in command of the Decathlon had been flying circuits with a PPL holder student. 'We were on final and [the student] started to pull the nose up to stretch his glide,' reported the instructor. 'I told him, 'Don't do that. Lower the nose and add power.' All of a sudden there was this big 'clunk' and I said, 'What are you doing?' At that point, I took the controls but they stopped working. We hit the ground about seventy degrees nose down.'

The Decathlon was seen to be above and behind the Pawnee, which was operating non radio, after the two aircraft had made their final turn. It then passed under and overtook the Piper in what ground witnesses described as a 'slip'. The Bellanca then slowed and pitched up, at which point it was struck from behind by the Piper.

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