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Midair Collisions

PUBLISHED: 12:38 23 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:06 10 October 2012

Two midair collisions occurred within two days in the USA in February 2000.

Two midair collisions occurred within two days in the USA in February 2000.

At Zion, Illinois, a student pilot's C172 and a Zlin 242L collided. The Zlin was flown by a well known Chicago radio personality, Bob Collins, along with one passenger. The student died when her 172 crashed onto a road, and the two aboard the Zlin died when it crashed on the roof of a hospital. Some people in the hospital suffered minor injuries.

North of Los Angeles, a Bellanca Scout and a Questair Venture homebuilt collided. The homebuilt, with a man and women aboard, was probably inbound to land at Van Nuys. The Scout, with two men aboard, was patrolling a gas pipeline. The homebuilt hit power lines after the collision, and the Scout crashed and burned on a golf course. All four involved died.

The crashes coincide with the publication in the UK of our own Airprox Board's analysis of 95 airprox incidents.

The 252 page report also details an event where a Quickie Q2 kitplane departing Enstone climbed and turned into the path of a student pilot's Robin DR400. The student was on her first solo cross country. Aircraft colours, hazy (albeit reasonable) VMC, and the fact that the Quickie would have been climbing from below the Robin's wing, all contributed to the late sightings.

Both pilots took avoiding action. The Board points out that it was the Quickie pilot's responsibility to check the airspace into which he was climbing. The Quickie pilot later formated on the Robin (to note registration details). This was disconcerting for the Robin student pilot and also contrary to the Rules of the Air.

In another airprox, a pilot should have made a standard overhead join at Welshpool rather than attempting a straight in approach. And at Duxford, a C421 pilot infringed the ATZ and passed below a Pitts which was practising aerobatics, emitting smoke, and about to perform a stall turn. The C421 pilot admits to infringing the zone when he had given himself a heavy workload during a brief familiarisation flight.

And 11.5 miles south west of Newbury, two PA 28s, both with an instructor and a student aboard, passed at 'minimal miss distances'. The Board says that, in less than ideal visibility, 'both crews might to some extent have been preoccupied with navigation'. The late sightings, by both crews, were judged to be the cause of this 'high risk' airprox at 2,900/3,000 feet last May Bank Holiday.

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