Sunday, August 25, 2019

Midair Collision: Extra EA.300LC, N32WR and Cessna 172 Skyhawk, N6021A; accident occurred July 29, 2018 near North Fox Island Airport (6Y3), Leelanau County, Michigan



The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.


Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation; Braunschweig, FN 
  
N32WR  Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

N32WR  Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms




Location: North Fox Island, MI
Accident Number: CEN18LA298A
Date & Time: 07/29/2018, 1435 EDT
Registration: N32WR
Aircraft: Extra EA300
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 29, 2018, about 1435 eastern daylight time, an Extra EA300 LC airplane, N32WR, and a Cessna 172 airplane, N6021A, collided inflight over runway 25 at the North Fox Island Airport (6Y3), North Fox Island, Michigan. The the Extra EA300 LC was landing and the Cessna 172 was departing. The airline transport pilot and passenger on the Extra EA300 LC were uninjured and the airline transport pilot and two passengers on the Cessna 172 received minor injuries. The Extra EA300 LC sustained substantial right-wing damage and the Cessna 172 sustained substantial empennage, left wing, and fuselage damage during the collision and subsequent impact with terrain. The Extra EA300 LC was registered to Captain Property and Investment LLC and was operated by its pilot. The Cessna 172 was registered to and operated by its pilot. Both flights were being conducted as Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flights. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flights were not operated on flight plans. The Extra EA300 LC departed from the Appleton International Airport, near Appleton, Wisconsin, and was destined for 6Y3. The Cessna 172 was originating from 6Y3 at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot of N32WR, the flight was uneventful until the landing phase. He initiated the descent approximately 10 miles from 6Y3 and started self-announcing his intentions "in accordance with Advisory Circular 90-66B." At no time were there any responses or transmissions heard from other aircraft at 6Y3. Upon reaching the pattern altitude of 1,700 ft, the pilot continued the left-hand pattern to final.

At approximately 30-40 feet above the surface, the pilot started to round out while slowing in order to land just beyond the threshold to maximize the runway surface for the rollout. He advised that there were no aircraft visible during the final and approach to landing until an estimated 20-30 feet above the landing surface just prior to the threshold which was marked by 3 yellow cones. Out of the pilot's right side, just in front of the right-hand wing, he saw a bright object which turned out to be a departing airplane.

The pilot stated that N32WR aircraft impacted the other airplane. He said that the airplane yawed strongly to the right. The pilot was able to regain control and ended up coming to a stop about 800 ft beyond the resting place of the other airplane, near the imaginary runway centerline. The pilot determined his passenger was ok and he egressed to help the other airplane's occupants.

The pilot then ran toward the other airplane, a Cessna 172. One Cessna occupant was already out of the airplane and another left the airplane through the right-hand door. The third occupant was still inside, but before the Extra pilot could reach the airplane, the third occupant had departed through the right-hand door as well. There was an observed fuel leak from the left-hand wing of the Cessna as fuel was exiting out of the topside wing vent.

According to the passenger in N32WP, the flight was approaching North Fox Island and the pilot announced on the radio we were approaching with the intention of landing on the Island. He checked the weather on Beaver Island, the weather report was good and again on the radio said we were approaching, and we were minutes out. They heard no response. The passenger reiterated that the pilot announced on the radio at least 4 times saying we were heading to North Fox Island with the intention of landing and we never received a response. The pilot set up for final approach and the conditions of the field looked good. They saw a different aircraft at the opposite end of the airstrip, and the pilot decided to land. The passenger indicated that the other aircraft that came up under us was not observed. When the airplane came to a final stop the passenger's first response to ask the pilot "what just happened." The pilot responded that "we just hit another airplane."

According to the pilot of N6021A, the airplane was flown into 6Y3 for overnight on a camping trip. The pilot of N6021A started engines on the south side of the airfield about 1422. The airplane was positioned in an open clearing on the south end of the airfield and the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), 122.9 megahertz, was monitored. Preflight checks were conducted, and the airplane was taxied down the center of the runway. The pilot reported that he heard a radio call from Washington Island Airport. A radio call from the 172 announced the airplane's departure in the blind. The planned takeoff was a soft field, minimum run departure with anticipated obstructions, crosswinds, and wind shear at tree top level. No turning circle was present at the departure end of the runway and the pilot advised that a soft/short, close to gross weight takeoff was made for a rolling departure with as much runway ahead as possible. No other airplanes were heard or seen. The takeoff was as planned, and the airplane lifted off the ground into ground effect about 5 to 7 ft above ground level. The airplane was accelerated to best angle of climb speed plus 10 knots. About 1431, a loud explosion occurred, and the airplane swerved 100° to the right. Full counter control deployment brought the airplane to remain in ground effect. The airplane was right of centerline and a second explosion and "violent" stop occurred. During the stopping contact, the airplane was 50° off runway heading and the left main landing gear dug into the soft soil. The left wing remained on the heading and the rest of the airplane rotated to a stop about 30° off runway heading, which forced the left wing into the cabin where it trapped the pilot in the right seat. The passenger in the left seat assisted the right seated pilot to get out of the airplane.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 47, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/11/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/20/2018
Flight Time:  4600 hours (Total, all aircraft), 215 hours (Total, this make and model), 4175 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 45 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot of N3ZWR held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with a multi engine land rating and he held commercial pilot privileges in single-engine land airplanes. He also held a flight instructor certificate with single-engine and multi engine ratings. The pilot held an FAA first class medical certificate, dated June 11, 2018, with a limitation that the medical was not valid for any class after September 30, 2019. Additionally, the pilot held a Statement of Demonstrated Ability for monocular vision.

The pilot of N6021A held an FAA airline transport pilot certificate with a multi engine land rating and he held commercial pilot privileges in single-engine land airplanes. He also held a flight instructor certificate with single-engine and multi engine ratings. The pilot held an FAA first class medical certificate dated, July 24, 2018, with a limitation to wear corrective lenses. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Extra
Registration: N32WR
Model/Series: EA300 LC
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Aerobatic
Serial Number: LC033
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/07/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2095 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 217 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: AEIO-580-B1A
Registered Owner: Captain Property And Investment Llc
Rated Power: 315 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

N32WR was a single-engine, two-place, low-wing, fixed tailwheel landing gear, monoplane, designed to be fully aerobatic. The airplane was powered by a 315-horsepower engine which drove a three-bladed, constant-speed propeller. The pilot reported that the airplane underwent an annual on December 7, 2017 and that the airplane accumulated 217 hours of total time at the time of the accident. The fuselage was constructed of a tubular steel frame covered with aluminum and fabric fairings; the wing's construction was carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CRP). The ailerons were almost full span and there are no flaps. The airplane had two cockpits, in tandem, covered with a clear, one-piece canopy. The airplane stalls about 55 to 60 kts based on weight.

N6021A, was a single engine, four-place, high-wing, fixed tricycle landing gear, all-metal design airplane. The airplane was powered by a 145-horsepower engine which drove a fixed pitch propeller. The pilot reported that the airplane underwent an annual in January of 2018 and that the airplane accumulated 2,800 hours of total time. The airplane had side-by-side seating in the front and a rear couch (two seats) in the back of the cabin. The airplane had dual flight controls. The airplane had a high wing that constituted the roof of the airplane's cabin. The airplane's checklist for an obstacle clearance takeoff indicated a best angle of climb speed of 60 mph (about 52 kts).

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSJX, 666 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1435 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 36°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 230°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Appleton, WI (ATW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: North Fox Island, MI (6Y3)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following; None
Departure Time: 1237
Type of Airspace:

At 1435, the recorded weather at the Beaver Island Airport, Beaver Island, Michigan, was: Wind 230° at 8 kts, variable from 210° to 270°; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 25° C; dew point 16° C; altimeter 30.06 inches of mercury.

Airport Information

Airport: NORTH FOX ISLAND (6Y3)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 639 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

6Y3 was a public, non-towered airport, which was owned by the State of Michigan, Department of Natural Resources and was leased to the Recreational Aviation Foundation. It was located on North Fox Island about 24 nautical miles northwest of Charlevoix, Michigan and about 15 nautical miles southwest of Beaver Island, Michigan. The airport had one runway and an estimated elevation of 639 ft above mean sea level. Runway 7/25 was a 3,000 ft by 100 ft runway with a turf surface. The airport used 122.9 megahertz as its CTAF. Remarks listed on the FAA's airport master record at the time of the accident included:

RWY 07 RWY & DISPL-D THRESHOLDS MKD WITH 3- YELLOW CONES ...
TALL TREES ALL QUADRANTS. TREES OBSTRUCT WINDSOCK, READINGS UNRELIABLE

The Michigan Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics published a Michigan Airport Directory and provided Android and Apple applications that included airport information on 6Y3. Their directory similarly listed the airport remarks indicated on the FAA's master record. However, the Michigan Airport Directory also listed the leaseholder's website and indicated it had a safety brief.

The leaseholder's website homepage contained a link to pilot information. The pilot information dropdown menu included a safety briefing link where a safety briefing can be reviewed before landing at 6Y3. That 6Y3 safety briefing page, in part, stated:

Airstrip Communication Frequency
122.9 CTAF (recommend monitor 122.8 also for other traffic in area)
Closest AWOS Beaver Island Airport 15nm N.E. 118.075

Arrival Procedure
Announce intentions on 122.9
Fly over airfield scan for aircraft on the ground
Left hand pattern

Departure Procedure
122.9 announce intentions before taxi
Please be courteous and do not fly over South Fox Island (Horse Farm)

Cautions or be aware of the following items:
60-80 ft trees surround airstrip
Windsock blocked by trees (use wave direction for wind reference)
Winds on approach and departures ...

It is a Unimproved Airport Category and is listed as "Land at your own risk" 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 45.482222, -85.780833 (est) 

According to images and statements, the airplanes, after the inflight collision, came to rest beyond runway 25's displaced threshold cones. The Extra exhibited right-wing leading-edge damage forward of its outboard aileron hinge, displaced right landing gear, and separations of sections of all three propeller blades. The Cessna exhibited a semicircular impact mark about midspan on its rudder along with forward crushing of the rudder and deformation of the vertical stabilizer. An outboard section of the left elevator trailing edge exhibited forward crushing. The trailing-edge of the left wing exhibited a torn opening located about midspan near the junction of the flap and aileron. The left wing was rotated clockwise and its inboard leading-edge migrated under the forward cabin center top skin. The aft cabin center top skin sections exhibited a separation. Ground scars and liberated airplane parts are located between the displaced threshold and the Cessna. 

Communications

The CTAF frequency at 6Y3 is not recorded. However, a witness monitoring the CTAF frequency, 122.8 megahertz, on Beaver Island, Michigan, overheard an aircraft calling their intentions to land at 6Y3. He remarked that the aircraft was making their calls on the wrong channel. The witness did not catch the N number or type of aircraft. The next morning the witness was told about the crash and what time it happened. He subsequently told coworkers that he was at the shop about that time and heard an aircraft calling on the wrong frequency.

Flight Recorders

The Extra's pilot forwarded video files recorded by his passenger. The video starts and showed that the engine cowl blocked the lower third to half of the frame. The video showed the airplane aligning with the runway centerline in a right bank turn. Once aligned, the video showed airplane made minor banking maneuvers. However, no slips were noted on the video. The engine cowl blocked the view of the near edge of the airport clearing. About 14 seconds after the start of the video a drop in RPM is recorded. About 22 seconds after the start of the video, the engine RPM is increased and then decreased about 23.1 seconds. The first sign of another aircraft is observed about 22.6 seconds after the start of the video when the right wingtip of the Cessna appears from the right side of the Extra's engine cowling. The airplanes impacted about 24 seconds after the start of the video, the field of view changes to the inside of the Extra, and the sounds of impact continue through about 27.8 seconds when the video ends.

Tests And Research

The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) investigated an inflight collision accident with an Extra EA300 airplane and an Xtreme 3000 airplane. Both airplanes were low-wing aircraft. The BFU produced a factual report that contains graphic depictions of a pilot's area of view that is restricted below the low-wing airplane's fuselage and wings. The BFU's report is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation.

A review of a Cessna visibility study in reference to 172 airplanes revealed, in part, that the limit of forward visibility from the left pilot's seat was about a 54° arc between the cowling and the top of the windshield. It showed that the lateral visibility limit through the front windscreen from the left pilot seat was about a 137° arc between the left and right side of the windshield. The limit of vertical visibility from the left pilot's through the left door window was about a 55° arc between the lower surface of the left wing and the bottom of the left door's window. The limit of vertical visibility across the cabin through the right door window was about a 25° arc between the lower surface of the right wing and the bottom of the right door's window. The cabin ceiling restricts the pilot's overhead visibility. Top, rear visibility is obstructed by the left and right wings and the aft cabin ceiling. Visibility directly behind the airplane is accomplished through two aft cabin side windows, one on the left side and the other on the right. The limit of vertical visibility from the left pilot's through each aft cabin side window was about a 14° arc between the top and bottom of the respective aft cabin side window.

Additional Information

The accident report from the pilot of N32WR contained a recommendation, which, in part, stated:
With respect to "how could this accident/incident have been prevented," the following actions seem prudent and in my opinion would have prevented this accident:

1. Per AC 90-66B, section 9.1, General Operating Practices, "Use of...and CTAF procedures by radio-equipped aircraft are required at all airports without operating control towers." Section 10.1 states, "Departing aircraft should continuously monitor I communicate on the appropriate frequency from startup, during taxi, and until 10 miles from the airport, unless 14 CFR or local procedures require otherwise." 10. 1.1 states, "To achieve the greatest degree of safety, it is essential that"

1. All radio-equipped aircraft transmit/ receive on a common frequency identified for that purpose of airport advisories, as identified in appropriate aeronautical publications." I would not have attempted a landing knowing there was another aircraft about to takeoff at 6Y3. Furthermore, if a radio transmission were received, we could have worked out a resolution to the possibility of a collision by agreeing on sequencing my arrival and his departure.

2. Per 9.2 of AC 90-668, Collison Avoidance, "The Pilot in command's (PIC) primary responsibility is to see and avoid other aircraft and to help them see and avoid his or her aircraft."

At 6Y3, both runways have displaced thresholds due to trees. As evidenced by this accident, it is not possible to see an aircraft line up and depart if using full length (commencing the takeoff roll at the base of the trees). While I certainly appreciate taking full length to increase safety during takeoff, I think it would be prudent to reevaluate the risk of not being in a position to see final from the ground or a portion of the displaced portion leading up to the marked threshold (three yellow cones). Based on this, I would remove a portion of the displaced section and disallow its' use, or at a minimum, add a statement in the airport remarks section of the [airport facility directory] that if using full length, aircraft approaching to land cannot see another aircraft, nor can aircraft using full length visually clear final before taking into position for takeoff.

3. Per 91 .113(g), landing aircraft have the right of way over aircraft already on the ground. I do not understand why right of way was not given to my landing aircraft in this instance.

The accident report from the pilot of N6021A contained a recommendation, which, in part, stated that "the use of new seat belts and shoulder harnesses allowed for almost no injury despite violent in flight collision and subsequent crash landing. ... Aviator sunglasses prevented eye injury [from] exploding glass and shrapnel."

An excerpt from 14 CFR Part 91.113 stated, "When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear."

An NTSB Safety Alert, See and Be Seen: Your Life Depends on It, in part, stated that pilots can "encourage passengers to help look for traffic."

The Airplane Flying Handbook section on Airport Traffic Patterns, in part, stated that 34% of mid-air collisions in the traffic pattern occur on final and another 34% occur over the runway. It additionally said, "High-wing airplanes have restricted visibility above while low-wing airplanes have limited visibility below. The worst-case scenario is a low wing airplane flying above a high-wing airplane. Banking from time to time can uncover blind spots. The pilot should also occasionally look to the rear of the airplane to check for other aircraft."

Subsequent to the accident, the airport manager and a representative of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics submitted 4 remarks for publication on the airport's master record. The remarks were:

- OVERFLY THE FIELD BEFORE ENTERING TRAFFIC PATTERN
- ANNOUNCE ALL INTENTIONS ON 122.9
- WATCH FOR AIRCRAFT TAXIING & TAKING OFF BEFORE LANDING

- SAFETY BRIEFING & PILOT INFO AVAILABLE AT HTTPS://THERAF.ORG/






N6021A Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N6021A

Location: North Fox Island, MI
Accident Number: CEN18LA298B
Date & Time: 07/29/2018, 1435 EDT
Registration: N6021A
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 29, 2018, about 1435 eastern daylight time, an Extra EA300 LC airplane, N32WR, and a Cessna 172 airplane, N6021A, collided inflight over runway 25 at the North Fox Island Airport (6Y3), North Fox Island, Michigan. The the Extra EA300 LC was landing and the Cessna 172 was departing. The airline transport pilot and passenger on the Extra EA300 LC were uninjured and the airline transport pilot and two passengers on the Cessna 172 received minor injuries. The Extra EA300 LC sustained substantial right-wing damage and the Cessna 172 sustained substantial empennage, left wing, and fuselage damage during the collision and subsequent impact with terrain. The Extra EA300 LC was registered to Captain Property and Investment LLC and was operated by its pilot. The Cessna 172 was registered to and operated by its pilot. Both flights were being conducted as Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flights. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flights were not operated on flight plans. The Extra EA300 LC departed from the Appleton International Airport, near Appleton, Wisconsin, and was destined for 6Y3. The Cessna 172 was originating from 6Y3 at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot of N32WR, the flight was uneventful until the landing phase. He initiated the descent approximately 10 miles from 6Y3 and started self-announcing his intentions "in accordance with Advisory Circular 90-66B." At no time were there any responses or transmissions heard from other aircraft at 6Y3. Upon reaching the pattern altitude of 1,700 ft, the pilot continued the left-hand pattern to final.

At approximately 30-40 feet above the surface, the pilot started to round out while slowing in order to land just beyond the threshold to maximize the runway surface for the rollout. He advised that there were no aircraft visible during the final and approach to landing until an estimated 20-30 feet above the landing surface just prior to the threshold which was marked by 3 yellow cones. Out of the pilot's right side, just in front of the right-hand wing, he saw a bright object which turned out to be a departing airplane.

The pilot stated that N32WR aircraft impacted the other airplane. He said that the airplane yawed strongly to the right. The pilot was able to regain control and ended up coming to a stop about 800 ft beyond the resting place of the other airplane, near the imaginary runway centerline. The pilot determined his passenger was ok and he egressed to help the other airplane's occupants.

The pilot then ran toward the other airplane, a Cessna 172. One Cessna occupant was already out of the airplane and another left the airplane through the right-hand door. The third occupant was still inside, but before the Extra pilot could reach the airplane, the third occupant had departed through the right-hand door as well. There was an observed fuel leak from the left-hand wing of the Cessna as fuel was exiting out of the topside wing vent.

According to the passenger in N32WP, the flight was approaching North Fox Island and the pilot announced on the radio we were approaching with the intention of landing on the Island. He checked the weather on Beaver Island, the weather report was good and again on the radio said we were approaching, and we were minutes out. They heard no response. The passenger reiterated that the pilot announced on the radio at least 4 times saying we were heading to North Fox Island with the intention of landing and we never received a response. The pilot set up for final approach and the conditions of the field looked good. They saw a different aircraft at the opposite end of the airstrip, and the pilot decided to land. The passenger indicated that the other aircraft that came up under us was not observed. When the airplane came to a final stop the passenger's first response to ask the pilot "what just happened." The pilot responded that "we just hit another airplane."

According to the pilot of N6021A, the airplane was flown into 6Y3 for overnight on a camping trip. The pilot of N6021A started engines on the south side of the airfield about 1422. The airplane was positioned in an open clearing on the south end of the airfield and the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), 122.9 megahertz, was monitored. Preflight checks were conducted, and the airplane was taxied down the center of the runway. The pilot reported that he heard a radio call from Washington Island Airport. A radio call from the 172 announced the airplane's departure in the blind. The planned takeoff was a soft field, minimum run departure with anticipated obstructions, crosswinds, and wind shear at tree top level. No turning circle was present at the departure end of the runway and the pilot advised that a soft/short, close to gross weight takeoff was made for a rolling departure with as much runway ahead as possible. No other airplanes were heard or seen. The takeoff was as planned, and the airplane lifted off the ground into ground effect about 5 to 7 ft above ground level. The airplane was accelerated to best angle of climb speed plus 10 knots. About 1431, a loud explosion occurred, and the airplane swerved 100° to the right. Full counter control deployment brought the airplane to remain in ground effect. The airplane was right of centerline and a second explosion and "violent" stop occurred. During the stopping contact, the airplane was 50° off runway heading and the left main landing gear dug into the soft soil. The left wing remained on the heading and the rest of the airplane rotated to a stop about 30° off runway heading, which forced the left wing into the cabin where it trapped the pilot in the right seat. The passenger in the left seat assisted the right seated pilot to get out of the airplane.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/24/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/26/2018
Flight Time:  16000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 500 hours (Total, this make and model), 13000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 75 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

The pilot of N3ZWR held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with a multi engine land rating and he held commercial pilot privileges in single-engine land airplanes. He also held a flight instructor certificate with single-engine and multi engine ratings. The pilot held an FAA first class medical certificate, dated June 11, 2018, with a limitation that the medical was not valid for any class after September 30, 2019. Additionally, the pilot held a Statement of Demonstrated Ability for monocular vision.

The pilot of N6021A held an FAA airline transport pilot certificate with a multi engine land rating and he held commercial pilot privileges in single-engine land airplanes. He also held a flight instructor certificate with single-engine and multi engine ratings. The pilot held an FAA first class medical certificate dated, July 24, 2018, with a limitation to wear corrective lenses.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N6021A
Model/Series: 172 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1956
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28621
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/01/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2800 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-300
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 145 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

N32WR was a single-engine, two-place, low-wing, fixed tailwheel landing gear, monoplane, designed to be fully aerobatic. The airplane was powered by a 315-horsepower engine which drove a three-bladed, constant-speed propeller. The pilot reported that the airplane underwent an annual on December 7, 2017 and that the airplane accumulated 217 hours of total time at the time of the accident. The fuselage was constructed of a tubular steel frame covered with aluminum and fabric fairings; the wing's construction was carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CRP). The ailerons were almost full span and there are no flaps. The airplane had two cockpits, in tandem, covered with a clear, one-piece canopy. The airplane stalls about 55 to 60 kts based on weight.

N6021A, was a single engine, four-place, high-wing, fixed tricycle landing gear, all-metal design airplane. The airplane was powered by a 145-horsepower engine which drove a fixed pitch propeller. The pilot reported that the airplane underwent an annual in January of 2018 and that the airplane accumulated 2,800 hours of total time. The airplane had side-by-side seating in the front and a rear couch (two seats) in the back of the cabin. The airplane had dual flight controls. The airplane had a high wing that constituted the roof of the airplane's cabin. The airplane's checklist for an obstacle clearance takeoff indicated a best angle of climb speed of 60 mph (about 52 kts).

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSJX, 666 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1435 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 36°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 230°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: North Fox Island, MI (6Y3)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EDT
Type of Airspace:

At 1435, the recorded weather at the Beaver Island Airport, Beaver Island, Michigan, was: Wind 230° at 8 kts, variable from 210° to 270°; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 25° C; dew point 16° C; altimeter 30.06 inches of mercury.



Airport Information

Airport: NORTH FOX ISLAND (6Y3)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 639 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

6Y3 was a public, non-towered airport, which was owned by the State of Michigan, Department of Natural Resources and was leased to the Recreational Aviation Foundation. It was located on North Fox Island about 24 nautical miles northwest of Charlevoix, Michigan and about 15 nautical miles southwest of Beaver Island, Michigan. The airport had one runway and an estimated elevation of 639 ft above mean sea level. Runway 7/25 was a 3,000 ft by 100 ft runway with a turf surface. The airport used 122.9 megahertz as its CTAF. Remarks listed on the FAA's airport master record at the time of the accident included:

RWY 07 RWY & DISPL-D THRESHOLDS MKD WITH 3- YELLOW CONES ...
TALL TREES ALL QUADRANTS. TREES OBSTRUCT WINDSOCK, READINGS UNRELIABLE

The Michigan Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics published a Michigan Airport Directory and provided Android and Apple applications that included airport information on 6Y3. Their directory similarly listed the airport remarks indicated on the FAA's master record. However, the Michigan Airport Directory also listed the leaseholder's website and indicated it had a safety brief.

The leaseholder's website homepage contained a link to pilot information. The pilot information dropdown menu included a safety briefing link where a safety briefing can be reviewed before landing at 6Y3. That 6Y3 safety briefing page, in part, stated:

Airstrip Communication Frequency
122.9 CTAF (recommend monitor 122.8 also for other traffic in area)
Closest AWOS Beaver Island Airport 15nm N.E. 118.075

Arrival Procedure
Announce intentions on 122.9
Fly over airfield scan for aircraft on the ground
Left hand pattern

Departure Procedure
122.9 announce intentions before taxi
Please be courteous and do not fly over South Fox Island (Horse Farm)

Cautions or be aware of the following items:
60-80 ft trees surround airstrip
Windsock blocked by trees (use wave direction for wind reference)
Winds on approach and departures ...

It is a Unimproved Airport Category and is listed as "Land at your own risk"

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 45.482222, -85.780833 (est) 

According to images and statements, the airplanes, after the inflight collision, came to rest beyond runway 25's displaced threshold cones. The Extra exhibited right-wing leading-edge damage forward of its outboard aileron hinge, displaced right landing gear, and separations of sections of all three propeller blades. The Cessna exhibited a semicircular impact mark about midspan on its rudder along with forward crushing of the rudder and deformation of the vertical stabilizer. An outboard section of the left elevator trailing edge exhibited forward crushing. The trailing-edge of the left wing exhibited a torn opening located about midspan near the junction of the flap and aileron. The left wing was rotated clockwise and its inboard leading-edge migrated under the forward cabin center top skin. The aft cabin center top skin sections exhibited a separation. Ground scars and liberated airplane parts are located between the displaced threshold and the Cessna.

Communications

The CTAF frequency at 6Y3 is not recorded. However, a witness monitoring the CTAF frequency, 122.8 megahertz, on Beaver Island, Michigan, overheard an aircraft calling their intentions to land at 6Y3. He remarked that the aircraft was making their calls on the wrong channel. The witness did not catch the N number or type of aircraft. The next morning the witness was told about the crash and what time it happened. He subsequently told coworkers that he was at the shop about that time and heard an aircraft calling on the wrong frequency. 

Flight Recorders

The Extra's pilot forwarded video files recorded by his passenger. The video starts and showed that the engine cowl blocked the lower third to half of the frame. The video showed the airplane aligning with the runway centerline in a right bank turn. Once aligned, the video showed airplane made minor banking maneuvers. However, no slips were noted on the video. The engine cowl blocked the view of the near edge of the airport clearing. About 14 seconds after the start of the video a drop in RPM is recorded. About 22 seconds after the start of the video, the engine RPM is increased and then decreased about 23.1 seconds. The first sign of another aircraft is observed about 22.6 seconds after the start of the video when the right wingtip of the Cessna appears from the right side of the Extra's engine cowling. The airplanes impacted about 24 seconds after the start of the video, the field of view changes to the inside of the Extra, and the sounds of impact continue through about 27.8 seconds when the video ends.

Tests And Research

The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) investigated an inflight collision accident with an Extra EA300 airplane and an Xtreme 3000 airplane. Both airplanes were low-wing aircraft. The BFU produced a factual report that contains graphic depictions of a pilot's area of view that is restricted below the low-wing airplane's fuselage and wings. The BFU's report is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation.

A review of a Cessna visibility study in reference to 172 airplanes revealed, in part, that the limit of forward visibility from the left pilot's seat was about a 54° arc between the cowling and the top of the windshield. It showed that the lateral visibility limit through the front windscreen from the left pilot seat was about a 137° arc between the left and right side of the windshield. The limit of vertical visibility from the left pilot's through the left door window was about a 55° arc between the lower surface of the left wing and the bottom of the left door's window. The limit of vertical visibility across the cabin through the right door window was about a 25° arc between the lower surface of the right wing and the bottom of the right door's window. The cabin ceiling restricts the pilot's overhead visibility. Top, rear visibility is obstructed by the left and right wings and the aft cabin ceiling. Visibility directly behind the airplane is accomplished through two aft cabin side windows, one on the left side and the other on the right. The limit of vertical visibility from the left pilot's through each aft cabin side window was about a 14° arc between the top and bottom of the respective aft cabin side window.

Additional Information

The accident report from the pilot of N32WR contained a recommendation, which, in part, stated:
With respect to "how could this accident/incident have been prevented," the following actions seem prudent and in my opinion would have prevented this accident:

1. Per AC 90-66B, section 9.1, General Operating Practices, "Use of...and CTAF procedures by radio-equipped aircraft are required at all airports without operating control towers." Section 10.1 states, "Departing aircraft should continuously monitor I communicate on the appropriate frequency from startup, during taxi, and until 10 miles from the airport, unless 14 CFR or local procedures require otherwise." 10. 1.1 states, "To achieve the greatest degree of safety, it is essential that"

1. All radio-equipped aircraft transmit/ receive on a common frequency identified for that purpose of airport advisories, as identified in appropriate aeronautical publications." I would not have attempted a landing knowing there was another aircraft about to takeoff at 6Y3. Furthermore, if a radio transmission were received, we could have worked out a resolution to the possibility of a collision by agreeing on sequencing my arrival and his departure.

2. Per 9.2 of AC 90-668, Collison Avoidance, "The Pilot in command's (PIC) primary responsibility is to see and avoid other aircraft and to help them see and avoid his or her aircraft."

At 6Y3, both runways have displaced thresholds due to trees. As evidenced by this accident, it is not possible to see an aircraft line up and depart if using full length (commencing the takeoff roll at the base of the trees). While I certainly appreciate taking full length to increase safety during takeoff, I think it would be prudent to reevaluate the risk of not being in a position to see final from the ground or a portion of the displaced portion leading up to the marked threshold (three yellow cones). Based on this, I would remove a portion of the displaced section and disallow its' use, or at a minimum, add a statement in the airport remarks section of the [airport facility directory] that if using full length, aircraft approaching to land cannot see another aircraft, nor can aircraft using full length visually clear final before taking into position for takeoff.

3. Per 91 .113(g), landing aircraft have the right of way over aircraft already on the ground. I do not understand why right of way was not given to my landing aircraft in this instance.

The accident report from the pilot of N6021A contained a recommendation, which, in part, stated that "the use of new seat belts and shoulder harnesses allowed for almost no injury despite violent in flight collision and subsequent crash landing. ... Aviator sunglasses prevented eye injury [from] exploding glass and shrapnel."

An excerpt from 14 CFR Part 91.113 stated, "When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear."

An NTSB Safety Alert, See and Be Seen: Your Life Depends on It, in part, stated that pilots can "encourage passengers to help look for traffic."

The Airplane Flying Handbook section on Airport Traffic Patterns, in part, stated that 34% of mid-air collisions in the traffic pattern occur on final and another 34% occur over the runway. It additionally said, "High-wing airplanes have restricted visibility above while low-wing airplanes have limited visibility below. The worst-case scenario is a low wing airplane flying above a high-wing airplane. Banking from time to time can uncover blind spots. The pilot should also occasionally look to the rear of the airplane to check for other aircraft."
Subsequent to the accident, the airport manager and a representative of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics submitted 4 remarks for publication on the airport's master record. The remarks were:

- OVERFLY THE FIELD BEFORE ENTERING TRAFFIC PATTERN
- ANNOUNCE ALL INTENTIONS ON 122.9
- WATCH FOR AIRCRAFT TAXIING & TAKING OFF BEFORE LANDING
- SAFETY BRIEFING & PILOT INFO AVAILABLE AT HTTPS://THERAF.ORG/

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad no one was seriously hurt.

Using the radio does help everyone's SA ... If everyone has a radio to listen on and the correct frequency is used by all.

Above all else, the most important thing you can do is USE YOUR EYEBALLS ... or EYEBALL if that's the case.

Climbing into the rear seat of a tandem seat aircraft you KNOW you have additional challenges to see what is in front of you.

Climbing into the rear seat of a tandem seat LOW WING aircraft you have more than doubled the challenges ... especially on final.

Circle the field... Dip wing as necessary... Slip aggressively BOTH directions on final to use the EYEBALL/EYEBALLS.

Glad no one was hurt.


Anonymous said...

I think it's a good idea for non-towered airports to employ CTAF recording technology, as well, when possible, ground video surveillance technology. Sites like LiveATC already archive audio but it would be helpful for video to be archived, maybe for 30-90 days.

Anonymous said...

Agreed! Camera's and microphones are too cheap these days not to do it!!!

Maening said...

So lucky for those involved to be alive. While proper radio use is very useful, there are some aircraft without radios and many ultralights. One must use their eyes and look outside of the airplane. If the design limits views, the pilot MUST accommodate the design shortcomings regarding visual field. Overflying a small airport surrounded by trees before initiating the landing sequence is always a good idea. Relying on "Right of Way" is not a particularly good idea to avoid a collision. Another good idea if to put those lights on. The newer LED landing lights and strobes are super bright and help greatly with visibility. So glad these people got to live and tell the story.