Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Piper J3C-65 Cub, N6463H and Piper J3C-65 Cub, N87715: Accident occurred November 03, 2020 at Mid Valley Airport (KTXW), Weslaco, Texas

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas


Location: Weslaco, TX 
Accident Number: CEN21LA040
Date & Time: November 3, 2020, 17:54 Local
Registration: N87715 (A1); N6463H (A2)
Aircraft: Piper J3C (A1); Piper J3C (A2)
Injuries: 1 Minor (A1); 1 Serious (A2)
Flight Conducted Under:

On November 3, 2020, about 1754 central standard time, two Piper J3C-65 airplanes, N87715 and N6463H, were substantially damaged during a midair collision accident near Weslaco, Texas. The student pilot flying N87715 was not injured, and the airline transport pilot flying N6463H sustained serious injuries. Both airplanes were operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flights.

The pilot of N87715 reported that visual meteorological conditions prevailed during his local flight in the traffic pattern for runway 14 at Mid Valley Airport (TXW). He stated that on his third touch-and-go landing he made a normal wheel-landing and touched down about 1,000 ft from the approach end of the runway. After the tailwheel contacted the runway, he advanced the throttle to takeoff power and accelerated to liftoff speed. The pilot stated that the airplane became airborne about midfield and continued to climb over the runway. The pilot reported that the airplane’s ground track drifted to the right (west) while his attention was diverted to the cockpit instruments, and that his airplane collided with another airplane about 80 ft above the ground. The pilot reported that after the collision, he was unable to maintain control of the airplane and that both airplanes descended intermingled to the ground. The crash site was in a grass area located about 110 ft off the right side of runway 14.

The pilot of N6463H reported that he was operating in the airport traffic pattern for runway 14 with two other airplanes. He stated that after turning from base leg to the final approach he realized that his airplane was too close to the airplane ahead of him in the traffic pattern. The pilot decided to go-around and side-step to the right of runway 14 to ensure separation from the other airplane that had landed. The pilot reported that he maintained visual contact with the other airplane, keeping it at his 9-10 0’clock position and slightly below his position as he continued his go-around. The pilot stated that shortly after he shifted his gaze to the right side of his airplane, to assess if there were any additional impediments to his flight path, the other airplane “made an apparent right turn” and collided with his airplane. The pilot was unable to maintain control of his airplane and it descended to the ground intermingled with the other airplane. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information (A1)

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N87715
Model/Series: J3C 65
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information (A2)

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N6463H
Model/Series: J3C 65
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: TXW,70 ft msl
Observation Time: 17:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C /12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 100°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 11000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information (A1)

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 26.178708,-97.974006 

Wreckage and Impact Information (A2)
Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 26.178708,-97.974006
     

Two planes in Weslaco collided into each other and crash landed at the Mid Valley Airport in Weslaco on Tuesday. 

According to a tweet by the Weslaco Police Chief Joel Rivera, "At 5:54 p.m. today Weslaco Police Department and Weslaco Fire Department responded to a mid air collision at the Mid Valley Airport,' Rivera said in the tweet. " Two male pilots were transport to local hospitals." 

Rivera said both pilots were conscious. 

18 comments:

  1. "Event Type:INCIDENT" describes a mid air collision at the Mid Valley Airport,'

    it doesn't really fit as in: "1a : an occurrence of an action or situation that is a separate unit of experience : happening. b : an accompanying minor occurrence or condition

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    Replies
    1. Seems like damage is accident per FAA definitions from 8020.11:

      Incident - An occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations.

      Aircraft Accident - An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.

      https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/FAA_Order_8020.11D.pdf

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    2. What's concerning is how this people got there pilot's license.

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  2. Wow! Always what would happen if I ever got run over in the J-3....

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  3. I don't see how either pilot survived this as a mid-air and then ground impact. Wow that looks like a fatal accident. Lucky guys.

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    Replies
    1. Both pilots required a change of trousers.

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    2. Low, slow and no fire, better circumstances than most. Hope they make full return to health.

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  4. The old saying " a Piper Cub is so safe it can barely kill you"

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    Replies
    1. The other saying is: "The only way to get hurt flying a Cub is to fall out of it"

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  5. Both cabins are so crushed it's surprising they both were not fatalities on the ground.
    Before started flying in J3 25 years ago I wondered how two planes could midair. After I started flying and a few close calls it's still my biggest concern.

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  6. If the FAA would allow modern battery powered LCD daytime lighting it would be a huge improvement. Of course pilots still have to have their eyeballs off of their electronic devices and out of the cockpit! Too many iPads and GoPros blocking the outside view nowadays.

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  7. Survivability? A lot of ‘crush zones’ in these two old Cubs. Looks like they absorbed the ground impact pretty well.

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  8. I'm guessing it happened right above ground level since they landed tied up together. That's the only explanation for their survival that I can come up with.

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  9. The cubs are registered to father and son La Feria pilots whose addresses match the registrations. The mid air was not between two random planes.

    N7495P is registered to pilot ROYCE KELLY NORMAN
    N87715 is registered to pilot ROYCE KIRK NORMAN

    ROYCE KELLY NORMAN also owns a nice Vultee BT-13 Valiant N54679 that has been at warbird shows, Cessna 182 N21271 and Comanche N7495P.

    https://flightaware.com/photos/aircraft/N54679

    Hope both pilots make a speedy recovery from the injuries.

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  10. I wonder if this was a "flight of two" takeoff or landing that went wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Expect that's exactly what happened.

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    2. Father in one airplane. Son in the other. Incredibly fortunate that this was not an epic tragedy. Very, very lucky.

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  11. I"m glad the two pilots are alive and wish them a speedy recovery.

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