NTSB Identification: FTW96FA234A
Accident occurred Saturday, June 01, 1996 in BARTLESVILLE, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/02/1998
Aircraft: Fairchild KR-31, registration: N7780
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Both the Fairchild KR-31, N7780, and the Waco QCF, N12428, were occupied by a PIC and a pilot-rated passenger. Witnesses observed both biplanes collide at the downwind/base position and descend uncontrolled to the ground. Left wing portions from each biplane were found at the initial impact site. The lower left wing outboard section of the Waco was found between the left wings of the Fairchild. The Fairchild did not have an electrical system. The Waco was equipped with navigation lights and an electrical system; however, the type and status of avionics equipment could not be determined due to the postimpact fire damage. A light gun was available in the temporary control tower; however, it was not being used at the time of the collision, and neither biplane was in communication with the tower in Class D airspace. An ATC letter to the airport indicated that ATC would separate arriving and departing traffic, with ground movement by airport management, operators and pilots, with safety items/factors brought to the attention of ATC prior to the operation of the tower. The biplane association and the airport representatives stated that the tower was a 'control tower' and applicable control airspace procedures were expected by ATC and the pilots. Neither the NBA nor the airport had established rigid communication, routing and altitude procedures for the fly-by period, and pilot briefings were not conducted. In tension with the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, the Federal Aviation Administration did not offer and/or provide the NBA and airport authorities with clearly delineated insight and guidance that fostered the safest use of the airspace during the fly-in.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The failure of each pilot-in-command to maintain visual lookout. Factors were: the lack of each pilot-in-command obtaining/maintaining communication with the control tower, and inadequate lookout by each pilot-rated passenger, the inadequate procedures/directives by the biplane association management and the airport management, and inadequate supervision by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Full narrative available

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