NTSB Identification: MIA00FA041A
Accident occurred Friday, December 03, 1999 in DELAND, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/16/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-44-180, registration: N3038N
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.

After the Seminole airplane departed, requests to perform instrument approaches to the DeLand airport were denied; the controller responded to the request, '...delands saturated right now unable any approaches at deland....' The flight was vectored then cleared for a VOR approach to a runway 16 at Daytona Beach then vectored and cleared for a VOR approach to runway 23 at the DeLand airport. After the Cadet airplane departed, the flight proceeded to the DeLand airport and remained in the traffic pattern for runway 05; individuals heard the flight announce while in the traffic pattern. While inside the final approach fix inbound, radar service of the Seminole flight was terminated. Two individuals heard a voice announce on the DeLand CTAF, 'VOR 23.' The witnesses did not hear the distance, intentions, airport ID, or aircraft ID. The Seminole flight continued on the VOR approach; the last radar target of the Seminole was approximately .6 nautical mile from the approach end of runway 23. Several individuals heard the Cadet flight announce on the DeLand CTAF that the flight was departing runway 05. One witness reported that the Cadet used almost the full length of the runway, became airborne, then banked to the left and disappeared behind trees. The airplanes collided in-flight near the departure end of runway 05; the wreckage of both airplanes came to rest within approximately 1/2 nautical mile from the departure end of runway 05. An impact signature from one of the propeller blades from the left engine of the Seminole was noted on top of the engine of the Cadet; the impact signature was within approximately 25 degrees from being perpendicular. Several individuals reported frequency congestion of the DeLand CTAF from other airports that utilize the same frequency. Prior to the accident, ERAU personnel had informally inquired about having the frequency changed due to that very reason; the frequency was not changed before the accident. Advisory circulars and the AIM does not address when to terminate a practice instrument approach to an uncontrolled airport.

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

The inadequate visual lookout by the pilot-in-command (PIC)/certified flight instructor (CFI) of both aircraft. Contributing factors in the accident were: 1) the frequency congestion of the CTAF 2) the poor in-flight planning decision by the PIC/CFI of the Seminole for his continuing a practice instrument approach to within approximately .6 nautical mile from the approach end of the runway with opposing airplanes departing on the upwind leg, and 3) the absence of guidance in the Aeronautical Information Manual and Advisory Circulars as to how or when to terminate a practice instrument approach to an airport that does not have an operating control tower.

Full narrative available

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