NTSB Identification: IAD00LA027A
Accident occurred Saturday, March 18, 2000 in ERWINNA, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Bellanca 8KCAB, registration: N2520Z
Injuries: 3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor and private pilot flew the Bellanca airplane in the traffic pattern for several minutes, and were on the fourth approach to the runway at the time of the accident. The private pilot said they flew a 'squared off traffic pattern' and were approximately 50 feet above ground level (agl) on final approach when the other airplane's shadow passed over. The pilot of the Piper said he entered the traffic pattern on the downwind leg, but flew a modified base leg to final for noise abatement. Witnesses described the Bellanca above and behind the Piper after both airplanes turned final. They said the Bellanca overtook the Piper as it descended below the Piper in a slip. Three witnesses said the Bellanca slowed, pitched up, and was struck from behind by the Piper. One witness said the Bellanca's approach was on the runway heading, while the Piper's approach was '...tracking inbound left of the centerline on a slight angle.' The crew turned off the Bellanca's radios after engine start, and the Piper was not equipped with a communication radio. There was no locally published procedure for flight in and around the traffic pattern nor were there any depicted 'no fly' areas for purposes of noise abatement. According to the Aeronautical Information Manual: 'When two or more aircraft are approaching an airport for the purpose of landing, the aircraft at the lower altitude has the right of way, but it shall not take advantage of this rule to cut in front of another which is on final approach to land, or to overtake that aircraft.' Each pilot reported there were no mechanical deficiencies with their respective airplanes.

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

the improper entry into the traffic pattern by the pilot of the Piper airplane and the inadequate lookout by the pilots in both airplanes. A factor in the accident was that radio communication was not possible because the Piper was not so equipped, and the Bellanca's radios were turned off.

Full narrative available

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