NTSB Identification: ATL90FA139B.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42204.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 01, 1990 in FLORENCE, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/21/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration: N2437K
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.

THE PILOTS OF TWO SIMILAR PA-38-112 AIRPLANES WERE FILED FOR SEPARATE VFR CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHTS. AFTER AN INTERMEDIATE STOPOVER AT AN AIRPORT AWAY FROM HOME BASE, THE TWO AIRPLANES JOINED UP AND BEGAN FLYING IN FORMATION. ACCORDING TO A WITNESS, THE TRAILING AIRPLANE (N2409K) COLLIDED WITH THE LEADING AIRPLANE (N2437K) FROM THE REAR WHILE MANEUVERING. IMPACT, PAINT AND RUBBER TRANSFER MARKS INDICATED THAT N2409K COLLIDED WITH N2437K FROM THE REAR, RIGHT SIDE. THE FLIGHT SCHOOL FROM WHICH THE PILOTS WERE ENROLLED EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED FORMATION FLYING OF ANY TYPE. THE PIC'S OF EACH AIRPLANE HAD LOGGED ABOUT 118 HOURS EACH PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT, AND HAD RECEIVED THEIR PILOT CERTIFICATES THE MONTH PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT. THE PILOTS AND PILOT RATED PASSENGERS WERE ALL SPANISH CITIZENS.

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

FAILURE OF THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND OF N2409K TO MAINTAIN SAFE SEPARATION FROM N2437K DURING UNAUTHORIZED FORMATION MANEUVERING. OVERCONFIDENCE IN PERSONAL ABILITY AND THE EXECUTION OF UNAUTHORIZED FORMATION FLIGHT ON THE PART OF BOTH PILOTS-IN-COMMAND WERE FACTORS IN THE ACCIDENT. THE LACK OF TOTAL EXPERIENCE OF BOTH PILOTS-IN-COMMAND WAS ALSO A FACTOR IN THE ACCIDENT.

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