NTSB Identification: ATL88FA185A.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 37069.
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 25, 1988 in RALEIGH, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/19/1989
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N44018
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

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.

A PIPER PA-28R (LEAD ACFT, N44018) & A CESSNA 172 (#2 ACFT, N737GU) WERE DEPARTING RALEIGH-DURHAM ARPT ON A FORMATION FLT TO PETERSBURG, VA. THE CESSNA PLT (WINGMAN) RPRTD THAT DRG TAKEOFF & INITIAL CLIMB, THE LEAD ACFT BGN TO ACCELERATE AHEAD OF HIM. THE PIPER TURNED SLIGHTLY RGT & LEVELED AT APRX 1500' AS THE WINGMAN TRIED TO REGAIN POSITION & KEEP THE LEAD ACFT IN SIGHT. THE WINGMAN RPRTD HE HAD DIFFICULTY SEEING THE LEAD ACFT WITH CITY LIGHTS IN THE BACKGROUND. THE WINGMAN'S ACFT BEGAN 'BUILDING UP MOMENTUM' & HE TRIMMED TO LEVEL OFF AT 1500'. AFTER THE FLT WAS CLEARED TO CONTACT DEPARTURE CONTROL, THE WINGMAN LOOKED AWAY TO LOCATE & CHANGE THE RADIO FREQ. AS HE WAS CHANGING FREQS, HE LOST SIGHT OF THE LEAD ACFT. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE CESSNA CONVERGED WITH THE PIPER, BUT THE WINGMAN DID NOT SEE IT UNTIL JUST BEFORE HIS PROP & NOSE GEAR HIT THE VERTICAL FIN & FUSELAGE OF THE PIPER. THE PIPER ENTERED AN UNCTLD DSCNT & CRASHED. THE CESSNA ENG LOST POWER, BUT THE WINGMAN MADE A SUCCESSFUL FORCED LNDG ON RWY 32 WITH A FAILED NOSE GEAR.

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

VISUAL LOOKOUT..NOT MAINTAINED..PILOT OF OTHER AIRCRAFT

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

IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION..IMPROPER..PILOT OF OTHER AIRCRAFT


Contributing Factors

PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION..INADEQUATE..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION..INADEQUATE..PILOT OF OTHER AIRCRAFT


Contributing Factors

LIGHT CONDITION..DARK NIGHT


Contributing Factors

DIVERTED ATTENTION..PILOT OF OTHER AIRCRAFT


Contributing Factors

FORMATION FLYING..IMPROPER..PILOT OF OTHER AIRCRAFT


Contributing Factors

OVERCONFIDENCE IN PERSONAL ABILITY..PILOT OF OTHER AIRCRAFT

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