NTSB Identification: MIA04FA043A
Accident occurred Saturday, January 17, 2004 in Clearwater, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-30, registration: N8735Y
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 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-30, and a Cessna 150H, collided in flight while in the traffic pattern. The pilot of the Piper airplane reported that after canceling his IFR clearance the controller warned him, "...that there had been numerous traffic in the vicinity of CLW [Clearwater]. I acknowledged and I changed my radio to 123.0 and began to monitor for traffic. I crossed the center of the airport from east to west at 1,500 feet. Once on the west side of CLW, I made a left turn and started my descent to traffic pattern altitude, at which time I announced my intentions to enter a left crosswind for runway 16." The flight turned onto the downwind leg and he announced that on the radio. He also reported that "up to this point, no traffic had been observed." He continued on the downwind leg and slowed the airplane, and was looking for traffic. When the flight was approximately two thirds down the downwind leg, the passenger began to shout "look out, look out, look out." He looked to the right and saw an airplane coming at us, which was so close he did not have time to react before the collision. He lost control of the airplane momentarily and then saw a glimpse of the aircraft to his left. A witness who was located east of the crash site reported seeing a Cessna airplane fly over his location south-southeast bound, then bank to the right towards a north-northwesterly direction. He observed the Piper airplane flying briefly in a southeasterly direction, then bank to the left towards a north-northwesterly direction. An individual on the ground at the destination airport, reported hearing the pilot of the Piper airplane make repetitive radio calls on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) while in the traffic pattern, announcing the intention of landing on runway 16. The same individual who personally knows the pilot of the Cessna airplane, reported hearing him report crossing midfield at KCLW; the Cessna pilot did not report altitude or intention. The individual did not hear any other radio calls from the Cessna pilot. After the collision, the radar plot indicated the Piper airplane flew downwind, base, then onto final approach to runway 16. The Cessna crash site was located in close proximity to the last radar target. The pilot of the Piper airplane was last in contact with air traffic control and there was no reported communication difficulties. There was no record of communications from the pilot of the Cessna airplane with any FAA Air Traffic Control Facility. The pilot of the Piper airplane was heard to report on the UNICOM frequency his intention to land on runway 16, and also repetitive radio calls announcing his traffic pattern legs. The pilot of the Cessna airplane was heard to announce on the UNICOM that he was crossing midfield, but he did not announce his intention or altitude. Examination of the Piper airplane revealed paint transfer and damage to the right wing, vertical stabilizer, and upper surface of the left horizontal stabilator. Paint transfer was noted on the bottom fuselage skin of the Cessna near the landing gear attach point area. The No. 1 communication transceiver of the Piper was found set to 123.00 mHz, which is the CTAF for KCLW. The radio was operationally tested in the airplane postaccident and found to operate satisfactory. The only communication transceiver in the Cessna airplane was found set to 123.00 mHz, and during postaccident testing was noted to momentarily operate; impact damage precluded continued testing. VMC prevailed at the time of the accident. There were no preimpact failure or malfunction of the flight controls of both airplanes, and examination of the Cessna airplane's engine revealed no abnormalities. The AIM indicates to enter the traffic pattern at a 45 degree angle to the runway on the downwind leg.

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

The failure of both pilots to maintain adequate visual lookout while entering the traffic pattern (downwind leg) at an uncontrolled airport resulting in a midair collision.

Full narrative available

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