NTSB Identification: CHI05FA055B
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 18, 2005 in Hollister, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/31/2006
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-502B, registration: N8526M
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Minor,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 U.S. Air Force twin jet military trainer, a Cessna T-37B, and a single-engine agricultural aircraft, an Air Tractor AT-502B, were destroyed following a midair collision during cruise flight. The training jet was returning to its home military base after a training flight. The training jet had climbed VFR to 5,500 feet msl, and then was instructed to descend to 5,000 feet msl on a 100 degree magnetic heading. After about a minute or less of level flight at 5,000 feet msl, the T-37B impacted the agricultural aircraft which was flying on a heading of about 355 to 005 degrees magnetic. The radar approach control facility that was providing radar services to the T-37B did not have radar recording capability, therefore, no radar track data was available for analysis. Air traffic controllers who were working the T-37B reported seeing the T-37B at 5,000 feet on their radar displays prior to the mid-air collision. The air traffic controllers reported that they did not observe primary radar returns on the AT-502B. The AT-502B was a factory new aircraft that was being ferried to South Dakota. It was not equipped with radios or a transponder. The magnetic heading and altitudes flown by the AT-502B pilot are unknown due to the lack of radar data. The T-37B instructor pilot reported there was an overcast ceiling around 6,000 to 6,500 feet msl, and that the visibility at 5,500 feet msl was about 3 miles due to haze. The VFR cruising altitudes, as prescribed in FAR 91.159, for level cruising flight for 3,000 feet above the surface and below 18,000 feet MSL are as follows: "(1) On a magnetic course of zero degrees through 179 degrees, any odd thousand foot MSL altitude +500 feet (such as 3,500, 5,500, or 7,500); or (2) On a magnetic course of 180 degrees through 359 degrees, any even thousand foot MSL altitude +500 feet (such as 4,500, 6,500, or 8,500)." The airspace at the accident location is designated as Class E airspace. Class E airspace is defined by the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) as: "generally, if the airspace is not Class A, Class B, Class D, and it is controlled airspace, it is Class E airspace." No specific pilot certification or specific aircraft equipment is required to fly in Class E airspace. No separation services are provided to VFR aircraft operating in Class E airspace.

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

The pilots of the AT-502B and the T-37B failed to maintain adequate visual lookout and did not maintain clearance from the other aircraft. Contributing factors included the lack of a transponder and radios on the AT-502B, and the reduced visibility due to haze.

Full narrative available

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