On October 19, 1997, at 1705 central daylight time, a Cessna 150G airplane, N3916J, owned and operated by MPA Inc., of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and a Piper PA-60 twin engine airplane, N602RJ, operated by Modern Biomedical Services Inc., of Irving, Texas, collided while in flight near Tyler, Texas. Both flights were being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91 at the time of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and neither pilot filed a flight plan. The high wing Cessna sustained minor damage while the low wing Piper sustained substantial damage. Both airplanes were being operated by private pilots and neither the pilots nor the passenger aboard each of the airplanes were injured during the in flight collision or the subsequent landings. The Cessna 150 departed Tyler Pounds Field Airport approximately 3 minutes prior to the collision, with an intended destination of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Piper PA-60 departed Denton, Texas, at approximately 1630, with Tyler as its destination.

The Tyler Pounds Field Airport is a controlled field with an operating non-federal control tower. Both pilots were in radio contact with the operating control tower (Pounds Tower) on frequency 120.1. At the time of the accident, the tower operator, who also functions as the Tower Chief, was also handling ground control on frequency 121.9. The tower operator reported to the FAA inspector that, at the time of the accident his traffic workload consisted of 3 aircraft, the two that collided, plus another airplane in the pattern.

According to the tower operator, who was in the tower cab by himself, the Cessna 150 was cleared to depart on a westerly heading after taking off from runway 22. The pilot of the Piper established radio contact with the tower when his airplane was 10 miles northwest of the airport, while at an altitude of 2,500 feet MSL. The pilot was instructed to "continue for a straight-in approach for runway 13," and to "report 3 miles final." When the Piper was 7.5 miles out on final approach for runway 13, the tower advised the pilot of the Piper to "continue inbound, number two for the airport, number one for [runway] 13, Cessna on a mile final for [runway] 22." After the pilot of the Piper reported on a 3 mile final, the tower operator responded with "602RS continue approach, number one aircraft over the numbers, continue approach." The collision occurred a few seconds later at 1,400 feet MSL, approximately 2 miles northwest of the landing threshold for runway 13. Following the collision, both airplanes landed at the Tyler Airport without further incident.

The Cessna pilot reported to the FAA inspector that after takeoff, he "intended to slide to the northeast to intercept Highway 64 and follow it westbound." In the enclosed statement, the Cessna pilot stated that "he was looking down for Highway 64" prior to observing the other airplane. The Cessna pilot added that "he apparently missed Highway 64, and drifted too far to the northeast, getting into the flight path of the landing Piper."

Examination of the airplanes at the Tyler Pounds Field Airport by the FAA inspector revealed that the top half of the rudder and the vertical stabilizer sustained structural damage on the Piper. Additionally, a section of de-icing boot on the vertical stabilizer was also damaged. The pitot tube, which is installed atop the vertical stabilizer, was knocked off resulting in the loss of airspeed indication in the cockpit. Damage to the Cessna was limited to the nose wheel and tire.

The windshields on both airplane were inspected by the FAA inspector for clarity, freedom of distortions, and lack of obstructions. Both windshields were found free of obstructions and in "an above average condition." The pilot of each airplane reported seeing the other airplane just seconds prior to the impact. The Cessna pilot reported that he pitched his airplane up to try to evade the descending Piper. The Piper pilot stated that he saw the Cessna at his 2 o'clock position on a collision course. The pilot stated that he "shoved the yoke forward into a steep nose down attitude" to avoid the climbing Cessna. (The Cessna pilot was wearing the required eye glasses at the time of the accident. The Piper pilot did not have any eyesight limitations or waivers.) Both pilots concurred that the collision occurred at 1,400 feet MSL.

The 1981 model Piper featured a tan paint scheme with maroon stripes. The 1966 Cessna was painted dark blue with red and gray stripes. Both airplanes were equipped with operational anti-collision lights and/or strobe light systems. The operational status of the landing lights on the airplanes at the time of the accident was not determined during the investigation.

At the time of the collision, the Piper was on final approach for runway 13 and was configured with the landing gear extended and the flaps extended to the approach setting (20 degrees), at an estimated airspeed of 120 knots. The Cessna was in the cruise-climb configuration, with the flaps fully retracted, at an estimated airspeed of 80 knots. The heading of the Cessna was estimated as 015 degrees.

The visibility at the time of the occurrence was reported as 15 statute miles. Official sunset occurred at 1855.

According to the Airman's Information Manual, the normal departure procedures is to climb straight ahead to pattern altitude (1,350 feet MSL at Tyler). If departing the pattern, the airplane should either continue straight out or exit with a 45-degree left turn beyond the departure end of the runway after reaching pattern altitude.

The pilot of the Piper submitted a detailed report on NTSB Form 6120.1/2. The pilot of the Cessna 150 stated that he completed the report and provided it to the FAA. The FAA inspector reported that he did not receive the completed NTSB form; however, he provided the enclosed copy of a statement provided by the pilot.

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