On November 28, 1998, approximately 1119 eastern standard time, a Pitts S-2B, N340PS, and a Cessna 152, N5088Q, were substantially damaged during a ground collision on runway 22 at the Newnam Field airport, Easton, Maryland. The Pitts was being flown from the rear seat by a student pilot (SP) who was accompanied by a flight instructor (FI) occupying the forward seat. Both commercial pilots were uninjured. The Cessna was being flown from the left seat by a private pilot (PP) accompanied by a passenger. The pilot and passenger sustained minor and serious injuries respectively. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for either aircraft. The Pitts had departed Annapolis, Maryland, approximately 1030, and was conducting practice landings at Newnam Field. The Cessna had departed Stevensville, Maryland, approximately 1100 destined for Newnam Field. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The FI stated that the planned flight included practice landings at Newnam Field in anticipation of a pre-solo checkout for the commercially rated SP, and that "Results of the flights would determine whether a final checkout was going to be given to... [the SP] ...for solo of Pitts and Christen Eagle Aircraft." He also stated that the SP was "...flying rear seat with the understanding that he was piloting the aircraft and that I was assuming the role of a passenger."
The FI reported that following the fourth departure, the Pitts was established on downwind and the FI "then remarked to keep an eye on the aircraft at our 1 o'clock position." This aircraft was described as being 12,000 to 15,000 feet distant and climbing northbound. The FI further reported that "absent of any radio communications from any aircraft, we announced `Pitts turning base for runway 22 at Easton, doing a touch and go.' Midway through our base leg there was a transmission, as I recall that said `Cessna turning downwind to base, Easton, runway 22. I immediately responded that the Pitts was on base...'"
The FI described the approach as turning base to final at 500 feet and approximately 1,500 to 2,000 feet from the approach end of the runway. Power was adjusted, the aircraft was flared, and airspeed was allowed to bleed off. The FI reported that "suddenly, I saw a white wing in my sight off the right side of the nose of the aircraft. We hit immediately before any evasive action could be taken." The FI also stated that "at no time did we hear any radio transmission from the aircraft we collided with or did we observe it on the final approach path when we were on downwind or base leg" (refer to attached NTSB Form 6120.1/2 and STATEMENT FI-I).
The SP stated that "I required training from... [the IP] ...so that I could obtain a logbook endorsement to operate tailwheel aircraft and also to become familiar with the operating characteristics of Pitts type aircraft." The SP reported that several landings were made on runway 22 and recalled "at least one other aircraft in the traffic pattern made a position report while we were in the landing pattern setting up for the accident landing." He further stated that on the accident landing "a left turn to base leg was made slightly past a position opposite the approach end of runway 22" and that the IP "...transmitted our position on the Unicom frequency." He further reported that "a wings level base leg was flown. I distinctly recall looking left for aircraft approaching the runway, as well as checking to see if the runway was clear, and I also looked to the right for aircraft on final. I did not see any aircraft."
The SP continued reporting that "as we became established on final for runway 22, I did not see any aircraft in front of the Pitts S-2B or on the runway. Upon reaching the point where a normal flare for landing is commenced, the power was reduced to idle and the flare maneuver commenced. While in the flare, the white wing of a Cessna suddenly appeared out of the right side of the canopy" (refer to attached NTSB Form 6120.1/2 and STATEMENT SP-I).
The pilot of the Cessna (PP) was interviewed by an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Baltimore Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and reported that he had just landed on runway 22 with the intention of exiting at the first taxiway. He reported that he was decelerating to about 10 miles per hour when his aircraft was impacted from behind (refer to attached STATEMENTS PP-I and PP-II).
A private pilot, who was interviewed by an inspector from the FAA's Baltimore FSDO, reported that while he was awaiting departure from runway 22 he witnessed the approaching aircraft and subsequent accident. He reported that he "saw a Cessna turning base where most people turn base, over the golf course. He turns final and, about the time he gets to short final, here comes this Pitts on a very close base." The witness further described the Pitts' location reporting that "when he was on base, he was headed towards the traffic lights on route fifty." He also reported that "when he [the Pitts] turned final, the Cessna was in front of him, probably just landing and just to the right of him" (refer to STATEMENT W-I and CHART I).
A commercial flight instructor, who was interviewed by an inspector from the FAA's Baltimore FSDO, reported that "as we departed runway 22 and joined the downwind leg, we heard 88Q [the Cessna] call base, and observed the aircraft during this time, extending our downwind slightly to give proper spacing. At no time since departing the runway did we see the Pitts in the pattern." The instructor and his student subsequently heard a radio transmission of the accident and executed a go-around (refer to STATEMENT W-II).
A third witness working in the airport's terminal building, and who was interviewed by an inspector from the FAA's Baltimore FSDO, reported observing the Cessna 152 land on runway 22. She reported that the Pitts then came by "fast and low" and the Pitts hit the Cessna. In a subsequent interview with the same inspector, she recalled "hearing the Cessna's [sic] broadcast and was asked `Do you recall hearing the Pitts making any radio transmissions?' She responded `No, I don't'" (refer to STATEMENT W-III(a) and (b)).
A flight instructor who witnessed the accident reported the environmental conditions as "clear, sunny" and further stated that "both occupants were wearing headsets that I observed during one of their landings."
The aircraft collided near the centerline of runway 22 and approximately 200 feet short of the first taxiway exit to the ramp area (refer to CHART I and DIAGRAM I).