On October 12, 2001, at 1828 hours Pacific daylight time, a Piper "Cherokee" PA-28-140 , N15831, was involved in an on-ground collision with a Piper "Malibu" PA-46-301P, N4BP, on runway 16R at the Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California. Neither one of the pilots were injured. Both aircraft were substantially damaged. Both airplanes were operated under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and neither aircraft was operating on a flight plan.

The Cherokee student pilot was preparing to depart on a local flight. He had been cleared to taxi into position and hold on runway 16R. The certificated private pilot of the Malibu had departed Whiteman Airport (WHP), Los Angeles, 6 miles northeast of VNY and was landing on runway 16R. According to the Malibu pilot, during the landing roll he encountered a small plane that was on the runway, despite his clearance to land.

According to the FAA partial transcript of radio communications (copy attached), at 1824:11 Van Nuys Air Traffic Control local tower controller (VNY ATC LCI) stated on tower frequency, "maibu four brovo papa roger number two follow a hawker jet short final additional traffic will depart prior to your arrivial wind calm runway one six right cleared to land. N4BP replied "six right cleared to land four bravo papa." LC1 then stated at 0124:47, "Cherokee eight three one traffic a Malibu three and a half mile base to final runway one six right taxi into position and hold thirteen." N15831 replied at 0124:54 "position a taxi into position and hold one five eight three one." At 0126:01 N4BP stated, four bravo papa on final." LCI stated at 0126:06, "Malibu four bravo papa runway one six right cleared to land wind calm." N4BP replied at 0126:10, "four bravo papa." AT 0127:58, LC1 stated, "(unitelligible) eight three (one)." At 0128:26 N18531 stated, "Cherokee one five eight three one." LC1 stated at 0128:28, "a Cherokee eight three one the crash equipments on the way you oh kay."

During the interview conducted with LC1, he classified the traffic at the time as light to moderate. He recalls that the ground controller verbally coordinated the intersection departure from taxiway 13F for the Cherokee aircraft. He heard the pilot of the Malibu call in "off Whiteman Field" and he instructed him to make a left base for runway 16R. He then cleared a Hawker jet on final to land. The Cherokee pilot radioed that he was ready for departure when the Hawker jet on short final, and he instructed the pilot to hold short. According to LOC, as the Hawker jet rolled past intersection 13, the Cherokee was cleared into position and advised the pilot of the position o the Malibu. He then observed the Cherokee. He did not clear the Cherokee for takeoff, but instructed the Cessna to follow the Malibu. LC1 was checking for extended landing gear o the Cessna on final, when someone shouted "You got a guy at 13. He said no one had mentioned the Cherokee prior to the accident. According to LC1, he believes this accident is the result of the human error, a lapse of memory and scanning. He acknowledged that he did not remember the Cherokee (holding) in position and hold on the runway.


The pilot of the Cherokee was a student pilot on his third solo flight. According to his logbook he had 50 hours of total time.

The pilot of the Malibu held a private pilot certificate with an airplane multi-engine land rating. His Medical Certificate was Class 3, and the date of his most recent examination was March 27, 2001. He held the limitation of "Must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision." And his certificate contained no waivers. His most recent bi-annual flight review took place June 13, 2002, in accident airplane N4BP. His total flight time in all aircraft was 989.7 hours, of which 739 were in single engine airplanes and 251 multiengine airplanes, all as pilot in command. He accrued 109.4 hours in the PA-46. He recorded a total of 140 hours of nighttime, and 72 and 70 flight hours in actual and simulated instrument conditions, respectively.


The Piper Malibu accumulated a total airframe of 4,300 flight hours and 200 hours since its last inspection, which was an Annual, taking place April 20, 2000. the airplane was powered by a Continental 550 reciprocating engine, rated at 300 hoursepower. Engine times and inspection history are not known.

The aircraft history of the Piper Cherokee was not determined.


Following the accident a special weather observation was made by VNY, at 0138 UTC (universal coordinated time) or 1738 PST (pacific standard time; 1838 PDT/local time, 10 minutes after the accident): Winds from 110 degrees at 06 knots, visibility 4 statute miles, haze and smoke, cloud scattered at 20,000 feet temperature 26 degrees centigrade (79 Fahrenheit), dew point 08 degrees centigrade (46 Fahrenheit); remarks, "ACFT MISHAP." The accident occurred 4 minutes after official sunset.


Van Nuys Airport is served by two parallel runways: Runway 16R and 16L, Runway 16R is 8,001 feet long 150 feet wide, and has a displaced threshold with 6,571 feet available for landing beyond the threshold. Intersection 13F is located on the east side of runway 16R, where taxiway 13F meet the runway; it is an approximately 90 degree taxiway to runway intersection , located approximately (copy of the Airport Diagram Attached).

According to information obtained from the website for VNY, it is ranked as the world's busiest general aviation airport. VNY averages approximately one-half million takeoffs and landings annually, with 463,665 total operations in 2002 [and] The FAA Control Tower Operates between 6:00 a.m. and 10:45 p.m. daily."


The collision aircraft collided on runway 16R at intersection of taxiway 13F. The Malibu came to a stop following the collision and both airplanes remained upright on their landing gear. The pilots of each exited and there was no fire. The Cherokee sustained damage to the fuselage, including dents in the aluminum skin from aft of the cabin to the vertical stabilizer. The vertical stabilizer was fractured away. Approximately 2 feet of the right wing, aft of the spar, was also fractured away.

The Malibu sustained crushing and related fracture damage outboard of the left main landing gear, concentrated along leading edge of the wing.


The LC1 workstation is located at the north corner of the cab affording the controller an unobstructed view of the final approach area and the norther portion of runway 16R. When standing at the LC1 position, a support post partially obscures the view of taxiway 13F, and the cab console obstructs the runway surface between 11G and 14G. Persons seated at the Local Control 2 or Ground Control positions, or standing behind the LC2 position also obscure the view. Controllers reproted that it is often necessary to walk across the cab when working LC1 in order to fully scan the runway. Visibility of both runways and final approach areas are unobstructed from the east side of the cab. Taxiway G between 10 and 14 is not visible from the seated position ot LC2 and GC.


FAA Order 7110.65, paragraph 3-9-4(f) Taxi into Position and Hold (TIPH) states:
Do not authorize an aircraft to taxi into position and hold at an intersection between sunset and sunrises or anytime when the intersection is not visible from the tower.

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