On May 9, 2004, at 1710 central daylight time, a Diamond Aircraft Industries DA-40 single-engine low wing airplane, N89SE, and a homebuilt Giles 202 single-engine low wing airplane, N202XS, collided in-flight while on final approach to runway 18 at Georgetown Municipal Airport (GTU), near Georgetown, Texas. Both airplanes sustained substantial damage. The DA-40 was registered to Lakota Air LLC, of Kissimmee, Florida, and operated by Adventure Air Center, of Georgetown, Texas. The Giles 202 was owned and operated by the pilot. The commercial pilot and sole occupant of the DA-40 sustained minor injuries. The commercial pilot and sole occupant of the Giles 202 sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and flight plans were not filed for either flight. Both aircraft were operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights. The local flight for the DA-40 originated from GTU at 1630. The Giles 202 also originated from GTU, at an unknown time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
Multiple witness statements were obtained by the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) from individuals that observed the accident.
The first witness, located at the self-serve airport refueling area, reported seeing the DA-40 on final approach when he noticed the Giles 202 on a very high short left base, with a "relatively high sink rate." The witness stated that the DA-40 was on final at an approximate altitude of 200 feet agl, with the Giles 202 "overtaking the DA-40 quickly." Subsequently, the Giles 202 collided with the DA-40 approximately 50 feet agl.
A second witness, also located at the self-serve airport refueling area, stated that the white airplane [DA-40] was "about 30 to 40 feet in the air, when the yellow plane [Giles 202] attempted to land on top of the white plane."
A third witness, taxiing to the run-up area for runway 18, observed the DA-40 on a short final, when the Giles 202 came from behind and collided with the DA-40. This witness reported he did not hear any radio transmissions on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) 123.0 mhz.
A fourth witness, also taxiing to the run-up area for runway 18, observed the two airplanes collide. The witness recalled hearing a radio transmission regarding "someone on short final," but was unsure which aircraft made the radio call. The witness stated that the Giles 202 was descending from the left of the DA-40, very close to the end of the runway and slightly above the DA-40.
A fifth witness, located on the general aviation ramp, was preflighting an airplane when he observed the DA-40 approximately 150-200 feet agl on a steady final approach, when he noticed another airplane slightly east of the DA-40, with approximately 50 feet separation. Subsequently, the airplane descended on top of the DA-40. The witness added, "the Diamond aircraft was clearly lower when the other aircraft was slipping from a higher altitude and collided on top of the diamond." The witness further stated that upon arriving to the accident site, both pilots told him that "they never saw each other."
During a telephone interview conducted by the IIC, the 16,000-hour pilot of the DA-40 reported that he entered a left downwind for landing on runway 18, and announced his intentions for landing on the CTAF. The pilot also stated that he announced position reports on CTAF upon entering a base leg for the runway, one-mile final, and 1/2-mile final. At an altitude of approximately 50 feet, another airplane impacted the left wing. The pilot recalled cart wheeling three times before the airplane came to rest in an upright position.
The 977-hour pilot of the Giles 202 reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that he was practicing aerobatics near GTU with an observer on the ground critiquing his performance. The pilot stated they were using a frequency of 129.52 mhz to communicate. Upon finishing the practice portion of the flight, he returned to GTU. While en-route, the pilot switched to the CTAF at GTU and announced his position while on a one mile forty-five degree entry to left downwind for runway 18. After turning downwind, he reported "left downwind for runway 18" on the CTAF.
The pilot further reported that when he was abeam the numbers for runway 18, he noticed another aircraft aircraft was still on the runway and decided to extend his downwind another quarter of a mile while checking for traffic on beg and final. Once the aircraft on the runway was clear, the pilot initiated a 180-degree slipping turn to final and announced he was "left base to short final" on the CTAF as he continued checking for traffic. Subsequently, the pilot heard a "crunch" as the two aircraft collided. The pilot further stated he did not see the DA-40 or hear any radio calls from the pilot.
Examination of the DA-40 by an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed the outboard section of the left wing was torn open. The engine remained attached to the fuselage, and was compressed aft against the firewall. Examination of the Giles 202 revealed the engine was partially separated from the fuselage. Both main landing gears were separated from the fuselage. The rudder was separated from the vertical stabilizer, and was located approximately 150 feet from the wreckage.
On June 23, 2004, an FAA inspector examined the aircraft radios installed in the DA-40 and the Giles 202. The radios were removed from the DA-40 and the Giles 202 and were examined at an avionics repair facility located at GTU.
When power was applied to the top radio from the DA-40, the inspector noted 123.0 mhz was set in the "active" position, and 119.00 mhz was set in the "standby" position. When power was applied to the lower radio, the inspector noted 135.425 mhz was set to "active" frequency, and 112.80 was set to the "standby" position.
When power was applied to the radio from the Giles 202, the inspector noted 123.00 mhz was set to "active" frequency, and 129.52 mhz was set in the "standby" position.
Georgetown Municipal airport is an uncontrolled airport operating under class G airspace. Runway 18/36 is a 5,000-foot long by 100-foot wide asphalt runway. According to the Airport/Facility Directory, the published traffic pattern for runway 18 is a standard left traffic pattern. The CTAF for the airport is 123.0 mhz.