NYC07LA209A
NYC07LA209A

On September 2, 2007, at 1055 eastern daylight time, a North American SNJ-2, N62382, was substantially damaged when it was struck by another North American SNJ-2, N52033, while taxiing at Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York. Both certificated airline transport pilots were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the local aerial advertising formation flight, which was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The accident airplanes were operating as part of a five airplane, aerial advertising formation flight. N62382, the airplane struck, was operating as the number 4 airplane in the formation, and the other airplane, N52033, was operating as the number 5 airplane.

According to the pilot of airplane 5, the airplanes were parked in the order 1, 3, 5, 4, and 2, with airplanes 1 and 3 to his left, and airplanes 4 and 2 to his right. After performing the pretaxi checks, the airplanes in the formation began to taxi. While still in the parking spot, the pilot of airplane 5 realized that he had forgot to put in his earplugs, so he removed his helmet to put them in. After replacing his helmet, he looked up and saw what he thought was airplane 4, whom he was to follow, was no longer in its parking spot, and that the other airplanes had taxied relatively far down the taxiway.

The pilot then taxied out of the parking spot to join the formation. The pilot then began to turn the airplane left when he observed a "flurry of debris" to his left. He immediately shut down the engine, and after exiting the airplane, realized that his airplane had struck airplane 4. The propeller of airplane 5 had damaged the left aileron, and outer aft portion of the left wing of airplane 4. Additionally, the pitot tube, located on the right wing of airplane 5 had damaged the rudder of airplane 4.

The pilot additionally described that the due to the tail wheel-equipped airplane's attitude on the ground, it was impossible to see over the nose of the airplane. He also stated that he that during the brief time that he was putting in his ear plugs, he "lost situational awareness."

The pilot of airplane 5 held an airline transport pilot certificate with numerous ratings including airplane single engine land privileges at the commercial pilot level. The pilot's most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was dated July 2006, and at that time he reported 11,200 total hours of flight experience.

The pilot of airplane 4 held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, and a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. The pilot's most recent application for an FAA second class medical certificate was dated April 2007, and at that time he reported 21,000 total hours of flight experience.

The weather conditions reported at FRG, at 1053, included clear skies, 10 miles visibility, and winds from 030 degrees at 6 knots.

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