WPR11LA068B
WPR11LA068B

On December 1, 2010, about 1130 Pacific standard time, the propeller of a Taylorcraft BC-65, N23619, and the aft portion of the empennage of a Cessna 185A, N1699Z, came in contact with each other while both aircraft were on a visual flight rules (VFR) final approach to runway 16 at Madras Municipal Airport, Madras, Oregon. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and his student in the Taylorcraft, which was not radio equipped, were not injured, but the airplane, which was owned and operated by Berg Air, sustained substantial damage to the forward part of its fuselage. The commercial pilot and his passenger in the Cessna were also uninjured, but the Cessna, which was owned and operated by the passenger, sustained substantial damage to its empennage and aft fuselage. The occupants of the Taylorcraft were on a 14 Code of Federal Regulation Part 91 local instructional flight, and the occupants of the Cessna were on a 14 Code of Federal Regulations personal pleasure flight. The pilot of the Cessna was on his second circuit of the VFR pattern to runway 16. The occupants of the Taylorcraft were on their first circuit of the VFR pattern to runway 16, after returning from a training flight in the local area and entering the pattern via a standard 45 degree entry to the downwind. Neither aircraft was on a flight plan.

According to the flight instructor in the Taylorcraft, who was flying the airplane at the time of the accident, neither occupant had seen the Cessna until the empennage of the Cessna suddenly appeared underneath and very close to the left wing of his airplane while he was on short final. He said that at the precise moment that he noticed the Cessna, it seemed to slow, and as it did, its nose lowered and its tail pitched up. The CFI therefore immediately tried to bank to the right to avoid contact, but the propeller of the Taylorcraft came in contact with the Cessna before he could gain separation. After impacting the Cessna, the Taylorcraft's propeller stopped turning, and therefore the CFI made a power-off landing in the extended 1,800-foot paved stop-way of the old military runway.

According to the pilot of the Cessna, who had announced his position on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) on each segment of the traffic pattern, neither he nor his passenger ever saw the Taylorcraft, but while on short final he heard a loud bang come from the aft end of the airplane. Immediately after he heard the bang, the airplane pitched down and rolled to the right, but the pilot was able to regain control and continue flying straight ahead. Because he was unaware that the airplane had come in contact with another airplane, and because he thought the airplane had either impacted a large bird or experienced some sort of mechanical failure, he elected to climb straight ahead and land at the airplane's home airport, which was about 10 minutes away. It was not until after landing at the airplane's home airport and inspecting the airplane that the pilot of the Cessna realized there had been a mid-air collision.

Both pilots had flown standard VFR left hand patterns for runway 16. The pilot of the Cessna entered the downwind from the crosswind after completing his first touch-and-go landing. The pilot of the Taylorcraft entered the downwind near mid-field from a 45 degree entry leg. The pilot of the Cessna was making position/intention radio calls at each segment of the pattern. The Taylorcraft was not radio-equipped, nor was it required to be. Therefore the pilot of the Taylorcraft was unable to announce his position/intentions, nor was he able to hear the transitions of the pilot of the Cessna. Neither occupant of either airplane noticed that there was another airplane in the VFR pattern at the same time as they were.

At the time of the accident, there were broken clouds about 6,500 feet above ground level (AGL), and a visibility of more than 10 miles.

Neither pilot reported any pre-impact anomalies or malfunctions associated with his airplane.

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