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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CHI06FA010A
Accident occurred Friday, October 14, 2005 in Rootstown, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/26/2007
Aircraft: Plavcan Lancair 235, registration: N235U
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A Lancair 235 airplane and a Cessna 172L airplane were destroyed when they collided in midair during day visual meteorological conditions. The Lancair departed on a personal flight from an airport approximately 38 miles south of the accident site, for a destination airport about 8 miles north-northwest of the accident site. Radar track data depicted the Lancair's flight path as north-northeast, on a direct path to the destination airport, at an altitude between 2,200 to 2,500 feet msl. The Cessna departed an airport about 15 miles west-southwest of the accident site, and flew eastbound with a flight instructor and dual student on an instrument training flight. Radar data indicated that the flight had numerous heading and altitude changes, consistent with the training mission. According to radar track data, during the final minute prior to the collision, the Lancair was on true course of about 356 degrees, with a ground speed of approximately 145 knots. The Cessna was on a true course of about 295 degrees, with a ground speed of approximately 100 knots, and an altitude of 2,300 feet. The relative angle as extrapolated from radar data, indicates that the Cessna would have been positioned about 45 degrees to the right of the Lancair's nose, and the Lancair would have been approximately 80 degrees to the left of the Cessna's nose. A witness to the accident stated that both airplanes appeared to be in straight and level flight prior to impact. Neither airplane was under air traffic control. Federal Air Regulations state that vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. Postaccident inspection disclosed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies with either airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The failure of both pilots to maintain an adequate visual lookout during cruise flight, which resulted in their failure to see and avoid each other and a midair collision.