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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN16CA126A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in Midland, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/03/2016
Aircraft: NAKAJIMA A6M2 MODEL 21, registration: N8280K
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The six-ship formation of vintage World War II airplanes had completed their run-ups on the taxiway and were preparing for departure. A departure clearance was received from air traffic control and the six-ship formation proceeded to the runway for takeoff. The Goodyear "Corsair" airplane was sixth in formation and trailing the Nakajima "Zero" airplane. These tailwheel airplanes required the pilots to taxi in an S-turn pattern due to the limited forward visibility. As the Corsair pilot proceeded with the S-turn taxi to the runway, the Corsair overtook the Zero and collided with its tail. The Zero spun right about 270 degrees and came to rest. The Corsair stopped quickly and its propeller impacted the taxiway. The Zero sustained substantial damage to the empennage and the Corsair sustained minor damage. The pilots conducted an accident debrief and determined that a lack of "vigilance" was to blame. Both pilots reported there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframes or engines that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The Goodyear pilot did not see and avoid the Nakajima ahead on the taxiway.