An Allegheny Airlines, Inc., DC-9, N988VJ, and a Forth Corporation, Piper PA-28, N7374J, collided in flight approximately 4 miles northwest of Fairland, Indiana, at approximately 1529 e.d.t., September 9, 1969. All 83 occupants, 78 passengers and four crewembers, aboard the DC-9 and the pilot of the PA-28 were fatally injured. Both aircraft were destroyed by the collision and ground impact.
Allegheny 853 was under positive radar control of the Federal Aviation Administration's Indianapol1s Approach Control, descending from 6,000 feet to an assigned altitude of 2,500 feet at the time of the collision. N7374J was being flown by a student pilot on a solo cross-country in accordance with a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight plan. The collision occurred at an altitude of approxitnately 3,550 feet.
The visibility in the area was at least 15 miles, but there was an lntervening cloud condition which precluded the crew of either aircraft from sighting the other until a few seconds prior to collision.