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Accident Report Detail

Allegheny Airlines, Inc., DC-9, N988US, and a Forth Corporation Piper PA-28, N7374J

Executive Summary

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.

Probable Cause

The Board determines the probable cause of this accident to be the deficiencies in the collision avoidance capability of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) system of the Federal Aviation Administration in a terminal area wherein there was mixed Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) traffic. The deficiencies included the inadequacy of the see-and-avoid concept under the circumstances of this case; the technical limitations of radar in detecting all aircraft; and the absence of Federal Aviation Regulations which would provide a system or adequate separation of mixed VFR and IFR traffic in terminal areas.

Accident Location: Fairland , IN    
Accident Date: 9/9/1969
Accident ID: DCA70A0004

Date Adopted: 7/15/1970
NTSB Number: AAR-70-15
NTIS Number: PB-193788

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