Three die in mid-air collision

This May 2007 accident report was provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 172, Beech Bonanza.
Location: Sharonville, Ohio.
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The accident happened in daylight VFR conditions. The Bonanza departed the non-towered airport and headed north. The pilot requested flight following from air traffic control, but due to a heavy workload, the air traffic controller declined to provide the service.

According to radar information, the Bonanza was maneuvering north of the airport at altitudes between 2,600 and 2,900 feet MSL. After a few minutes, the Bonanza turned back toward the airport and began a descent.

The Cessna departed the same airport about eight minutes after the Bonanza. It was climbing and heading away from the airport as the Bonanza approached.

A witness told investigators that the airplanes were not approaching head on, but it was obvious they were on a collision course. The airplanes rolled towards each other, their wings hit and both crashed.

Probable cause: The inadequate visual lookout of the pilots in both airplanes, and their failure to maintain clearance.

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