Instructional flights end with mid-air collision

This December 2008 accident report is 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: Piper Seminole, Cessna 172. Injuries: 4 Fatal. Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: A Cessna and a Piper were on separate instructional flights operating in an area with a high volume of flight training. The airplanes came from two different flight schools. The area is depicted on the Miami sectional chart as an Alert Area because of intensive flight training. At the time of the accident the weather was reported as clear skies and visibility of 10 miles.

A 179-hour private pilot and a 816-hour CFI were on board the Cessna. The left seat of the Piper was occupied by a MEI with approximately 920 hours. The pilot in the right seat had 1,156 hours and was training for his multiengine instructor certificate.

There was an advisory frequency that was used by the flight schools in the area. The Cessna pilot reported that he was “a Cessna 172 holding at FRDDY at 2,000 feet.” No other radio transmissions were heard from the Cessna. There were no reports of any radio transmissions from the Piper. Radar information indicated that the Cessna was on a heading of 210° and at a speed of 86 knots. The Piper was on a heading of 160° and was at a speed of 126 knots. The airplanes converged at about 2,000 feet AGL.

Probable cause: The failure of both pilots to see and avoid the other aircraft.

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