Taildraggers collide on landing

Aircraft: Cessna 185A, Taylorcraft. Injuries: None. Location: Madras, Ore. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: At the time of the accident, the ceiling was broken clouds at about 6,500 feet AGL, and visibility was more than 10 miles. The Cessna and a Taylorcraft were both on approach to the same runway.

The pilot of the Cessna was on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern. The pilot of the Taylorcraft was returning from a local area training flight and entered the downwind leg of the traffic pattern from a standard mid-field 45° entry.

The Cessna pilot was announcing his position on the common traffic advisory frequency during each segment of the pattern. The Taylorcraft did not have a radio.

The airplanes collided on short final. Just prior to impact, the pilot of the Taylorcraft saw the empennage of the Cessna beneath the left wing of his airplane. The propeller of the Taylorcraft hit the empennage of the Cessna. The Cessna pilot said he never saw the Taylorcraft, but heard a loud bang come from the aft end of his airplane at impact. Both pilots were able to land their airplanes.

Probable cause: The failure of both pilots to see and avoid the other airplane while in the traffic pattern to land, which resulted in a midair collision.

NTSB Identification: WPR11LA068B

This December 2010 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.


  1. RB says

    Funny that you all want radio reporting for safety, What’s wrong with just following a set pattern so everyone does the right thing with no straight -ins or right traffic when not depicted?
    We should all carry radios in our cars and announce ” I am making a left turn onto Main street”,
    “I am going to brake before I get to the intersection”.
    Come on guys, use a little common sense and look outside the airplane and not at your glass panel!!
    Get you head out of your glass.

    • Vaughn S. Price says

      I totally agree with RB I have over 15000 hrs general aviation over 7000 hr teaching, owned 3 part 141 schools flown 139 different models including several 1920’s models. The only near collisions were under tower instructions or in route radar with transponder. I have never scratched an airplane. “GET YOUR HEAD SCANNING” WING NOSE WING.BEFORE TURNING LIFT EACH WING AND SCAN FOR TRAFFIC.AND OH YES IF THE SUN IS OUT FIND YOUR SHADOW ON THE GROUND,and LOOK FOR CONVERGING SHADOWS!!!!

    • Leonard Nolden says

      Radio’s are a must in airplanes as they do not have street’s in the sky,rear view mirrors,or above/ below mirrors. A handheld radio is not that expensive.

  2. Lee Ensminger says

    Agreed. It’s the 21st century. With today’s modern, miniaturized electronics, even an aircraft without an electrical system can, and should, have at least a radio. And use it!

  3. says

    Flying a Taylorcraft is like flying in a cave: 36 feet of wing right above your head, @ little windows. I agree, however, handhelds are cheap. I can see how it could happen, I have owned both aircraft: the T-craft makes a high, gliding, shallow descent, and the 185 makes a high, steep descent. So grateful no one was hurt, but then again, tailwheel pilots have sharp skills. :-)

  4. Wnard says

    I agree. I am a freshly minted Private Pilot, so there is a lot that I don’t know. I can’t understand why radios aren’t mandated by the FAA. A good hand held can be had for well under $200, so cost can’t be the issue. It is not unusual when flying into non-towered airports to run across planes that are not announcing their postions and intentions mixing in with those that are. It seems like this small cost to pilots could provide a signifacant increase in safety. There must be some issue that I am missing on this, since it seems so easy to do.

  5. Chuck Raymond says

    Flying without a radio is flying un-informed and irresponsible.
    Hand held radios are cheaper than repairs and or lose of a aircraft not to mention the loss of lives

      • peter havriluk says

        I agree with the comments that handheld radios are so inexpensive as to be a virtual necessity, and I think that to operate ‘nordo’ at an airport with a mixture of traffic that ensures that other traffic is radio-equipped creates a dangerous situation for no good reason at all, except if the pilot is deaf, and if that’s the case, the uncommunicative pilot ought to be flying very defensively indeed. As should anybody operating without a radio.

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