This October 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: Cessna 180, Cessna 210. Injuries: None. Location: Whitewater, Colo. Aircraft damage: Substantial, Minor.
What reportedly happened: According to the pilot of the Cessna 180, he was descending westbound from 16,500 feet to 8,500 feet. As he passed 10,500 feet, he was looking out the passenger’s window, hoping to catch a glimpse of deer. At approximately 10,000 feet, the passenger yelled and the pilot looked up to see the other airplane approaching head-on. The pilot of the C-180 put the airplane into a dive, then felt an impact. The pilot then made a forced landing in a field. The airplane nosed over during the roll out.
According to the pilot of the C-210 he was climbing eastbound between 9,500 and 10,500 feet he heard a loud bang. He said his forward vision was compromised because of glare from the sun. He thought he had hit a bird. The pilot of the C-210 elected to return to the airport to check the airplane for damage. During the deployment of the landing gear, he noted that the nose gear did not extend properly. After several unsuccessful attempts to lower the nose gear, he landed the airplane with the nose gear up. The airplane skidded on its nose for approximately 300 feet before coming to a stop.
Probable cause: Both pilots’ failure to see and avoid the other airplane. Contributing factors in this accident were the Cessna 180 pilot’s attention being diverted and the Cessna 210 pilot’s vision being affected by the sun glare.
For more information: NTSB.gov