A Piper PA-28-140 and a Pitts Special S-1S collided in midair while both airplanes were on final approach to land in Westminster, Maryland.
The Piper was equipped with a two-way radio and the Pitts was not.
Both pilots were flying their airplanes on a visual approach to the same runway.
The Piper entered the traffic pattern on the downwind leg, and the Pitts entered the traffic pattern on the crosswind leg.
According to the Piper pilot, he made radio calls during each leg of the traffic pattern to announce his position, and, after beginning the final approach about 1.5 nautical miles from the runway threshold, he observed the Pitts on the downwind leg.
The Pitts pilot reported that he flew a tighter traffic pattern and that he did not see the Piper.
Witnesses reported that, as the airplanes were on short final, the Pitts converged on the Piper from behind and above. The Pitts’ tailwheel struck the top of the Piper’s fuselage, and the right main landing gear struck the cowling and was subsequently separated by the Piper’s propeller.
After the collision, the Pitts entered a dive and then hit the ground, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings and elevator, as well as one serious injury.
The Piper pilot landed the airplane on the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage from the collision.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilots failure to see and avoid the other airplane, which resulted in a midair collision while both airplanes were on final approach to land.
NTSB Identification: ERA15LA084A
This December 2014 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.