A red V Star biplane and a white Aviat Pitts biplane collided while both airplanes were landing on the same runway at the airport in Tullahoma, Tennessee.
Review of both pilot statements, a witness statement, and a video from a recorder attached to the white biplane pilot’s helmet revealed that the red biplane was ahead of the white biplane in the left airport traffic pattern.
Both pilots reported their positions on the common traffic advisory frequency; the white biplane pilot reported when he entered the downwind and final legs, and the red biplane pilot reported when he was 7 miles inbound and when he entered the downwind leg.
A review of the video showed that, for a 7-second period just before and as the white biplane was turning onto the base leg, the red biplane was visible as a small, dull, white flashing dot above trees on a flightpath consistent with entering the final leg.
The red biplane then disappeared behind the white biplane’s upper wing, but then reappeared for 4 more seconds while the white biplane was on the left base leg.
The red biplane then moved from left of the white biplane’s nose and just below the upper wing to centered just above the nose. The red biplane then disappeared below the white biplane’s cowling until one second before impact.
The white biplane was faster than the red biplane, flew a closer traffic pattern, and turned onto the base leg sooner, which resulted in the white biplane overtaking the red biplane and landing on top of it as the red biplane touched down on the runway.
Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate visual lookout, which resulted in his airplane landing on top of the other airplane.
NTSB Identification: ERA15LA210A
This May 2015 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.