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Fri, Feb 22, 2013

NTSB Releases Prelim In Texas Mid-Air Collision

Fortunately, No One On Board Either Aircraft Was Fatally Injured

A mid-air collision which occurred February 1 near College Station, TX, is notable for a couple of reasons. The best news from the accident is that none of the three people aboard the two airplanes involved were seriously injured. The other item that makes it stand out is that while the Cirrus SR22 involved in the accident is privately owned, it was being operated by Cirrus Aircraft as a demonstration airplane. The Cirrus pilot had not contacted the control tower prior to declaring an emergency following the collision. The Cessna 152 that was involved carried an instructor and a student taking her second lesson.

NTSB Identification: CEN13LA149A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 01, 2013 in College Station, TX
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corporation SR22, registration: N247RB
Injuries: 1 Minor,2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 1, 2013, at 0805 central standard time, a Cirrus model SR22 airplane, N247RB, and a Cessna model 152 airplane, N93124, collided in-flight about 13 miles west-southwest of Easterwood Field Airport (KCLL), College Station, Texas. Both airplanes were able to land at KCLL following the collision. The Cirrus SR22 sustained substantial damage to the upper cockpit fuselage structure and the commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. The Cessna 152 sustained minor damage to the right main landing gear assembly and the flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The Cirrus was owned by a private individual, but operated by the Cirrus Aircraft Corporation as demonstration airplane. The Cessna 152 was owned and operated by the Texas A&M Flying Club. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both flights were being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The Cirrus SR22 departed Austin Executive Airport (KEDC) at 0748 and was en route to KCLL. The Cessna 152 departed KCLL at 0744 for a local instructional flight.

According to a statement provided by the Cirrus pilot, after departure he proceeded direct to KCLL under visual flight rules conditions. After the airplane had climbed above the departure airport’s traffic pattern altitude he engaged the autopilot system. The flight climbed to the desired cruise altitude of 3,500 feet mean sea level (msl) while proceeding direct KCLL. The pilot reported that as the airplane approached KCLL with the autopilot system engaged, at 3,500 feet msl, the windshield imploded from an apparent impact with an external object. He initially thought that his airplane had impacted a bird because he had not received any alerts from the airplane’s traffic advisory system nor did he see another aircraft before the impact. He subsequently recovered from an unintended descent before proceeding direct toward KCLL after declaring an emergency with the tower controller. The pilot reported that he had not established radio contact with the tower controller before the collision. A landing was made on runway 16 without further incident.

According to a statement provided by the Cessna flight instructor, the local area training flight was with a primary student on her second instructional flight. The flight consisted of basic attitude flight maneuvers, including level and climbing turns, climbs and descents to predetermined altitudes, and maintaining level flight while tracking a course. The flight instructor stated that they were climbing to 3,500 feet msl while maintaining a southeast heading when they felt an impact and heard a loud bang. He reported that the impact originated from the right side of the airplane, aft of the main cabin. The flight instructor noted that there were no apparent flight control issues after the collision and that he visually ascertained that there was no damage to the right wing. Shortly after the collision, his student saw another airplane in a rapid descent at their 10-o’clock position. The flight instructor entered a descending left turn to follow the other airplane. Shortly thereafter, the flight instructor heard another airplane declare an emergency on the tower frequency due to an imploded windshield. He noted that they were monitoring the tower frequency before the collision, but had not established radio contact with the tower controller. He turned in the general direction of KCLL with the intention of returning to the airport, while continuing to monitor the tower controller’s communications with the other aircraft. The flight instructor noted that at some point he told the tower controller that they had hit something and were returning to the airport. The tower controller requested that the Cessna stay west of the airport while the other aircraft landed. After the other airplane had landed, the tower controller transmitted that the other airplane had tire marks on its roof and requested that they make a low approach in order to verify the condition of their landing gear. The flight instructor stated that he then visually ascertained that his airplane was missing its right main landing gear wheel. His student, seated in the left seat, then visually confirmed that the left landing gear and wheel appeared undamaged. After informing the tower controller of their damage, they were asked to perform a low pass and then to circle the airport until emergency equipment was in position. After circling the airport several times the flight instructor made an uneventful landing on runway 22.

At 0753, the KCLL automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: wind calm, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 7 degrees Celsius, dew point 3 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting 30.35 inches of mercury.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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