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NTSB faults pilots in fatal Colorado midair


All of the pilots aboard a Skyhawk and a Cessna 180 that collided north of Denver last March are at fault for failing to see and avoid one another, the NTSB said in its final report of the accident this week. The flight instructor and private pilot on the Skyhawk were both killed, while the sole occupant of the Cessna 180 survived after making a forced landing near an airport. The NTSB indicated that the Cessna 180 was climbing from 6,800 feet to 7,000 feet in the moments before the crash, while the Skyhawk was level at 7,000 feet; the planes were on nearly parallel but slightly converging courses. In the midair collision, the Cessna 180’s right horizontal stabilizer was bent downward, leaving the plane with little elevator control, while the outboard six feet of the Skyhawk’s left wing was bent upward. The pilot of the Cessna 180 said she had no way of seeing the other plane, since hers didn’t have any rear windows; both high-wing planes have limited views upward. While the Skyhawk was equipped with a Garmin G1000 that was capable of displaying nearby traffic, investigators had no way to tell if the pilots got a traffic alert or tried to respond to it, since the G1000 didn’t have a secondary data card installed that would have recorded some flight data. The pilot of the Cessna 180 had about 6,300 hour of flight time, but stopped flying as a result of the accident.