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N86801 accident description

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Tail numberN86801
Accident dateFebruary 07, 2000
Aircraft typeBellanca 8GCBC
LocationSylmar, CA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 7, 2000, at 0950 hours Pacific standard time, an amateur built Gray Questair Venture, N869DG, collided with a Bellanca Citabria, N86801, near Sylmar, California. N869DG was maneuvering to land at the Van Nuys, California, airport. The Citabria was operating as Pipeline 801 for crude oil pipeline patrol, and was orbiting over a construction site near the point of collision. Both aircraft were operating under 14 CFR Part 91, and were in contact with the Van Nuys Air Traffic Control Tower while in class "E" airspace. Both aircraft were destroyed in the collision and ground impact. The airline transport rated pilot and pilot rated passenger in N869DG, and the airline transport rated pilot and private rated pilot in N86801 all received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight of the Questair and no flight plan was filed. The Questair flight originated at La Verne, California, at 0935. The Citabria pipeline patrol flight originated at Bakersfield, California, on the morning of the accident, and a company flight plan was filed.

The pilot of the Citabria contacted the Van Nuys control tower at 0942, stating "Newhall Pass we'll be here for about 5 minutes." The tower approved the request and they assigned a transponder code of 0222. A subsequent investigation disclosed that the airplane was orbiting in left turns about 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl) over a construction site where earth movers were moving dirt. The construction site's location is 6.3 miles north of the Van Nuys airport and in line with the localizer (extended centerline) to the active runway 16R. The construction site is over an underground crude oil pipeline.

At 0948, the Questair called the Van Nuys tower and reported its location as "North of San Fernando Reservoir with Romeo" (San Fernando Reservoir is a designated reporting point for traffic arriving to the airport and is in the approximate vicinity of the collision site). North of San Fernando Reservoir is considered the Newhall Pass. The Questair was advised by controllers to make a straight-in approach to runway 16R and was given a transponder code of 0237 for radar identification. Runway 16L was closed for maintenance. The pilot verified the code assignment and there was no further conversation with either airplane. The code appeared on the Van Nuys radar at 0949:08.

The high point of terrain in the accident area was measured to be 1,400 feet msl. According to preliminary radar data, both airplanes were about 2,000 feet msl at the time of collision.

PILOT INFORMATION

Questair Venture Pilot

The owner/pilot of the experimental Questair was an airline transport rated pilot and a working captain of a Grumman Gulfstream G-V airplane. At the pilot's last first-class flight physical on September 20, 1999, he reported a total flight time of 20,000 hours with 300 in the last 6 months. He possessed a waiver of demonstrated ability for having one eye. The left eye was listed as having the visual acuity of 20/15. The right eye was lost in an industrial accident.

Questair Venture Pilot Rated Passenger

The pilot rated passenger held a private pilot's certificate for airplane single engine land and sea. Her last documented third-class flight physical occurred on September 7, 1999, with no restrictions.

Bellanca Citabria Pilot (Rear Seat)

The owner/pilot of the Citabria was a certificated airline transport rated pilot for multiengine land airplanes, and commercial rated for single engine land and helicopter. He also held a certified flight instructor certificate for airplane single land and helicopter. At his last reported second-class flight physical on March 2, 1999, he reported a total flight time of 7,500 hours with 300 hours in the last 6 months.

Bellanca Citabria Pilot (Front Seat)

The pilot held a private pilot certificate issued August 5, 1998, and was rated for airplane single engine land. At his last recorded second-class flight physical on January 20, 2000, he reported a total flight time of 150 hours.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

Experimental Questair Venture

N869DG is a 2-place low wing all metal homebuilt experimental capable of a cruise speed of 300 mph. The last documented annual/condition inspection occurred on January 15, 2001, at 45.6 total hours.

Bellanca Citabria

The Citabria is a two-place tandem seating high wing production airplane constructed of steel tube and fabric, and is capable of operating at cruise speeds about 105 mph.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0951, the Van Nuys weather was reported as scattered clouds at 25,000 feet; visibility 10 statute miles; temperature 66 degrees Fahrenheit; and dew point 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The Safety Board examined the wreckages on-site. According to radar data, the collision occurred at coordinates 34 degrees 19 minutes 13.4 seconds north latitude and 118 degrees 29 minutes 38.2 seconds west longitude, about 2,000 feet msl. The wreckage of the two aircraft was separated by the I-5 freeway and was about 1 mile apart.

Questair Venture

The Questair wreckage was located about 300 feet southwest of Interstate 5 freeway on Metropolitan Water District property.

The Questair was found lying inverted at the base of a tree. The airplane structure was accounted for at the accident site except for an outboard left wing panel. The left outboard wing panel, from 2 inches inboard of the fuel tank filler port to the wing tip with the pitot tube assembly, was found below the radar's collision point. Postaccident examination revealed a near straight line severing of the panel from the leading edge to the trailing edge. The panel was missing the aileron.

The left wing inboard section was located near the wreckage, broken from the fuselage and revealing a large radius impact to the leading edge about 18 inches from the wing root. Tree bark type material was found in the radius of the main wing spar.

A 45-inch section of the left aileron was recovered from the number 1 northbound lane of the I-5 freeway. Various pieces of canopy glass, cell phone, and cockpit area items were found in a construction site believed to be below the in-flight collision point, according to the radar data.

Bellanca Citabria

The Citabria wreckage was located on the Cascade Golf Course and below high-tension power lines with some debris hanging from one line. A postcrash fire consumed major portions of the wreckage. The entire airplane structure was accounted for except for left wing fabric pieces and wing rib parts. The missing parts were recovered at the construction site below the mid-air collision point, as determined from radar data. The wreckage was found in three separate nearby locations below the high-tension power lines.

The left landing gear assembly was found separated from the fuselage and free of fire damage. Examination of the landing gear leg revealed abrasion marks from the brake disc area upwards about 8 to 10 inches with remnants of red paint and green primer.

In the general area of the radar's collision point, remnants of green aircraft fabric and wing rib material were found on the ground.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On February 11, 2000, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner conducted post mortem examinations on the four pilots. During the course of the procedure the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, obtained samples for toxicological analysis.

The analyses were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and drugs for the four pilots. The volatiles analysis showed the pilot rated passenger in the Questair had: 40 (mg/dl, mg/hg) of Ethanol detected in kidney, 36 (mg/dl, mg/hg) of Ethanol detected in muscle, 3 (mg/dl, mg/hg) of Acetaldehyde detected in kidney, and 8 (mg/dl,mghg)of Methanol detected in kidney.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

An Air Traffic Control Group Chairman's Factual report is attached. The ATC group's investigation determined that the Citabria, a pipeline patrol aircraft, was radar identified and in radio contact at 0942:21 with Van Nuys control tower. The tower was providing VFR traffic advisory service to the Citabria in class "E" airspace. The Citabria was assigned a transponder code of 0222. The Citabria was orbiting over a construction site near the point of collision. The Citabria had been given other traffic while in contact with Van Nuys. The radar system was experiencing intermittent reception of the transponder and Mode C function of the airplane.

The Questair was in the process of being radar identified for arrival sequencing and traffic advisories. The Questair pilot contacted Van Nuys tower at 0948:48 "north of San Fernando reservoir with Romeo" about 6.5 miles from the active runway in class "E" airspace. The Van Nuys tower cleared the Questair pilot to make a straight in to runway 16R and squawk 0237. The San Fernando Reservoir is a designated reporting point, and north of it, is the Newhall Pass.

At 0949:08, the Van Nuys tower received the transponder code for the Questair with a reporting altitude 2,500 feet. According to radar data, the Citabria appeared to be turning left into the path of the Questair's reporting altitude of 2,200 feet. The collision appeared to occur about 0949:10. The elapsed time from the Questair pilot's first call to Van Nuys to the collision was approximately 22 seconds.

Examination of the radar data revealed that at the time the controller received the transponder code 0237, the Questair was inbound from the northeast descending out of 2,900 feet msl, indicating a groundspeed of about 217 knots/250 mph. This was about 2 miles from the Citabria's last reported altitude of about 2,200 feet.

On March 20, 2001, the wreckage of the Questair was released to the owner's legal representative.

On March 20, 2001, the wreckage of the Citabria was released to the insurance company representative.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 7, 2000, at 0950 hours Pacific standard time, an amateur built Gray Questair Venture, N869DG, collided with a Bellanca Citabria, N86801, near Sylmar, California. N869DG was maneuvering to land at the Van Nuys, California, airport. The Citabria was operating as Pipeline 801 for crude oil pipeline patrol, and was orbiting over a construction site near the point of collision. Both aircraft were operating under 14 CFR Part 91, and were in contact with the Van Nuys Air Traffic Control Tower while in class "E" airspace. Both aircraft were destroyed in the collision and ground impact. The airline transport rated pilot and pilot rated passenger in N869DG, and the airline transport rated pilot and private rated pilot in N86801 all received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight of the Questair and no flight plan was filed. The Questair flight originated at La Verne, California, at 0935. The Citabria pipeline patrol flight originated at Bakersfield, California, on the morning of the accident, and a company flight plan was filed.

The pilot of the Citabria contacted the Van Nuys control tower at 0942, stating "Newhall Pass we'll be here for about 5 minutes." The tower approved the request and they assigned a transponder code of 0222. A subsequent investigation disclosed that the airplane was orbiting in left turns about 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl) over a construction site where earth movers were moving dirt. The construction site's location is 6.3 miles north of the Van Nuys airport and in line with the localizer (extended centerline) to the active runway 16R. The construction site is over an underground crude oil pipeline.

At 0948, the Questair called the Van Nuys tower and reported its location as "North of San Fernando Reservoir with Romeo" (San Fernando Reservoir is a designated reporting point for traffic arriving to the airport and is in the approximate vicinity of the collision site). North of San Fernando Reservoir is considered the Newhall Pass. The Questair was advised by controllers to make a straight-in approach to runway 16R and was given a transponder code of 0237 for radar identification. Runway 16L was closed for maintenance. The pilot verified the code assignment and there was no further conversation with either airplane. The code appeared on the Van Nuys radar at 0949:08.

The high point of terrain in the accident area was measured to be 1,400 feet msl. According to preliminary radar data, both airplanes were about 2,000 feet msl at the time of collision.

PILOT INFORMATION

Questair Venture Pilot

The owner/pilot of the experimental Questair was an airline transport rated pilot and a working captain of a Grumman Gulfstream G-V airplane. At the pilot's last first-class flight physical on September 20, 1999, he reported a total flight time of 20,000 hours with 300 in the last 6 months. He possessed a waiver of demonstrated ability for having one eye. The left eye was listed as having the visual acuity of 20/15. The right eye was lost in an industrial accident.

Questair Venture Pilot Rated Passenger

The pilot rated passenger held a private pilot's certificate for airplane single engine land and sea. Her last documented third-class flight physical occurred on September 7, 1999, with no restrictions.

Bellanca Citabria Pilot (Rear Seat)

The owner/pilot of the Citabria was a certificated airline transport rated pilot for multiengine land airplanes, and commercial rated for single engine land and helicopter. He also held a certified flight instructor certificate for airplane single land and helicopter. At his last reported second-class flight physical on March 2, 1999, he reported a total flight time of 7,500 hours with 300 hours in the last 6 months.

Bellanca Citabria Pilot (Front Seat)

The pilot held a private pilot certificate issued August 5, 1998, and was rated for airplane single engine land. At his last recorded second-class flight physical on January 20, 2000, he reported a total flight time of 150 hours.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

Experimental Questair Venture

N869DG is a 2-place low wing all metal homebuilt experimental capable of a cruise speed of 300 mph. The last documented annual/condition inspection occurred on January 15, 2001, at 45.6 total hours.

Bellanca Citabria

The Citabria is a two-place tandem seating high wing production airplane constructed of steel tube and fabric, and is capable of operating at cruise speeds about 105 mph.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0951, the Van Nuys weather was reported as scattered clouds at 25,000 feet; visibility 10 statute miles; temperature 66 degrees Fahrenheit; and dew point 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The Safety Board examined the wreckages on-site. According to radar data, the collision occurred at coordinates 34 degrees 19 minutes 13.4 seconds north latitude and 118 degrees 29 minutes 38.2 seconds west longitude, about 2,000 feet msl. The wreckage of the two aircraft was separated by the I-5 freeway and was about 1 mile apart.

Questair Venture

The Questair wreckage was located about 300 feet southwest of Interstate 5 freeway on Metropolitan Water District property.

The Questair was found lying inverted at the base of a tree. The airplane structure was accounted for at the accident site except for an outboard left wing panel. The left outboard wing panel, from 2 inches inboard of the fuel tank filler port to the wing tip with the pitot tube assembly, was found below the radar's collision point. Postaccident examination revealed a near straight line severing of the panel from the leading edge to the trailing edge. The panel was missing the aileron.

The left wing inboard section was located near the wreckage, broken from the fuselage and revealing a large radius impact to the leading edge about 18 inches from the wing root. Tree bark type material was found in the radius of the main wing spar.

A 45-inch section of the left aileron was recovered from the number 1 northbound lane of the I-5 freeway. Various pieces of canopy glass, cell phone, and cockpit area items were found in a construction site believed to be below the in-flight collision point, according to the radar data.

Bellanca Citabria

The Citabria wreckage was located on the Cascade Golf Course and below high-tension power lines with some debris hanging from one line. A postcrash fire consumed major portions of the wreckage. The entire airplane structure was accounted for except for left wing fabric pieces and wing rib parts. The missing parts were recovered at the construction site below the mid-air collision point, as determined from radar data. The wreckage was found in three separate nearby locations below the high-tension power lines.

The left landing gear assembly was found separated from the fuselage and free of fire damage. Examination of the landing gear leg revealed abrasion marks from the brake disc area upwards about 8 to 10 inches with remnants of red paint and green primer.

In the general area of the radar's collision point, remnants of green aircraft fabric and wing rib material were found on the ground.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On February 11, 2000, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner conducted post mortem examinations on the four pilots. During the course of the procedure the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, obtained samples for toxicological analysis.

The analyses were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and drugs for the four pilots. The volatiles analysis showed the pilot rated passenger in the Questair had: 40 (mg/dl, mg/hg) of Ethanol detected in kidney, 36 (mg/dl, mg/hg) of Ethanol detected in muscle, 3 (mg/dl, mg/hg) of Acetaldehyde detected in kidney, and 8 (mg/dl,mghg)of Methanol detected in kidney.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

An Air Traffic Control Group Chairman's Factual report is attached. The ATC group's investigation determined that the Citabria, a pipeline patrol aircraft, was radar identified and in radio contact at 0942:21 with Van Nuys control tower. The tower was providing VFR traffic advisory service to the Citabria in class "E" airspace. The Citabria was assigned a transponder code of 0222. The Citabria was orbiting over a construction site near the point of collision. The Citabria had been given other traffic while in contact with Van Nuys. The radar system was experiencing intermittent reception of the transponder and Mode C function of the airplane.

The Questair was in the process of being radar identified for arrival sequencing and traffic advisories. The Questair pilot contacted Van Nuys tower at 0948:48 "north of San Fernando reservoir with Romeo" about 6.5 miles from the active runway in class "E" airspace. The Van Nuys tower cleared the Questair pilot to make a straight in to runway 16R and squawk 0237. The San Fernando Reservoir is a designated reporting point, and north of it, is the Newhall Pass.

At 0949:08, the Van Nuys tower received the transponder code for the Questair with a reporting altitude 2,500 feet. According to radar data, the Citabria appeared to be turning left into the path of the Questair's reporting altitude of 2,200 feet. The collision appeared to occur about 0949:10. The elapsed time from the Questair pilot's first call to Van Nuys to the collision was approximately 22 seconds.

Examination of the radar data revealed that at the time the controller received the transponder code 0237, the Questair was inbound from the northeast descending out of 2,900 feet msl, indicating a groundspeed of about 217 knots/250 mph. This was about 2 miles from the Citabria's last reported altitude of about 2,200 feet.

On March 20, 2001, the wreckage of the Questair was released to the owner's legal representative.

On March 20, 2001, the wreckage of the Citabria was released to the insurance company representative.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.