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N310CD accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 35.587222°N, 115.463611°W
Nearest city Primm, NV
35.612760°N, 115.390272°W
4.5 miles away
Tail number N310CD
Accident date 23 Oct 2015
Aircraft type Cessna 310C
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 23, 2015, about 1015 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 310C multiengine airplane, N310CD, and a single-engine Piper PA-28-200, N9475N, collided in midair, about 5 nautical miles south of Primm, Nevada. The Cessna's certified flight instructor (CFI), who occupied the right pilot seat, and the pilot/owner receiving instruction who occupied the left pilot seat, were not injured. Additionally, the pilot of the Piper, who was the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flights were being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and no flight plans had been filed. Both airplanes departed the Henderson Executive Airport (HND), Henderson, Nevada, the Cessna about 0915, the Piper about 0950.

In a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the CFI of the Cessna reported that while giving the pilot/owner instruction in approach configurations at 6,500 feet mean sea level (msl), on a magnetic heading of 340 degrees, he observed a small dot in front of him, and just prior to impact he saw an approaching airplane; the CFI opined that he thought the pilot/owner had made a slight nose down control input prior to the collision. After assessing the damage to the airplane, which had resulted in a jammed rudder, the CFI contacted the HND air traffic control tower, reported the midair collision, and indicated that he would be returning to HND. The Cessna subsequently landed at HND without further incident. A postaccident examination revealed that the airplane's vertical stabilizer and rudder had sustained substantial damage.

In a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC, the pilot of the Piper stated that he was level on a southwest heading at 6,500 msl level doing engine power checks, and as he initiated, or was already in a left turn, he heard a loud bang. The pilot reported that after the impact, he observed another airplane flying away from his position, and shortly thereafter heard a radio transmission to the HND tower from a pilot indicating that he had been involved in a midair collision, and was returning to HND. The pilot further stated that he subsequently experienced a loss of engine power, after which he elected to land on a dry lake bed. The pilot added that upon landing and during the landing roll, he had no right brake, which was the result of the right main landing gear brake line having been compromised due to the collision. Additionally, fuel was dripping from the right side of the airplane, due to a fuel line having been compromised as a result of the impact with the Cessna. It was also revealed that the right wing's forward wing root area had sustained substantial damage, as well as the left horizontal stabilizer.

According to a local Federal Aviation Administration operations aviation safety inspector who interviewed the pilots of both airplanes, the inspector reported that the area in which the accident occurred, near the Jean Airport (0LF), Jean, Nevada, is widely used for training. As such, a common practice is for pilots in the area to use the 0LF Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) 122.9, while in the area to make position reports, monitor other aircraft, and to continue to do so while operating in the area. The inspector reported that none of the three pilots reported using the 0LF CTAF frequency at any time leading up to the accident; they were monitoring the HND control tower frequency.

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook states,

"Collision Avoidance: All pilots must be alert to the potential for midair collision and near midair collision. This concept requires that vigilance shall be maintained at all times, by each person operating an aircraft regardless of whether the operation is conducted under instrument flight rules (IFR) or visual flight rules (VFR). Most midair collision accidents and reported near midair collision incidents occur in good VFR weather conditions, and during the hours of daylight. Most of these accident/incidents occur within 5 miles of an airport, and/or near navigation aids."

NTSB Probable Cause

The inadequate visual lookout by the pilots of both airplanes, which resulted in a midair collision. Contributing to the accident was the pilots' failure to tune to, monitor, and communicate over the common traffic advisory frequency their relative positions while in the training area.

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