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Mid-Air Collision Between 2 Small Planes Above Colorado

FAA Investigates Mid-Air Collision Between 2 Small Planes Above Cherry Creek Reservoir South Of Denver. ( More...

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bentwing60 42
This one is a small miracle. Over populated area, Cirrus with a chute, Merlin was a freighter, (kydex interior liner) and no seats to occupy in the missing section of the plane. No fatals or injuries in a hard core midair is amazing.
Chris Habig 9
And the Cirrus came down in an open area of the state park rather than the dense housing area next to it.
Agree. Must have been scary.
James Simms 2
Bet both had to change their underwear & a good stiff drink afterwards
srobak 3
precisely why housing districts need to not be near airfields. if something bad is going to happen - 95% of the time it is going to be on final or during TO.
10and250 14
Animation of the accident sequence. Radar indicated 140kt GS on the SR22 in the downwind leg, increasing to 150kt+ in the turn to base leg. No doubt the SR22 overshot the turn to final approach, and clearly ran into the Metroliner that was established on a straight in final approach to the parallel runway.
Tim Smith 1
Excellent! Thank you!
The old San Antonio Sewer Pipe (Metroliner) held together for what the pilot indicates to ATC he thought was nothing more than an engine failure.
Hey, don't pick on the Sewer Pipe. That's where I started in commercial aviation. Not exactly the best choice for a low-hours guy flying single pilot. I hated the bloody thing though I admit that wrestling it through rough air gave your arms and shoulders a good workout.
Gary Bain 1
.... not to mention going deaf. God that was a noisy airplane!
And heaven help you if you lost an engine.
joel wiley 2
Or rear cargo space to a Cirrus.
Paul Robbins 2
I was really hoping that someone would mention the Metro's true name. haha!
Haha! Glad to see I'm not the only one that calls (affectionately!) the Metroliner by that moniker.
Used to fly one for American Eagle. In its glory days, it was one of the fastest, highest commuter planes out there.
Joe Birts 1
Flying Cigar Tube
bentwing60 1
If only old 'Ed' had added about four more feet of wing on them, kinda like Beech should have on the KA A & B 100's and the F90's. They still wouldn't have been a Lear, but they wouldn't have struggled so much in the low and mid 20's on a hot day.
2sheds 6
He reported a Cessna in sight which was crossing his path but there's nothing to indicate he ever saw the metroliner which might have been almost straight-on to his line of sight and maybe hard to see. In fact, all indications (radar) are that he approached the ML and was turning with his blind side to that AC and ran right over him as the metroliner on final was around 115 to 125 kt but the SR22 was considerably faster at 145+kt.
The lower structural longerons of the metroliner firmly attached to the wing box kept it from collapsing although if he had done a go-around it might have folded up. So, where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise. I was discussing this with a former USAF heavy equipment operator (B52 pilot for the unknowing) and he said he was impressed with the technological advances of the SR22 but it would likely be a handful for the arrogant or the ignorant VLT (very low time) pilot.
He will have to do a lot of splainin' to the FAA and my guess is he'll be in real hot water. My guess is his only equipment failure was the nut behind the side stick got loose.
Dan Boss 6
Ah, that's an excellent analysis "the nut behind the side stick got loose"! But seriously, the ATC and FAA have some blame here. These parallel runways are only 700 feet apart, with highly displaced threshold of the shorter 17R. There should NEVER be simultaneous landing on both runways!

Traffic should at the very least be staggered if landing on both runways is necessary. That is to say, the dual final approaches should be treated as a single one, and ATC should have instructed the Cirrus to continue and extend his downwind leg before being allowed to turn final, until the Metro was past him.

With the Cirrus' ground speed he was doing close to 300 feet per second on base, that means a 2.5 second delay in turning final puts him into the Metro on his stabilized final.

Yes it was likely some "entitled" arrogant or ignorant VLT nut behind the stick in the Cirrus, but sane ATC procedures could have prevented this accident.
darjr26 3
I agree. I also can’t believe they use two controllers, on two different frequencies, for runways that are that close together. Having planes that close together talking and listening to different controllers is a really bad idea.
Jeff Lewis 1
Your assessment offers a very good description of 'positive control', which was clearly lacking here. We controllers get sucked into an 'aw, it'll all come out ok' mindset and fail to actually maintain manageable traffic levels. The ATC working 17R sounds good in his control phraseology, although when he says "#4 cleared to land" that is a wholesale abandonment of positive control. The ATC working 17L had poor speech rate and lacked control, even issued a flight takeoff clearance after the landing ... totally ignoring the likelihood of FOD on 17L (a pilot spoke up about this hazard,, chiming in after the takeoff clearance was issued).

Bottom line: where in the hell is the quality control in FAA ATC at KAPA???

A former ATC coworker at nearby KBJC stated it well when he said, "put the C in ATC".
Chris Croft 6
bentwing, your comments are on the money. All I can add is that with most mishaps/accidents there is a deadly series of circumstances, foreseeable or not, that come together that usually end in disaster. Miraculously this one ended well
Edward Dexter 6
Merlin must be a strong plane to hold together. And the pilot must have been very cool. Impressive.
srobak 0
you can hear it in his voice on the tape. cool as a cucumber. Must have been an ex usaf jock.
Gary Bain 5
Ex USAF jock? Give me a break. Most of the esteemed "fighter pilots" always had the ejection seat as back up. This from an old combat experienced Army aviator. No guns, no parachute, no ejection seat = real guts.
srobak 2
you know the AF has more than fighters, right?
mediplt 1
couldn't agree more. Cirrus pilots and jet jocks always quit before it gets too rough. As a retired Huey driver, I have to fly my aircraft all the way to the crash site
Randy Brown 9
This pilot is an example of what may be a Cirrus problem. I’ve heard them referred to as nerd killers, ordinary Doctors can’t afford them.
Cirrus has a slightly lower fatality rate than the overall general aviation rate. Currently .84 Cirrus .93 every other brand.
According to Cirrus they have about 2.5 chute deployment for every fatal accident.
What that sounds like to me is Cirrus pilots are getting in situations that might be fatal 3.4 times as much as other pilots.
Pilot of this Cirrus flew a down wind at 169 knots and 600 agl not parallel to the runway. Then blew through both approach paths before slicing up the Key Lime pi.
The plane was rented to him by a Cirrus Training Center. Who either failed to teach him a thing, not likely, or he was an entitled $%#@@ with an arrogant and selfish attitude. Centennial is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country and he flew like he was the only barnstormer in town.
Thomas Brown 4
Wow, 170 knots on the base leg and he reported the Metroliner in sight. They’re lucky that they had enough altitude for the parachute to deploy. It’s 400 feet level or about 1000 if in a spin, IRRC.
William Lane 2
The YT vid I saw had the cirrus and metro on different frequencies. The cirrus acknowledged the 172 ahead of him and was told to follow. There was no mention of the metro. Granted, the Cirrus was too fast and was clearly overtaking the 172, then went wide. The vid did not have any reference to the metro. And there was not enough room for both on the same descent path. Was the 172 supposed to be on the right runway too? Cause it looked like it was not inline with the left runway either.
David Belote 3
This excellent Juan Browne video, produced very soon after the May 12th mid-air collision provides a great explanation of what occurred. Tower audio, radar tracks, and a first solo pilot who was just landing confirmed the ballistic parachute deployment to the tower.
21voyageur 5
Careless private pilot dodged killing people in the air and on land by sheer luck and excellent engineering. Hope the Cirrus pilot loses their license for life. Imagine if the Metroliner had crashed into a populated area.
linbb 6
Pix of the metro liner and the aTC comment says it all, the cirrus over shot the runway approach.
Jay Cee 2
I wonder how much the Metroliner spent at Signature Aviation? My bet is that he did not refuel!
James Cox 2
Pilot of the Cirrus may have survived the accident, I doubt his pilot certificate will!
dee9bee 3
I'm betting he will keep his ticket. However, he or she will need to perform a very apologetic carpet dance, followed by an FAA "part 709 ride", basically a check flight to ascertain if you are able perform the responsibilities of the Pilot certificate you possess.
Steve B balko 1
Unbelievable. Seeing that Merlin almost cut in half and the pilot landed it like there was nothing to it. Amazing how there wasn’t any fatalities.
robert eagle 1
From the pix of the Metroliner and the seemingly intact wings of the Cirrus, the Cirrus prop may have chopped into an inch or two of the crown of the fuselage at high rpm, very high speed and enough bank to clear the vertical stabilizer. Just a guess, a miracle in any case.
George Pepe 0
What planes collided?
joel wiley 2
Did you still have the question after reading the story that is the basis for this thread, please let us know.
George Pepe 1
Cirrus and a Fairchild metro liner


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