Accident description
Last updated: 22 August 2014
Status:Final
Date:Monday 20 February 1989
Time:16:04
Type:Silhouette image of generic SW4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Swearingen SA226-AT Merlin IV
Operator:Dirac Aviation
Registration: F-GERP
C/n / msn: AT-012
First flight: 1973
Total airframe hrs:7136
Engines: 2 Garrett TPE331-3U-303G
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Collision casualties:Fatalities: 4
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:near Castera-Lou (   France)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE/LFMN), France
Destination airport:Lourdes-Tarbes Ossun Lourdes Airport (LDE/LFBT), France
Flightnumber: 31
Narrative:
Dirac Aviation Flight 31 departed Nice for a regular flight without passengers to Tarbes. As the Merlin IV approached Tarbes, the crew received descent instructions at 15:55 the flight was cleared to descent to 2600 ft by Pau Approach and three minutes later the flight contacted Tarbes Approach Control. At that the same time a SOCATA TB-10 was flying near Tarbes. The airplane was on a navigational training flight from Pau to Tarbes. The airplane had overflown
Tarbes and was cleared for a circuit in preparation for a runway 02 approach. They left the Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) at 16:00. A few minutes later they entered the ATZ again, but did not establish radio contact with the controller. At 16:04 both aircraft collided in midair. The TB-10 crashed and the Merlin crew were able to carry out a forced landing on one engine, with a destroyed windscreen and just one landing gear leg extended. The Merlin touched down near the runway and slid for 325 m before coming to rest.


CAUSES PROBABLE: "La collision en vol des deux avions résulte de la pénétration, dans l'ATZ de Tarbes sans contact radio, à la même heure et à la même altitude que le Merlin F-GERP, du TB 10 F-GEVD, malgré l'information trafic qui lui avait été fournie. Par ailleurs la surveillance visuelle que les deux équipages étaient censés fournir ne leur a as permis de détecter l'autre avion."

Classification:
Mid air collision
Forced landing outside airport

Sources:
» Rapport final relatif a la collision en vol entre le TB 10 immatrcule F-GEVD et le Merlin IV immatricule F-GERP survenue le 20 fevrier 1989 a Tarbes (65) / Bureau Enquêtes-Accidents


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport to Lourdes-Tarbes Ossun Lourdes Airport as the crow flies is 582 km (364 miles).

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