Narrative:The Hawker 800XP departed Carlsbad (CLD) on a flight to Reno (RNO). Descending for Reno, the flight crew was cleared by air traffic control from 16,000 feet to 11,000 feet. Just prior to commencing the descent, the captain looked outside and noted something out of the corner of her eye to the left. As she looked to the left, she noted a glider filling the windshield. She moved the control yoke down and to the right in an attempt to avoid the glider, but to no avail.
The Hawker jet impacted the right wing of the glider near the outboard wing joint, shearing off part of the wing. The glider entered a flat spin and the pilot bailed out. The glider, a Schleicher ASW.27-18 (N7729) had departed Minden, NV at 13:00 for a 5-hour thermal flight in the area.
In the collision, the nose section of the Hawker received substantial damage. The first officer communicated to Reno that they had an emergency and asked for vectors to Reno airport as their instrument panel was severely damaged by the impact. As the flight progressed north they spotted an airport and asked air traffic controllers if the airport was at their 11 o'clock. The controllers responded by indicating that the airport was at their 11 o'clock at 20 miles. The crew continued to the airport they observed, which was in fact Carson City, and elected to land there. As the flight neared Carson City the flight crew noted that the right engine shut down as a result of the impact. The crew entered a straight-in approach for runway 27 at Carson City and attempted to lower the landing gear. The landing gear would not extend normally, and due to the lack of instrumentation, the captain was not satisfied with the aircraft's speed and altitude. The crew elected to enter a left downwind for runway 09 instead. The airplane overshot the final approach for runway 09 and entered a left downwind for runway 27. As the captain slowed the airplane for final approach she asked the first officer to assist in controlling the airplane bank and pitch attitudes. The airplane touched down on the runway centerline and came to rest uneventfully.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the glider pilot to utilize his transponder and the high closure rate of the two aircraft, which limited each pilot's opportunity to see and avoid the other aircraft."
Follow-up / safety actions
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 Carlsbad-McClellan-Palomar Airport, CA to Reno/Tahoe International Airport, NV as the crow flies is 738 km (461 miles).