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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 155670
Last updated: 2 April 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 172M Skyhawk
Registration: N64030
C/n / msn: 17264976
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Santa Monica Mountains, Calabasas, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Destination airport:Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
A Cessna 172RG and a Cessna 172M collided in midair. The flight instructor, who was seated in the left seat in the Cessna 172RG, and the pilot-rated student reported that they departed the airport and then proceeded to a practice area northwest of the airport heading in a westerly direction at 3,500 ft mean sea level (msl). After reaching the practice area, the flight instructor made two position reports on the local practice area frequency; he received no radio acknowledgement of his position reports and heard no radio transmissions from any other aircraft in the area. The pilot receiving instruction then began to conduct clearing turns. The pilot made a right turn to a northerly heading and then turned the airplane back to the left and leveled off on the original westerly heading at 3,400 ft msl. The flight instructor reported that he was looking to the front and left, which was his normal traffic scan practice. When the airplane leveled off, he heard a “loud bang” and felt something hit the left side of the airplane. The flight instructor looked outside at the left wing and noted that it was damaged from the wing root outboard, the pitot tube was missing, and the left side windscreen was broken with metal protruding into the airplane. The flight instructor took control of the airplane and determined that it could not maintain altitude, so he made a forced landing onto a nearby golf course.

The Cessna 172M was operating as a personal flight. A review of radar data showed the Cessna 172M approaching the practice area on an easterly heading and climbing from 3,200 feet msl. When it reached 3,400 feet msl, it collided with the Cessna 172RG. The Cessna 172M subsequently made a sharp left turn and descended rapidly into terrain. A postcrash fire consumed the wreckage.

Postaccident examination of both airplanes’ airframes and engines revealed no mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. Postaccident examination of the Cessna 172RG identified scratch marks and paint transfer marks on the left wing. Four pieces from the Cessna 172M’s right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were found at the golf course; scratch marks were noted along the upper outboard portion of the largest horizontal stabilizer piece. Based on the paint transfer and scratch marks on both airplanes and radar data, the airplanes converged with about a 50-degree angle relative to their longitudinal axes, and the collision angle between the two airplanes was 80 degrees relative to the horizontal plane.

The radar data indicated that, before the Cessna 172RG initiated the clearing turns, the pilots in both airplanes should have been able to see the other airplane in the distance. However, the pilot of the Cessna 172RG would not necessarily have recognized that the Cessna 172M was climbing. Once the Cessna 172RG initiated the clearing turns, it is likely that airplane structure obstructed the pilot’s visibility out the left side as the airplanes converged; however, the Cessna 172M pilot’s visibility was likely not obscured at this time.

Probable Cause: The failure of the pilots in both aircraft to maintain an adequate visual lookout, which resulted in a midair collision.



Revision history:

30-Apr-2013 03:12 Geno Added
30-Apr-2013 03:28 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Narrative, Plane category, ]
30-Apr-2013 12:26 bizjets101 Updated [Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Apr-2013 13:00 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
01-May-2013 01:10 bizjets101 Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Narrative]
02-May-2013 13:57 m.r Updated [Phase, Narrative]
07-May-2013 21:00 Alpine Flight Updated [Aircraft type]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
28-Nov-2017 14:32 ASN Update Bot Updated [Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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