Man, hard to believe there were "just injuries" with the way that photo looks. So glad to hear that.
The photo looks like the planes were mating. I wonder if the student pilot will finish the program, or figure God just sent a message, and hang'up their wings.
"The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
I know the pilot of the C-185. He is a very good pilot.
Pilot says he didn't know he had been in midair collision until after landing
June 1, 2015
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Two planes collided while attempting to land at the Talkeetna Airport on Sunday, May 31, 2015. Kathy Stoltz photo
WASILLA -- The air taxi pilot involved in Sunday's midair crash at Talkeetna Airport told supervisors he didn’t know he’d collided with another plane until he landed and opened his door.
The collision over the airport's southbound runway around 5:30 p.m. involved a Talkeetna Air Taxi Cessna 185 with four passengers and a Cessna 172 with a solo pilot, authorities say. A photograph of the wreckage shows the air taxi crushing the back half of the smaller plane.
The only person injured in the collision was the Cessna 172 pilot, 27-year-old Cole Hagge of Eagle River. Hagge remained hospitalized at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center on Monday but was expected to recover.
The air taxi pilot was 32-year-old Antonio “Tony” Benavides of Anchorage, working his first season with the Talkeetna air carrier that ferries tourists and climbers to nearby Mount McKinley.
The collision occurred just before touchdown, about 20 feet above the runway, said Paul Roderick, director of operations for Talkeetna Air Taxi.
Benavides said he reported via VHF radio that he was following another plane, an Otter, in for a landing, Roderick said. The air taxi pilot told him he didn’t hear the Cessna 172 pilot on the radio.
Just before Benavides landed, he said, the plane “pitched up slightly and (he) pushed forward,” Roderick said. Then he touched down.
“He never even saw the plane until like he opened the door, because it was right underneath him,” he said.
The air taxi carried four female passengers: three Chinese Americans and one Chinese national, according to Roderick. The plane sustained propeller and landing gear damage.
The busy Talkeetna runway remained partly open Sunday, with about 500 feet of it shut down until the two “merged” planes could be recovered, he said.
Investigators say it's too early to say what caused the planes to collide.
Shaun Williams, the lead National Transportation Safety Board investigator on the accident, said Monday he’s hoping to obtain recordings of the radio traffic in the area before the collision. Both pilots should have been on the same frequency, he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is also involved in the investigation.
Williams on Monday talked with two witnesses and one pilot who engaged in radio traffic with one of the two pilots before the crash. He asked anyone who saw or heard the collision to call 907-271-5001.
He couldn’t confirm reports that the Cessna 172 pilot was a student pilot. Total flight hours and certifications of both pilots were not immediately available.
Both pilots should have been on a VHF radio frequency that aviators use to communicate in areas without air-traffic controllers.
Pilots have a responsibility to “see and avoid” other aircraft. But the airspace over Mat-Su is notoriously busy, with numerous airports and private strips. Radio transmissions have received critical scrutiny in recent years, particular after a 2011 midair collision that killed a family of four from Anchorage and was blamed on pilots using different radio frequencies. In an effort to make sure pilots communicate with each other clearly, the FAA last year made changes to assigned radio frequencies.
Remarkably, the Talkeetna collision marks the second midair crash in Alaska this year with no fatalities. Two planes collided near Knik-Goose Bay Road in January, one of them an Alaska Wildlife Troopers aircraft. Both pilots survived.
Williams, the NTSB investigator, warned pilots taking advantage of a warmer-than-usual forecast for Alaska this summer to stay vigilant on blue-sky days.
“We’ve been lucky where we’ve had two midair collisions this year and zero fatalities, which is unbelievable,” Williams said.
First thing that jumped out at me was the 172's flaps down. Not to be too speculative but doesn't appear to bode too well for the 185 driver, regardless of radio.
Since the C-172 flaps cables are up in the ceiling behind the pilot, That C-185's prop sliced and diced them pretty good. So they may have been down or they are just flopping there. It is too early to tell. Would a seasoned pilot rush out onto a runway and attempt a take-off with full flaps? Would a student pilot hit the throttle with full flaps???
Or were both planes landing in each others blind spot? ( Happened in Fairbanks about 6 years ago)
We will not know for awhile....
Look at the ends of the C-172 prop to see if it was making power when it started to eat the pavement.
BTW...... A C-152 on wheels just about did a head-on with me while I was lifting off the lake the other day. No radio comms and they were doing a pattern on the wrong side of the airport. I would bet a student pilot from Anchorage on their first solo.
Good point on the flap cables. Can't see the pic so well on the phone, but the prop tips on the 172 don't look too q-tipped... Hard to tell on the rest of the prop.
Certainly can't speak for the student, but I know on my solos, I must have gone through the checklist a dozen times each taxi-backs, and my head must've looked like I was watching a tennis match Lol.
I can not imagine being strapped into the front seat as the C-185s propeller was chopping its way towards me.
Yeap the C-172 prop does not look curled in the one photo I have seen. But it is not a good photo.
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Unknown
Description: N1694M CESSNA 185 AND N8525U CESSNA 172 AIRCRAFT COLLIDED MID AIR ABOVE THE APPROACH END OF THE RUNWAY, TALKEETNA, ALASKA