Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

Watsonville midair

Old 22nd Aug 2022, 11:21
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Originally Posted by FullMetalJackass View Post
I doubt the C152 pilot was looking over his shoulder, especially if he was a student pilot on final, he'd be focussed on what's in front of him. To ascertain a plane is closing from behind fast he would have had to turn his head, capture the intruding aircraft, judge it's distance and closing speed - all whilst coming in to land. I'm pretty sure he had ADS-B in and was watching the aircraft closing on that screen..... looking at Flight Aware / Flight Radar, the C152 isn't visible, therefore had the 340A also had ADS-B in, he still would not have been aware of the C152.

What I do note is the calls of the C152 pilot - downwind, base but no call on final? Maybe this would have alerted the twin pilot as he was still looking for traffic on base....
Heres the thing, the time between the comment, "you're coming at me pretty fast I am going around..." and the call from the 3rd aircraft that 2 planes had crashed was not long. The last time I saw a 150 it didnt strike me as either fast or fast climbing... it crashed having lost one wing airborne by the looks of it around 50 yards short of the runway underrun and about 250 yards from the displaced threshold. It was also around 60 yards to the right of the C/L, without the left wing. With a pretty energetic impact stuff could have gone in all directions, but the loss of the left wing is going to make the plane roll left, pitch will depend on the wing tail geometry, in this case I would be expecting a slight pitch down from the reduction in downwash that the aircraft would have on the LHS to the lower stab. Either way, the 150 wasn't going to go far, it didn't make the runway end. The 340 got around 2800' down the runway going into the last of a series of T-hangers, with a final trajectory that was at a large angle to the runway direction. The position of the 150 suggests it was in front and therefore below the 340 and under FAR 91.113(g) the 150 would probably have ROW. It is common to shoot straight-in approaches, at controlled airports that not a problem, which makes the occasional uncontrolled airport arrival problematic; the guy who does a lot of IFR and only occasional uncontrolled airport VFR arrivals will have a natural bias towards straight in vs doing a std join. There is no evidence that the 340 did anything other than a straight in, at an uncontrolled airport. FAA-H-8083-3B Chapter 7 gives a bit of guidance for patterns, and reiterates the standard join of 45 to downind in level flight, and gives ROW to the lower aircraft. Its likely that the guys in the 340 confused the other aircraft in the circuit at the time for the one that was on finals, but there is no doubt that the 150 was on very short finals, and may well have been to the right of the C/L IAW with the G/A manoeuver. Given the time between call for the G/A and the alert of a crash, the 150 pilot is almost certainly had a look over his shoulder, so I would suspect that he was not showing poor SA, other than not continuing to manoeuver when he knew the 340 was a threat to him, and as a new pilot, hard to call his actions inappropriate, just unfortunately not achieving a clearance from the other aircraft.

FAA rules are slightly different to other countries, but only in detail, they all follow ICAO Annex 2, kind of.
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 11:57
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Originally Posted by biscuit74 View Post

It;s hard to see what the 152 pilot could have done safely, other than an orbit on base, which is not normal practice for students as far as I know. Doing a go around from base leg meant crossing the path of a fast moving machine - far from ideal., and would likely have led to the same outcome, without good luck. Not nice.
Best thing for the 150 would have been to extend the downwind leg. If already on base leg, one could decide to fly through final approach and get out of the way(especially if there is another aircraft behind you in the pattern/circuit), even if they have the right of way. Sometimes it is safer to just get out of the way. The 150 did try that but at a point that was too late to avoid a collision.

Last edited by punkalouver; 23rd Aug 2022 at 00:15.
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 13:43
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Whatever is right or wrong in terms of rules and regulations it is very difficult to diverge from the fact that you have a solo inexperienced student being rammed by a Cessna twin. If the twin pilot had a reasonable level of SA then he / she should have listened out and / or slowed down. Or flown a standard join as per FAA rules for joining a circuit pattern. They obviously all paid the ultimate price and RIP for that but I am sure the relatives / friends of the solo student will not take much comfort in that their son / daughter etc always had the right of way.
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 15:43
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Just a reminder that the electronics to make a warning system are about $100. A software defined radio to accept the ADSB transmission and a Raspberry Pi to interpret and some display and a warning buzzer are cheap.

But the FAA refuses to mandate ADSB-OUT on all manned aircraft and mandate ADSB receivers that can provide a warning on all manned aircraft. It's not just day-one pilots getting their solo time in and being mowed down by careless twin pilots. This has happened over and over and over and the FAA sits on its hands. Except for unmanned R/C hobbyists, whom the FAA are regulating out of existence in spite of no fatalities in the last 50 years.
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 18:09
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Unfortunately the FAA mandated a gold plated standard for ADSB Out on 1080 MHz that's far too expensive for most spamcan owners.

The gold plated standard does provide for deconflicting wingtips on adjacent taxiways at the big airports, but folks, centimeter positional accuracy is gross overkill in the air as well as for GA aircraft with wingspans below that of a 737.

Some bright spark at the FAA cooked up UAT as an affordable system, but the 1080 ADSB Out folk are dependent on retransmission to see the little guys on their screens.
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 18:12
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Originally Posted by punkalouver View Post
Best thing for the 150 would have been to extend the downwind leg. If already on base leg, one could decide to fly through final approach(especially if there is another aircraft in the pattern/circuit) and get out of the way, even if they have the right of way. Sometimes it is safer to just get out of the way. The 150 did try that but at a point that was too late to avoid a collision.
Very true. Had he realised the potential for conflict then, that would have solved the problem the easy way. I rather had the feeling that the potential for conflict wasn't obvious until the 152 was on base leg. It's that astonishingly high closing sped, which would catch most of us out, I'm sure
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 18:16
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'Mech Engr' - what are the FAA doing which is impacting up radio control flying in the USA, please ? Hand't heard of that.

I do a little r/c building & flying occasionally. Things have got awkward enough here in the UK !
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 19:20
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Would it help if student pilots included "student" in their solo callsign?
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Old 22nd Aug 2022, 20:46
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Would it help if student pilots included "student" in their solo callsign?
Nope. Any pilot is entitled to caution, courtesy, and the right of way from every other pilot. If a "student" is flying solo, they are a pilot.

We don't all bow our heads and break off our established approach to get out of the way, when we hear the 20,000 hour old timer approaching from 25 miles out, nor do we needlessly coddle a student. If a student, or any other pilot, needs assistance, extra room, or is experiencing an emergency, they are most welcome to broadcast their need, otherwise, everyone follows the rules fairly. The rules for right of way work really well - if obeyed!
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Old 23rd Aug 2022, 02:24
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I had ATC dump me in front of a twin turboprop airliner, likely at 250 kt. From a mile or so away I just barely had time to bank away.
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Old 23rd Aug 2022, 04:17
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I have had ATC caution me that for placement on very long straight in, I would have to maintain 160 knots to short final to fit in with other larger traffic, would I accept? I was flying a Caravan in one memorable case, which was capable, so I accepted, and no problem. I was informed, and given the choice in a controlled environment. In an uncontrolled environment, pilots have to increase their awareness, particularly pilots of aircraft which are obviously much faster than the types commonly known to use that airport. When I have flown faster types into smaller airports, I have been extra vigilant, and been certain to actually fly a larger circuit, so I was on the outside, looking in, with more space, a place to go to safely overtake if needed, and a good view of any slower traffic which could be ahead of me. Straight in affords none of these safety elements.
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Old 25th Aug 2022, 17:12
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Originally Posted by Maoraigh1 View Post
Would it help if student pilots included "student" in their solo callsign?
I have read that the pilot of the 152 had his license for Single Engine Land for about 2 years.

Known to friends as "Possum Stu," Camenson was a Santa Cruz resident who graduated from UCSC with degrees in chemistry and earth sciences. He went on to work at the university's IT division.

He earned his pilot's license in June 2020. His family said he was practicing "loops, touchdowns and takeoffs," last Thursday for additional certification.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 03:31
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His family said he was practicing "loops, touchdowns and takeoffs," last Thursday for additional certification.
I would easily believe that family could interpret the term "circuit" as "loop", and not read anything more into it than that. I'm sure that they are all very upset, and perhaps slightly imprecise in recalling exact terms. In any case, the 152 pilot was reported as established in the circuit, making position calls - that's the important part.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 15:32
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Video provides a good composite track of the accident aircraft (track presentation starts at 7:20). Unclear if aircraft tracks and audio are accurately synchronized. Several items of note from the video and associated comments:

1. V/LO and V/LE for the C340 are 140 kts.

2. One commenter claiming to be an eye witness states that neither the gear nor flaps on the C340 were extended immediately prior to the collision. Same eyewitness states there was no change in engine sound of the C340 prior to the collision. At least one eyewitness in media reports states the C340 maneuvered to the right immediately prior to the collision.

3. Another commenter notes the difficulty of spotting aircraft approach from the east due to the rising terrain as a backdrop.
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Old 28th Aug 2022, 13:11
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Originally Posted by BFSGrad View Post
Watsonville Midair Crash ExplainedVideo provides a good composite track of the accident aircraft (track presentation starts at 7:20). Unclear if aircraft tracks and audio are accurately synchronized. Several items of note from the video and associated comments:

1. V/LO and V/LE for the C340 are 140 kts.

2. One commenter claiming to be an eye witness states that neither the gear nor flaps on the C340 were extended immediately prior to the collision. Same eyewitness states there was no change in engine sound of the C340 prior to the collision. At least one eyewitness in media reports states the C340 maneuvered to the right immediately prior to the collision.

3. Another commenter notes the difficulty of spotting aircraft approach from the east due to the rising terrain as a backdrop.

The accident sequence then saved the C340 pilot from a gear-up landing???? or rolling off the end at high speed... Was there another issue going on here that has not been considered, was the C340 pilot incapacitated? He doesn't sound so, but that is some time before the collision.

On the Student C/S, we used to do that in the military, and it always seemed like a good idea, mixing fast jet and student jets could lead to some hilarity, after some 20 or 30 years of time dilation.
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Old 17th Sep 2022, 21:21
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NTSB preliminary report. NOT from NTSB website. I often find it very difficult to operate and I have this link handy.

https://htv-prod-media.s3.amazonaws....1663273167.pdf

Here it is on NTSB website - does a download, may not work forever.
https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/a...ort/105763/pdf

https://webtrak.emsbk.com/sjc3
Has playback of both aircrafts' ADSB. Can have long, short or no trails.

Last edited by jimjim1; 17th Sep 2022 at 22:11. Reason: Added NTSB link.
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Old 18th Sep 2022, 02:28
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Note the still photo from the NTSB prelim report appears to confirm that the C-340 was gear up and in a hard right bank at the time of collision.
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Old 19th Sep 2022, 20:12
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Thanks jimjim1. I am curious how the NTSB got ADSB-out data for the C152, when we could not see it on any of the flight tracking aps. Also, your link for the ADSB out data just takes us to a site giving current conditions. Are you expecting us to use that site to go back and replay from the accident date, or were you expecting your link to already take us back to that date?

BFSGrad, That is some timing on the taking of that photo. Almost seems that if the C340 had not banked hard right, his left wing would not come up and struck the C150.
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Old 19th Sep 2022, 23:04
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Originally Posted by Si Guy View Post
Thanks jimjim1. I am curious how the NTSB got ADSB-out data for the C152, when we could not see it on any of the flight tracking aps.
That's because it's radar data, not from ADS-B.

Originally Posted by Si Guy View Post
Also, your link for the ADSB out data just takes us to a site giving current conditions. Are you expecting us to use that site to go back and replay from the accident date, or were you expecting your link to already take us back to that date?
You need to use the replay function (works in a very similar way to that on FR24).
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Old 20th Sep 2022, 01:15
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Originally Posted by Si Guy View Post
Thanks jimjim1. I am curious how the NTSB got ADSB-out data for the C152,.... Also, your link for the ADSB out data just takes us to a site giving current conditions. Are you expecting us to use that site to go back and replay from the accident date, or were you expecting your link to already take us back to that date?
.
I can find no way to do a link that incorporates a start time. Choose "Historical" and put in the LOCAL time of the incident.
This accident's collision is at 2:55:10 PM local time 18 August.
NE side of Watsonville Airport.

I have no idea where they get the data. I notice that Dave mentions Radar, however other discussion groups mention a different adsb radio frequency than used by "airline" grade (let me call it:-) adsb. There is certainly accurate looking height data. I think you can get that from a radar transponder.

Someone said:- "The C152 was pinging on 978mhz. A number of the services we commonly use like FlightAware can't see 978 signals unless the plane is closer to 1800' in the Watsonville area"



Last edited by jimjim1; 20th Sep 2022 at 01:24. Reason: Added 978MHz section
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