Colorado midair -- amazingly, no injuries


#1

2 small planes collide in air in Colo.; no injuries

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Two small planes carrying a total of six people collided over western Colorado on Wednesday, but both landed safely and no injuries were reported, authorities said.

“This is truly one of those miracles,” said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration. “Usually with a midair collision you have very serious damage and very serious injuries, if you have survivors at all.”

One of the planes was a Mesa County Sheriff’s Department single-engine Cessna 210 carrying two inmates, a deputy and a pilot. The other was a single-engine Cessna 180 with two people aboard.

The sheriff’s plane landed at Grand Junction Regional Airport and the other in a remote area about 10 miles south of the airport. Grand Junction is about 240 miles west of Denver.

Sheriff’s spokesman Chuck Warner said the inmates were being transferred to the custody of the state prison system. The plane had taken off from Grand Junction, he said, but he didn’t know where it was headed.

The plane made a hard landing back at the airport and suffered front-end damage either from the collision or the landing, the sheriff’s office said.

The other plane came to rest on its top amid sagebrush and scrub oak at the foot of the towering Grand Mesa. A medical helicopter crew spotted it, landed and determined that both people who were aboard the plane were all right, Warner said.

They were being taken to a fire station in the nearby town of Whitewater.

Wow…talk about being lucky…


#2

Apologies…I didn’t see cherokee878’s post moments before mine.


#3

VFR means you look outside- so that you don’t hit things like other airplanes or mountains- DUH


#4

Easier said then done…

Mountains indeed hard to miss VFR, but I myself have troubles picking up traffic looking outside the window.

Heck today, severe clear I couldn’t spot a durn Citation 7 miles from me. A white jet in midst of a white background does cause problems.


#5

Also a very clear day, I was enroute to KIJX (non-towered field) and a medivac helo was enroute to a hospital in Jacksonville. I called 10 miles SE inbound for IJX at 3000, and he was 1500 E inbound. My heading was NW. We continued to give each other position reports, but I think I was far enough behind him that he couldn’t see me, and he was low enough, but close enough that I could not see down to him. We kept each other informed, and eventually after we crossed paths he saw me (after it mattered :laughing: ) but we maintained good communication regarding altitude and we knew with that we were maintaining separation. I never did see him, even when at a lower altitude than him, knowing exactly where the hospital was.
It also doesn’t help when you’re flying during the summer around here and have 50 bugs splattered on the windscreen that hide traffic. I always carry a little plexi-cleaner to remove the bugs.


#6

It’s always amazing how small and fast they are.


#7

Funny because that is exactly what happens to me time after time. By the time I find traffic in the big sky of things, it’s really either almost too late or too late had our paths crossed.

I am a bit better spotting airports, usually I find them before my pilot and non pilot passengers. :laughing:


#8

A freind was a CFI during college but started a family, couldn’t afford it at the time etc etc, but now he’s getting back into it 20 years later and he’ll go up with me quite a bit, and often we take the kids. I’ll tell them ok, we’ve got traffic off our 9 o clock somewhere, and it’s usually one of the kids that says “I’ve got him”…and airports are sometimes the same way.
“Gary do you have the field?” “Yeah it’s that big green patch up ahead” "yes it is you’re right :unamused: that is it, :blush: "

I guess passengers and co-pilots are a great poor mans TCAS, and Flight Director sometimes.


#9

Too funny, because I sure can relate.

My wife will ask me do I see the airport, and when I say “I think so”, the look on her face is priceless especially when it’s an airport I have not been to. Sometimes I do that just to mess with her even though I have it in sight 15 to 20 miles out.

One would think 10,000 square foot buildings AKA hangars and a strip of pavement about 1 mile long even on severe clear days would be easy to spot but it sure can be a serious effort for me! :blush:


#10

Kids usually have amazing vision, so it can often come as a surprise how readily they pick visual targets out of the sky.

Staring at a point in the sky in an effort to see another aircraft is counter-productive. Most of the motion sensitive rod cells in the human eye are concentrated in the periphery of the cornea, not the center, so it’s important to keep scanning the field of view when looking for motion, especially in low light situations. (The things we learned at the Infantry School! :wink: )

Nature rarely makes straight lines, at least on the scale we’re discussing, so if you train your visual sweep to trigger on them you’ll soon be rewarded with having runways and hangars “pop” in your field of view.


#11

That is a radar enviroment. I wonder if either one or both pilots chose not to get radar services from Denver Approach, if one or both Xpndrs were off, or a controller at Denver is updating his/her resume’. (Denver starts the new controllers in the Denver Approach sector around KGJT.) :question:


#12

As much as I enjoy flying VFR with no chatter on the radio, Flight following can save your bacon.
Plus it’s nice to be talking to someone if something happens. that why they know where to look for the smokin’ hole in the gound!!