KWVI Watsonville MId Air, Multiple Fatalities

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by Shawn, Aug 18, 2022.

  1. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Unless the guy was making radio calls letting you know he was coming in hot.
     
  2. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Both pilots are at fault. It’s just to easy to poke holes in an other theory.
     
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  3. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe if he had called a one minute final instead of 3 mile,
    upload_2022-9-16_19-55-25.png
     
  4. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    Just for point of time reference. This thread has been going on for almost a month. The guy in the single had maybe a minute.

    My current view is this: If you're going to enter the pattern with an approach speed faster than an F-18 usually uses, you better not make any mistakes or assumptions. And it would be good if you had the skills to ensure a safe outcome. That guy had none of this. At best he took unnecessary risks and made a mistake. At worst he was intentionally trying to screw with traffic by flying a high speed low pass.
     
  5. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    That would certainly help.

    There are things you should and shouldn't do with respect to landing at a non-towered field, and there are things you can and cannot do. Pilots flying a straight in approach to a busy non-towered field should alter their approach so as to not disrupt the existing flow of traffic. All pilots should avoid any conflict with another aircraft and should communicate when possible to assist in that process. Everyone should fly an "appropriate" speed while approaching to land in the vicinity of an airport. Everyone (maybe) should have a radio and use it properly. The FAA issues guidance for these types of actions on an advisory basis.

    Several things you can't do are making turns in a direction not authorized for that airfield (left hand turns unless dictated otherwise), and you can't cut off an aircraft on final approach to land. In an airplane you can't interfere with an aircraft in distress, or a glider, or a plane towing a glider or other aircraft that have the ROW. The FAA issues guidance for these on a powerful regulatory basis.

    You'll always find blame on people who don't do what they "should", but ultimately you have to place a bigger blame on someone doing something that is simply not allowed, and cutting in front of an aircraft on final is one of those.
     
  6. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    21 pages and still arguing semantics and trying to read things into the FAR/AIM that may or not be there.

    I'm sure both pilots can rest easier knowing someone thinks they were right.

    Point is they both made mistakes, they both could have done something to prevent the accident, and they are both dead.
     
  7. John Spartan

    John Spartan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So people flying long straight in finals to untowered should join the pattern.

    people flying the pattern should assume the straight in guy won’t join the pattern like everyone else and instead wave off until Mr StraightIn has had his way?

    that really seems like it’s less the fault of the 150
     
  8. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    For all we know the C340 guy saw the 152, got ****ed that he was being "cut off", decided to do a close fly by to scare the guy (hence speed, no gear, no flaps) and just screwed up the fly by and collided.

    Note: I am not saying this is the likely/correct answer just one of many possible scenarios.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2022
  9. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That thought crossed my mind as well. :dunno:
     
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  10. kaiser

    kaiser Cleared for Takeoff

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    As an auditor: I would look at that picture, see that gears and flaps are up, couple it with the air speed, and determine the 340 did not have intention to land. Then it’ll fall to 91.13, 111, and 113. The choices the 152 Pilot made, whether wise or not, won’t play a role.

    I think equally likely that the 152 knew this 340 and thought he’d do one of his high speed 360s over Pinto Lake before landing…
     
  11. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    To be sure listening to and watching what the other pilots are doing is the smart way to save your bacon. The question I was asking was, "what are your options when you have turned base and realize that there is a pilot coming straight in at you. Do you climb, descend, turn left, turn right, continue straight to enter the upwind, hit the brakes and let them go by, etc.?

    This is not a question for you personally but a question for the group in general but I was using your post as a launching point to ask ... what is the answer once you realize you're in that position. Obviously avoiding that position is like me asking the doc, "I broke my arm in three places what should I do" ... and he says, "stay out of them places!" :)
     
  12. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    As in road rage?
    I know amongst us pros that does not exist.

    Amongst amateurs?? I would hope not.
     
  13. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    The basic principle is to quickly go where the guy on final is NOT going to be (runway, final approach course, or where the twin would be in a go around) and to where there are likely not going to be other airplanes.

    In this case, if the C152 is far enough away from the final approach course it's simply turn to extend the downwind. If he's at all close to the runway, it's a turn to sidestep the runway on the pattern side of the runway, because the twin should go to the upwind side for a go around. (I really believe that the safest option is to turn as if you are landing on a parallel runway on the left and add power to initiate a go around.) I think in this case they both decided to go around, but both to the upwind side of the runway, putting the C152 directly in the path of the twin.
     
  14. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You have a waaaaaaayyyyy higher opinion than I do of some pilots’ ability to manage their airplanes. I’ve seen “professional” pilots fly like that when they WERE intending to land (obviously it didn’t work out for them, either.)
     
  15. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Line Up and Wait

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    Those “professional” pilots you refer to may have always been an accident waiting to happen and as far I’m concerned lost the professional title long before. Glad they are outliers. A well run outfit would not this happen and would be all over the pilot about their performance. If it’s a single-pilot airplane/outfit, their aren’t the same checks and balances.
     
  16. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's the way it looks from the NTSB graphic.

    NTSB Graphic - WVI.png

    (From the link in post #735)
     
  17. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    If only . . .


    NTSB Graphic - WVI.jpg
     
  18. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude

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    We had witness testimony, quote from emergency responders. The only facts we had in the minutes after crash were:
    • 2 Cessna aircraft involved in a mid-air collision at the Watsonville airport. A C340 twin and C152.
    • C152 impacting on the field near Freedom Blvd & Buena Vista Drive.
    • C340 impacted 2 hangars at the end of row Y or Yankee, Condition of aircraft in those hangars is unknown
    • 3 Fatalities, no one on the ground injured
    • Surrounding neighborhood street closures for the investigation underway
    • Grass fire was under control
    • Authorities are not releasing the names or aircraft registration numbers pending notification of next of kin
    • Closure of the airport to the public, tenants, and air traffic
    That was my report. Nice cynicism, who here has the bias @eman1200 ?

    These were the facts reported and the only ones known in the first half hour following the collision.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
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  19. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    If only the 340 pilot had been doing 120kts instead of 180kts.

    Lots of ways this one could have been avoided.
     
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  20. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    True, but one sure way is to NOT cut in front of an aircraft on final (and always look to the final before turning from base) - an action that is prohibited by regulation, not just by depending on the other guy following good advice.
     
  21. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    RE 152 going around and paralleling the rwy ...suitable, provided he could retain tally on the conflict traffic. Putting his tail to the aircraft that didn't have him in sight is what ended up killing him. It's not particularly prudent to assume anything about the "expected behavior" of a conflict traffic you're having to break out for in the first place. Let alone one that doesn't have you in sight, to add insult to injury.

    What I would suggest would be poo poo'd by the color-by-numbers crowd on here, but would be necessary that late in the collision sequence in order to retain tally while maneuvering out of the target's plane of motion. So I'll digress on it.

    The aggregate lowest common denominator answer for those still alive and wishing not to meet the same fate, was already provided earlier in the thread: For the 152 guy it would have been simply and without chest-thumping, extend downwind and eat the long final behind the entitled a-hole twin pilot. Call him 4 expletives and get it out of your chest, but you're still coming home at least.

    Judging by the ping-pong sequence of radio calls and especially the end game closure-chastising quip, the 152 guy tried to make a point and it got him killed.

    All that said, the 340 behavior is straight up reprehensible, and where I place the majority of the blame for this collision.
     
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  22. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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  23. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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  24. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm not saying it is what happened, just a possibility. And while I agree (at least I hope so!) that "air rage" is exceptionally rare, so are crashes and to the extent that risky "air rage" behavior would result in increased risk (which I would argue is a reasonable assumption), it's not improbable that it would show up occasionally in fatal accidents.
     
  25. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Slower, even. I have a C310R with VGs. 95 knots is a good Vref for the plane. The FAA is big on stabilized approaches. Maybe the difference between “barreling into the pattern” and flying a straight-in approach is whether you’re stabilized yet. Or even capable of getting stabilized.


    How do you know that? I think it’s more accurate to say that 95 percent of your straight-ins are done when you are not aware of any other aircraft nearby. And your knowledge is probably accurate a high percent of the time, as well. But you are limited to your knowledge, which is limited by the shortcomings inherent in CTAF, ADS-B, your own eyes, and your available mental bandwidth.

    If I had the same inputs (CTAF in particular) as the 340 pilot had in this situation, I would not have crashed into the 152. I’m fairly confident of that. But the rest of us should fly with at least some consideration for being in a similar setup to this crash but without the same information available (152 not talking on CTAF, 340 got the wrong frequency when ATC told him to change to CTAF, etc.)

    As far as straight-in approaches go, I’m a fan of straight-in approaches, in all the planes I fly. My approach speed in those planes ranges from 40 knots to 95 knots, and my philosophy probably wouldn’t change if I were flying even slower or faster than those numbers. I’m also a fan of joining the pattern in all the same planes. Just like I use a manual screwdriver for some tasks and an electric one for others, I am not a fan of throwing any tool out of the box just because it’s not the right tool for every job.
     
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  26. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pattern Altitude

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    IMO most important actions by the C152 once he realized conflict would be to maintain sight of traffic, communicate, and be predictable.

    Turning away is a bad move because you lose sight. Turning towards is a bad move because that increases closure rate and is unpredictable. That leaves not turning.

    I would have stayed on base, climbed, and announced my position and intention to cross above traffic on final.

    IMO those ascribing blame to the 152 for violating the "no cut in" rule are wrong. The twin failed to sequence into traffic by flying at an appropriate speed and will be found at fault. Will be interesting to see what the FAA says.

    I think the length of this thread is strong evidence that the existing regs and guidance are poorly written and the FAA needs to more clearly address the conflict between straight in an arrivals and the pattern.
     
  27. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How do you figure that? They both look like they kept following the same trend until the collision.
     
  28. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Line Up and Wait

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    It will also be interesting to see what the courts say.
     
  29. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cutting the corner to get in faster MAKES SENSE, if he realized he had turned too early. Speed up and get out of the way quickly. Unless you have a mad-man blasting in at 180 that would be an appropriate thing to do and would have worked out just fine.

    Going so fast you couldn't possibly land makes NO SENSE. I'm still baffled anybody could blame the 152 for this accident.
     
  30. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pattern Altitude

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    100% this. Traffic pattern and straight in arrival can both be safe or dangerous deepening on how done. Keys are acting predictably, anticipating the actions of others, seeing, and being seen.

    IMO the clear cause of this accident was excessive speed by the twin, which made the timing of his arrival unpredictable and turned a manageable merge into a dangerous one due to closure rate.

    It's like driving 100mph in a crowded parking lot, then saying another car is at fault for backing out of a space and getting hit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
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  31. dbahn

    dbahn Line Up and Wait

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    But it doesn't look like the radius of his turn from the base leg would have lined him up to land, which is one reason I think that while on base he decided to go around, but crossed over to fly the upwind north of the runway.
     
  32. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The pilot of the 152 said he was going around, and the fact that he crossed the final approach course suggests that he was planning to fly his go-around to the right of the runway, which is also the side that the 340 was aiming for.

    Another thing that graphic says to me is that if I ever find myself in that position, crossing the final approach course is probably the least safe thing to do.
     
  33. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why does it have to be all one person's fault? The 152 violated the right-of-way regulation in 91.113(g), but it could be argued that the twin's excessive speed violated the careless-or-reckless regulation in 91.13. Looks like shared responsibility to me.
     
  34. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It doesn’t. But I believe it was. The plane on straight in has no excuse to not see and avoid an aircraft above and in front of him. It was his responsibility to fly into the pattern at a speed in which he could see and avoid other traffic in front of him. He failed to do so. The 152 was ahead and below and could not see and avoid the aircraft behind him. He did not cut off the aircraft because, had that aircraft been flying a speed appropriate for landing he would have had time to land in front of it. He should not have turned when he did, but planes do what he did 10 times a day and nobody dies from it.
     
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  35. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If 91.113(g) said "it shall not take advantage of this rule to cut in front of another which is on final approach to land at an appropriate speed," I would agree with you.

    Getting away with violating a regulation does not make it not a regulation. Also, no one dying is not the criterion for whether an aircraft has cut in front of another. It's whether the other aircraft is forced to take evasive action.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
  36. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Does being gear and flaps up at 175 kts constitute final approach to land?

    Think of the recent case of the pilot that was "surveying" his friends back yard for a bush plane landing, and the FAA finding that it was a buzz job because of "intent".
     
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  37. somorris

    somorris En-Route

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    Based on reading this thread, I don’t think we can all come to agreement on who was at fault. But, to me, it is obvious all of us should be considering this accident and develop a plan of what to do if we find ourselves in a situation similar. I was taught if on a collision course, to turn towards the tail of the other airplane. That is what I would have done here. As close as these guys were, and considering the 152 had the 340 in sight, I would try to keep him in sight.
     
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  38. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    I think the 152 had no idea of the 340s speed, he didn’t intend to cut in front and thought he be able to slide right and go around. The 152 probably had limited experience with 180+ knot Cessnas making landings, I know I do.
    He was already turning (he said I see you behind me IIRC) so either had to reverse the turn or go into a steep turn, either could have gotten him into trouble.
     
  39. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Bingo. That's exactly the way to avoid colliding. In BFM parlance: 1)Lose sight lose the fight. 2) Assess [aspect/range/closure] 3) Maneuver in relation to the bandit(nee traffic).

    Good on your CFI for emphasizing the spirit of those axioms. I know this isn't formally addressed in civilian flight training, considering there is zero requirement for formation/rejoin training, let alone turn circle geometry/lift vector management aka BFM.

    Keeping the traffic in sight is the most significant piece the 152 left behind on the poker table, and it cost him his life. Out-of-plane maneuvering does not need to conform to rigid civilian preconceptions of pattern ground track and lanes, like some folks tend to latch on/preach. PIC emergency authority allows you to break out of a VFR traffic track in any way that averts a collision.

    This wasn't a complicated deconfliction given the 152 had contact against conflict traffic, and assessed closure (at least verbally) correctly. All he had to do is roll out, climb, put lift vector on the 340 high six, and reverse on the opposite side of final at 3/9 crossing. Seems aggressive and overwhelming to the uninitiated, but it really isn't, provided the pilot doesn't go tumbleweed and stall due to lack of a/s crosscheck.

    Such a response would offer hundreds of feet of vertical clearance by the time 3/9 line cross between the participants occurred. Putting tail onto the blind traffic and continue to align with final, that was a fatal mistake, and one borne out of not understanding how to maneuver in relation to another aircraft. I don't blame him for that inability; again formation work is not part of civilian primary flight training.

    But like I said before, I digress on all that. The answer here for the lowest common denominator is don't cut in front of that which you can't handle, just extend. And if it's that offensive that it puts you 2,3,whatever miles away from runway threshold, just break out and come back on the downwind, no harm no foul.
     
  40. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I disagree. One has to make assumptions that other traffic is going appropriate speeds, or one could never turn final.
     
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