This week the NTSB published the premiminary report on last week’s fatal mid-air collision over San Diego. It doesn’t really reveal much other than to confirm that the two planes took off within a minute of each other, both heading to the same nearby field.
Preliminary information supplied by the Federal Aviation Administration indicates that the Cessna 172RG was issued a takeoff clearance at 1638, and was subsequently handed off to the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility. The Cessna 182Q had been in the traffic pattern at Gillespie performing touch-and-go landings and takeoffs and departed the traffic pattern at 1638 southbound toward Brown Field. The airplanes collided about 2,300 feet mean sea level (msl) approximately 3 miles south of Gillespie.
At first I had surmised that the 182 simply caught up with the 172 and didn’t see it but an eyewitness report confirms that they collided head-on, instead:
A witness, a professional airline pilot, … noted two airplanes were flying at an estimated 1,800 feet msl. One airplane was flying southwest bound, the other was flying east. The airplanes were in the Gillespie Field class Delta airspace when the airplane flying eastbound impacted the airplane flying southwest bound. The eastbound airplane impacted the right side of the southwest bound airplane.
A terrible accident, no doubt about that, but a reminder that see and avoid applies at all times whether VFR or IFR. Be extra vigilant when working near busy airports. We all know it, just need to make sure we all do it.