NTSB Identification: NYC04FA033A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 16, 2003 in Westerly, RI
Aircraft: Cessna 180, registration: N34AG
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 3 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On November 16, 2003, at 1330 eastern standard time, a Cessna 180, N34AG, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain, after colliding in-flight with a Piper PA-28-181, N2885D. The Piper received minor damage during a hard landing after the collision. The collision occurred while the Cessna was taking off, and the Piper was landing, at the Westerly Airport, Westerly, Rhode Island. Both certificated flight instructors aboard the Cessna were fatally injured, while the certificated private pilot and two passengers aboard the Piper were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for either airplane. The Cessna was a local instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91, while the Piper was a personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91, which originated from the Windham Airport, Windham, Connecticut.

According to the pilot of the Piper, when he arrived in the Westerly Airport area, a landing attempt was made to runway 32; however, because he was to high on the approach, the pilot elected to abort the landing. The pilot remained in the traffic pattern for runway 32, and announced all of his positions during the traffic pattern on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). Upon turning final approach to land the second time, the pilot observed a tail-wheeled airplane "about to get onto runway 32." The pilot continued the approach, and soon after he passed over the runway threshold, he heard the sound of another airplane's engine, followed by an impact with the airplane. The pilot observed the other airplane descend towards the ground, as he performed a forced landing to the runway. The Piper touched down hard on the runway, collapsing the right main landing gear assembly. The airplane continued down the runway, and began to veer to the right, where it struck a taxiway light, before coming to rest up right on a taxiway.

The pilot did not recall observing the Cessna prior to the final approach leg of the second landing.

The pilot did not recall hearing the Cessna make any transmissions on the CTAF frequency, but did recall hearing other aircraft make transmissions.

A witness, who was walking to an airplane on the parking ramp at WST, observed two airplanes, a Cessna 180, and a Piper "extremely" close on runway 32. The Cessna was on the bottom, and the Piper was slightly behind and above the Cessna. It appeared the Cessna touched the Piper, which subsequently reduced power, descended, and made an "extremely" hard landing on the runway, before coming to rest. The Cessna, which was about 100 feet above the runway at full power, pitched up about 30-degrees after the collision, "got slow," and nosed over, before descending to the ground. The witness then ran to the Piper and recalled the pilot of the Piper state to another witness that "he saw the 180 pull out onto the runway."

A second witness, who was also walking to an airplane on the parking ramp at WST, observed the Cessna and Piper at the end on runway 32. They appeared to be airborne, about 100 feet above the ground, and that the Cessna was taking off, and the Piper landing. The two airplanes collided, and both immediately pitched upward. The Cessna then stalled, nosed over, and descended to the ground. The Piper also nosed over, and made a hard on the runway, where it came to rest.

A third witness observed the Cessna accelerating on runway 32 for takeoff at the same time a Piper was descending to land on the same runway. At one point, the Piper was directly over the Cessna, about 50 feet above the ground. The Cessna then lifted off the runway, and climbed in front of the Piper. The Cessna continued to climb above the Piper, began to bank left and right about 60-degrees, and yawed "drastically." The Piper descended, and impacted the runway on the right main landing gear. At that moment, the Cessna, under full power, pitched vertically to about 150 feet, spiraled its wings 90-degrees, and descended to the ground in a nose down attitude.

A fourth witness, who was flying an airplane in the left hand traffic pattern for runway 25 at Westerly, observed the Cessna on the displace threshold portion of runway 32. The witness recalled hearing the pilot of the Piper make radio transmissions on the CTAF, and announce when he was on downwind, base, and final. The witness also recalled that prior to arriving in the Westerly area, she heard an airplane transmit on the Westerly CTAF that they were conducting touch and go's on runway 32.

Examination of the Cessna, which was painted brown, revealed a concave dent near the base of the vertical stabilizer. The vertical stabilizer was folded rearward, and to the left, of the tail cone, held on to the fuselage only by the rear attach bolt. Blue paint transfer was observed on the right side of the vertical stabilizer.

Examination of the Piper revealed a concave dent, about 4 feet from the inboard end of the right wing aileron. Brown paint transfer was observed on the dent. Brown paint transfer was also observed on the underside of the right wing. The paint transfer extended from the damage to the aileron, forward to the leading edge, which was also dented and pushed upward.

Runway 32 at Westerly was a 3,960-foot long, 75-foot wide asphalt runway. Runway 32 also had a 600-foot long displaced threshold, and slightly rising terrain with 20-foot high hardwood trees at the approach end.

The wind conditions at the Westerly Airport, about the time of the accident, were variable at 3 knots.

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