A fatal crash over Hammonton Municipal Airport last year was caused by an incoming pilot’s failure to see, and heed warnings regarding, an aerobatic plane in the area, a federal report said Tuesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board published a probable cause report of the fatal Aug. 20, 2011, crash that killed David Mitchell, 71, of Voorhees, and critically injured Kirill Barsukov, 33, of Jersey City.
Mitchell told a witness that he was flying to meet Joseph Flood, the father of Jason Flood, who was critically injured in a banner plane crash Aug. 2, 2011.
He was aware that the area had occasional aerobatic activity near the runway, and the day of the accident a notice to airmen was issued regarding aerobatic activity at 3,500 feet and below. The exact altitude could not be determined, but Mitchell is believed to have approached the airport at about that altitude.
Mitchell’s airplane collided, while traveling at an estimated 218 mph, with Barsukov’s plane, which had just completed a hammerhead stall and was observed in a dive, according to the NTSB report. Barsukov’s plane lost about 4 feet of its left wind and was split at the fuselage. Mitchell crashed into the woods and Barsukov parachuted into the same woods.
It was determined that it was unlikely that Barsukov could have seen Mitchell’s plane before the crash.
“During flight in visual meteorological conditions, the tenets of ‘see and avoid’ apply,” the report said. “With (Mitchell’s) knowledge of potential aerobatic activity at the airport, it is not known why he did not use advocated collision avoidance strategies.”
The NTSB concluded that Mitchell’s failure to see and avoid Barsukov’s plane was the cause of the crash.
“Contributing to the accident was (Mitchell’s) inadequate use of collision avoidance strategies while inbound to an area of known potential aerobatic activity,” the report said.
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