This past Tuesday, March 7th two planes collided over Lake Hartridge in Winter Haven, Florida, according to the Polk County Sherriff’s Office. The incident occurred at about 2 pm. This resulted in 4 killed in central Florida mid air collision.
The victims have been identified as 24 year old Faith Baker, 19 year old Zachary Mace, 67 year old Randall Crawford and 78 year old Louis Defazio.
Faith Baker, a flight instructor and Zachary Mace, a college student were operating a Cherokee Piper 161 plane. Randall Crawford and Lous Defazio were operating a Piper J-3 Cub seaplane. There were no other passengers on either aircraft.
One plane was found partially submerged in Lake Hartridge (pictured) and the second plane was completely submerged 21 feet underwater on the bottom.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash.
While the cause of the crash is under investigation, small planes are not equipped with proximity alert avionics. Additionally, smaller airports do not have flight control available at all times. Both were the case here, so the burden is on the pilot to avoid collisions with other aircraft.
While other factor such as weather conditions can also be a key factor.
Pilots can have trouble seeing aircraft below them from about the 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock positions when the opposing traffic is in close proximity. Typically, a small plane pilot can have difficulty seeing an aircraft below and in front of them. The nose of an aircraft can obstruct visibility for a distance ahead.
It can be a good practice to lower the nose slightly at frequent intervals during the climb. And to maneuver regularly so that you can check your blind spots.
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