March 18, Erwinna, Pa. / Bellanca Decathlon and Piper Pawnee


At 11:10 EST, a Bellanca 8KCAB and a Piper PA-25 collided in midair and crashed at Vansant Airport. The two occupants in the Bellanca and the pilot of the Piper suffered minor injuries. The flight instructor in the Decathlon said they were in the traffic pattern for several minutes and were on the fourth approach to Runway 7 and about 50 feet agl at the time of the accident. He said: We were on final and [the private pilot] started to pull the nose up to stretch his glide. I told him, Dont do that. Lower the nose and add power. All of a sudden there was this big clunk and I said, What are you doing? At that point I took the controls, but they stopped working. We hit the ground about 70 degrees nose down. The Piper pilot said he was returning from a glider tow and flew a normal traffic pattern, with the exception of keeping the approach somewhat steep to accommodate the dangling tow rope. Two witnesses described the Bellanca above and behind the Piper after both airplanes turned final. They said the Bellanca overtook the Piper as it descended below the Piper in a slip, then the Bellanca slowed, pitched up, and was struck from behind by the Piper. The Piper was not equipped with a radio.


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