Sept. 11, Fort Pierce, Fla. / Piper Warrior and Piper Aztec


At 12:46 eastern time, a Piper PA-28-161 and a Piper PA-23-250 collided on final approach to runway 9 at Saint Lucie International Airport. The pilots, sole occupants of each plane, were killed. The pilot of the Warrior, a Saudi Arabian national with a private license making an instructional flight, made a touch-and-go landing and re-entered the traffic pattern. The tower controller instructed him to execute a 360-degree right turn on downwind. Meanwhile, the pilot of the Aztec reported 10 miles west inbound to the airport and was instructed to continue straight in and report crossing the interstate highway. When the Aztec pilot reported over the interstate, the tower controller told him to follow the Warrior, which was turning base to a three-mile final to runway 9. The pilot of the Aztec reported he was looking for the traffic. At 12:46:19, the tower controller asked the pilot of the Aztec, Do you have the Cherokee off of your left wing? The pilot of the Aztec reported, No contact. At 12:47, an airplane flying above the airport reported that they had just witnessed a mid-air collision three miles from the end of runway 9. The wreckage of both airplanes was found within a few feet of the extended centerline of the runway and about 75 feet apart.


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