Aircraft Collision

This project involved the midair between two small single-engine general aviation aircraft that collided after departing a controlled airport.  The issue involved determining the flight paths of both aircraft and the visibility from each aircraft to the other.  Key to the analysis was superimposing the air traffic control transmissions between each aircraft and the air traffic controllers.  

An important requirement was to accurately determine the flight path and performance parameters of each aircraft using recording radar data and ESi-developed aircraft flight path reconstruction software.  Flight tests were also performed using exemplar aircraft to reproduce the flight paths of the two aircraft up to a safe termination point and videotaping the views from each aircraft to the other.  The performance and relative positions of the two aircraft were verified by comparing onboard recorded GPS time and position data to the recorded radar data results from the actual accident flight.  Examination of the wreckage was also important in determining how the two aircraft impacted each other.

The analysis and testing resulted in images of how each aircraft would have appeared to the other one during the accident flights up to a point where a collision could have been avoided.  The flight radar data analysis and flight tests provided an indication of which aircraft would have had the best view of the other and assisted in the settlement between the pilots and the air traffic controllers.

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