Midair Collisions in U.S. Civil Aviation 2000-2004: The Roles of Radio Communications and Altitude

This article explores the roles of radio communications and altitude in midair collisions in civil aviation in the United States between 2000 and 2004. The authors note that midair collisions are destructive to aircraft and often fatal to occupants, with the additional possibility of death and destruction on the ground. The authors analyzed accident reports published by the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) for the period 2000-2004; additional information was extracted from the narrative report of each accident. The data showed that during the 5-year period, there were 48 collisions in U.S. civil aviation, with 78 fatalities and 7 persons severely injured. There were 46 aircraft destroyed and 37 substantially damaged. In 14 cases, no radio communication prior to the collision was reported. In 19 cases, there appeared to have been regular radio communication with a tower or other aircraft; in 16 cases, the aircraft were under air traffic control (ATC) control but this did not prevent a collision, while in 3 cases the pilots were communicating their positions regularly but did not hear each other’s calls. All accidents occurred in good to excellent visibility and there appears to be no seasonal tendency for midair collisions. The authors conclude that radio communication is recommended to assist aircraft where practical, but pilots need to be made aware of the limitations of radio communication for the avoidance of midair collisions.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • De Voogt, Alexander J
    • Van Doorn, Robert R
  • Publication Date: 2006-12


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045339
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 26 2007 7:34PM