Tragic Mid-Air Crash Involving Piper PA-46 Malibu Mirage Airplane and Cessna 172N Skyhawk Airplane at North Las Vegas Airport, Nevada
July 21, 2022
Four people were tragically killed as a result of a mid-air crash between a Piper PA-46 Malibu Mirage airplane and a Cessna 172N Skyhawk airplane on Sunday, July 17, 2022 at the North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT) in Clark County, Nevada. There were 2 people aboard each plane with no survivors.
The Cessna 172N, registry number N160RA was a fixed-wing single-engine airplane registered to Binner Enterprises LLC in Henderson, Nevada. It was manufactured in 1977 and equipped with a Lycoming 0-320 Series engine. Initial reports indicate that the Cessna was in pattern, training at the airport “touch and go’s”
The Piper PA-46, registry number N97CX was also a fixed-wing single-engine plane registered to Gold Aero Aviation LLC in Tampa, Florida. It was manufactured in 1997 and equipped with a PT-6 turbo-prop engine.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA are investigating the crash. The NTSB will look into all possible causes including pilot error, product defects and the role ATC may have played in this deadly event. NTSB spokesperson Peter Knudson said an initial report should be released within 2 to 3 weeks of the crash. A final report from the NTSB is expected to take up to 2 years.
Initial information, includin ADS-B data (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast which shows aircraft tracking) showed that the collision between the Piper and the Cessna occurred mid-air, on the final approach to the right runway (30R) at the North Las Vegas Airport. However, released audio transmissions between the aircraft and the air traffic controller indicate that the Piper aircraft had been cleared to land on the left runway (30L), not the right runway (30R). The audio recording shows that the ATC repeated the instructions for the Piper to land on the left runway. KTNV Channel 13 in Las Vegas reported that the Piper PA crashed in a “field east of Runway 30-Right and the Cessna fell into a water retention pond.”
ATC (Air Traffic Control) Legal Responsibility
The NTSB will certainly consider piloting issues, including the pilots responsibility to see-and-avoid other aircraft as well as the Air Traffic Controller’s responsibility to space and sequence aircraft for landing and to issue traffic alerts.
The roles and responsibilities of the pilot and controller for effective participation in the ATC system are contained in several documents. FAA ORDER JO 7110.65W prescribes air traffic control procedures and phraseology for use by personnel providing air traffic control services. Controllers are required to be familiar with the provisions of this order.
Previous Kreindler Mid-Air Collision Experience
Kreindler has successfully represented victims and their families in numerous mid-air collision cases, including one crash virtually identical to this North Las Vegas Airport crash.
In a previous Kreindler mid-air collision case, the two aircraft collided while landing at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. The training aircraft (Cessna) was landing and was not seen by the other aircraft (Piper) which was also landing and the Piper crashed into the training aircraft from behind. In that case as well, air traffic control did not take measures to avoid, or warn about, the impending mid-air collision.
- Mid-air collision: Our client vs. FAA, Cessna 172 & Piper Comanche Crash, Long Island, NY
- Mid-air collision: Sen. John Heinz, PA, Piper Aerostar and Bell 412EP, Pennsylvania
- Mid-air collision: Hudson River VFR Corridor, Eurocopter AS350 & Piper PA32, New York, NY
- Mid-air collision: Our client vs. FAA, Cessna 172 & Cessna 182, California
- Mid-air collision: Gol Airlines Boeing 737 & Embraer Business Jet, Brazil
Photo Credit: North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT), via Flickr User Tomás Del Coro