NTSB: Sailplanes Need Transponders
In the wake of the August 2006 midair between a Hawker 800XP and a glider, the NTSB has issued a safety recommendation that all sailplanes should have installed and active battery-powered transponders. The collision occurred about 40 miles from Reno/Tahoe International Airport, at an altitude of nearly 16,000 feet. The NetJets Hawker, which was equipped with TCAS-II, suffered extensive damage but landed safely, despite failure of the nosegear to deploy. The glider was rendered uncontrollable, forcing its pilot to parachute to safety. The glider’s mode-C transponder was turned off at the time and could not be detected by the Hawker’s equipment or by local ATC. The NTSB found that if the transponder had been turned on, it likely would have alerted the TCAS on board the Hawker in time for its crew to avert the collision.