Final Report: Lack of transponder blamed for jet/glider collision

 - May 5, 2008, 7:38 AM

Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 800XP/Schleicher ASW27-18, Smith, Nev., Aug. 28, 2006–The NTSB blamed the midair of the NetJets-managed Hawker and the glider on the failure of the glider pilot to use his transponder and on the high closure rate of the two aircraft, which limited each pilot’s opportunity to see and avoid the other.

The aircraft were at 16,000 feet when they collided. The Hawker was descending in VMC toward Reno/Tahoe International Airport, about 42 nm away, and the glider was in a 30-degree spiraling climb to the left. The Hawker captain and the glider pilot said they saw the other aircraft only about one second or less before the collision and were unable to avoid the midair. One of the Hawker’s engines was “disabled,” and the crew declared an emergency and was able to land. The glider pilot could not control his aircraft and parachuted to the ground. The Hawker was equipped with TCAS but the glider’s transponder was turned off. The NTSB has issued recommendations to the FAA to revise glider transponder regulations and has asked the Soaring Society of America to encourage its members to install transponders and emphasize the importance of their use.