According to the NTSB, the pilots of the private Cessna 172 and the BAE Systems Sabreliner that collided near San Diego Brown Field Municipal Airport on August 16 had communicated with the control tower before the accident. However, the details of that communication had not been officially released at press time.
Nevertheless, the Safety Board said the tower was operating as scheduled, putting to rest early speculation that the tower was closed at the time of the collision. Also corrected was the initial report that the Cessna was inbound from a cross-country flight. The NTSB now reports that the pilot of the single-engine airplane was practicing touch-and-goes when his airplane and the Sabreliner, which was inbound for landing, clipped right-side wings as they flew past each other in opposite directions about two miles northeast of the airport. All five people aboard the two airplanes—the pilot of the Cessna and the four in the twinjet—perished in the accident.
The Sabreliner, N442RM, was registered to military contractor BAE Systems, which said in a statement that its employees aboard the aircraft were conducting a training flight for the U.S. Navy.