Convertible Baron

Damaged Beech BaronMy home base airport sits in the Santa Ana canyon area of Southern California. It’s so heavily traveled by general aviation aircraft that a certain paranoia about a midair collision sets in. Everyone–and I mean everyone–keeps their eyes peeled while flying near Corona.

When flying over less populated areas, however, a certain complacency can set in. After all, midair collisions are extraordinarly rare. According to the Air Safety Foundation’s most recent (2002) Nall Safety Report, there were only 5 midair collisions for the entire year nationwide, and only three of those were fatal.

Damaged Beech Baron(Imagine a year in which there were only three fatal automobile accidents in the United States. Hard to do, isn’t it? Sixty thousand people die on the roads every year.)

But that complacency can come back to bite you in the ass just as it did to a C-180 and Beech Baron over Tehachapi in January. There are no pictures of the Skywagon, but here are a few of the Baron. Note the blood on the back of the pilots seat.

Damaged Beech BaronGotta give credit to Massive Headwound Harry, though. He got that plane on the ground in one piece–no easy feat considering the flight conditions. Despite the way it looks, I’m not sure the damage was critical. The wing spar, attach points, carry-through, control cables, wiring, and gear were all well below the affected area.

You’ve gotta love the NTSB way of phrasing things. My friend Dan pointed out that they make it sound as though the “precautionary landing” was optional. No, when there’s a 200 mph breeze in your face, you’re bleeding from the head, and your twin engine Baron has just been transformed into a convertible, continuing on to your destination is probably not an option.

  2 comments for “Convertible Baron

  1. Laurent Lamy
    December 6, 2004 at 5:44 pm

    Jesus!… I’ve come REAL close to mid-air collisions myself in the Sydney training area on many occasions over years (almost pulled into a passing Robinson Helicopter only last week), but I can’t imagine how terrifying this must have been!!!…. One hell of a piece of great flying that landing must have been.

  2. Owen Graham
    December 8, 2004 at 8:01 am

    Someone sent me these pics with an e-mail about a Baron being struck by a goose. Thanks to your site for the straight dope. I thought that rip in the roof looked a little odd for a bird strike!

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