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NTSB releases preliminary report on North Las Vegas midair collision that killed 4

The Piper PA-46 Malibu Mirage involved in a midair collision with a Cessna 172N Skyhawk last month at the North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), killing four people, lined up for the wrong runway. That's according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.A coroner's report concluded that Donald Goldberg and Carol Ann Scanlon were onboard the Piper and died before the aircraft burned, according to The Associated Press, which reported that student pilot Zachary Rainey of North Las Vegas and instructor Anthony Chiaramonti of Las Vegas died in the Cessna. Family told local media that Rainey was "a few hours away" from getting his private pilot's certificate.PREVIOUS COVERAGE:4 killed in midair collision at North Las Vegas Airport PILOT ANALYSIS: What we know about what happened in the North Las Vegas midair collision that killed 4The NTSB report states that the collision happened just after noon on July 17, with the Piper PA-46 operating as a Part 91 personal flight and the Cessna 172 as a Part 91 instructional flight. The Piper, registration No. N97CX, "had been instructed by air traffic control (ATC) to fly left traffic for runway 30L and (the Cessna) N160RA had been instructed to fly right traffic for runway 30R," the NTSB report states. "The airplanes collided about 0.25 nautical miles from the approach end of runway 30R." The Piper was operating under instrument flight rules (IFR) and had departed from Coeur d'Alene Airport - Pappy Boyington Field (COE). The Cessna, was conducting a training flight under visual flight rules (VFR). "(The Cessna) was in the VFR traffic pattern for runway 30R, flying a right-hand traffic pattern and communicating with the VGT local controller. (The Piper) was inbound from the north on an IFR flight plan from COE," the report states. Eight minutes before the collision, the Nellis Radar Approach Control air traffic controller cleared the Piper for the visual approach and instructed the pilot to overfly VGT at midfield for left traffic to runway 30L. Air traffic control responsibility for the flight was transferred from Nellis Radar Approach Control to VGT two minutes later. Within seconds, the pilot of the Piper contacted the VGT local controller and reported "' descending out of 7,600 feet MSL for landing on three zero left and ah Nellis said to cross midfield.'" The VGT local controller responded, "' continue for three zero left.'" "The pilot acknowledged and stated, ‘okay continue for runway three zero left nine seven charlie x-ray we will cross over midfield.'" Four minutes before the crash, the Cessna pilot "short approach," and the VGT local controller transmitted "'zero romeo alpha short approach approved runway three zero right cleared for the option,' which was acknowledged by N160RA." Less than three minutes before impact, the local controller radios the Piper that it is cleared to land on runway three-zero-left. Twenty seconds later, the controller transmits, "' November seven charlie x-ray runway three zero left cleared to land.' The pilot of N97CX responded ‘three zero left cleared to land nine seven charlie x-ray.' At 1201:57, the VGT local controller transmitted ‘seven charlie x-ray I think I said it right runway three zero left seven charlie x-ray runway three zero left. "At 1202:02 the pilot of N97CX transmitted ‘yeah affirmative runway three zero left that's what I heard nine seven charlie x-ray.' There were no further transmissions from either airplane. " The report goes on to describe the angle of impact, the level of damage sustained and the final resting position of the aircraft. The NTSB notes that information is subject to change from a preliminary report to a final report, which likely will take additional months to complete.
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