Shorts 360s collide

Washington DC
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The fatal mid-air collision last week of two Shorts 360 freighters near Milwaukee, Wisconsin was caused by a misjudged, but intentional turn by one of the two aircraft during a low-level air-to-air photographic sortie. Following the collision, one of the aircraft crashed, killing all three people on board, while the other managed to make a forced landing at a nearby airport.

shorts 360 milwaukee collision w445
One of the 360s managed to land (pictured above), but the other crashed
                                                                                                © EMPICS / MARKWAS

The two Shorts 360s involved in the 5 February accident were operated by Milwaukee-based Air Cargo Carriers. According to the US National Transportation Safety Board, the two aircraft (N372AC and N3735W) were flying in formation taking photographs the day before they were due to be deployed to Iraq under a US Department of Defense contract following modifications, which included the installation of additional fuel tanks.

According to NTSB investigator Todd Fox, the incident occurred after the pilot of N3735W informed the other 360 that he was about to turn right in front of the aircraft. Initial data indicates the turn was short, and that N3725W’s left wing struck N372AC. The aircraft were at about 2,500ft (760m) and 45m apart before the manoeuvre. Following the collision, N3725W lost control and crashed, killing all three people on board. The other 360, which had sustained “substantial damage”, managed to make a forced landing at Juneau airport, with no injuries sustained by the three people on board.

JOE SINGLETON / WASHINGTON DC