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NTSB Searching For Second Plane That Was In Midair And Is Nowhere To Be Found

The “missing” plane probably didn’t crash, but the agency can’t find where it did go. We’ve got three theories.

Cessna 180
A Cessna 180 in flight. Photo by Spartan7W via Wikimedia Commons.

The good news to start with. It’s most likely that nobody onboard the two planes involved in a midair collision was hurt when two planes ran into each other near Sutton, Alaska, earlier this month. But that’s a best guess. Because we don’t know. Because the NTBS doesn’t know either.

A Cessna 180 was cruising along in the early afternoon when it collided with another plane, substantially damaging the Cessna taildragger’s wing. But the pilot was able to make a safe landing in the damaged plane. The other plane, said the pilot in the damaged one, just kept on flying. No information was available on what kind of plane it was. The NTSB says it looked at plane tracks and examined the ATC tapes, but with no luck. It’s a mystery.

This is where it gets even weirder. No one has any idea what happened to that other plane. Now, it’s not unknown for one plane or both of the planes involved in a midair collision to go missing. It’s rare, but it’s happened. And this wouldn’t be the first time that just one of the two planes was lost while the other was found. But in this case, it’s probably a better outcome than that, but an even stranger one.

It’s possible the other airplane wasn’t aware it was in a midair. This happens too. A Cirrus SR22 about six years ago in Texas got the convertible treatment after a Cessna 150 collided with it near College Station. The Cirrus, flown by a Cirrus rep, was still controllable, and the pilot was able to bring it back in for a landing. The Cessna trainer, on the other hand, wasn’t aware it had even been in a midair until the student pilot, on her first flight, ever noticed that the main gear outside her window was nowhere to be seen. It had been what hit the Cirrus.

So, the NTSB is trying to figure out if that or something else happened. It was, after all, an aircraft accident, and the NTSB’s charter is to get to the bottom of such things.

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Our theories are as follows:

  1. Plane 2 never knew what happened. It had no damage. The pilot flew home. Landed. Ate a caribou steak and called it a day.
  2. Plane 2 did crash, and it has not been found.
  3. The pilot of Plane 2 knew it got hit, but for whatever reason, kept on going anyways. Theories about on why the pilot would do that, though we doubt it’s because it was an alien craft. One observer was guessing the pilot might be un-certificated. Stranger things have happened.

We’re guessing it’s #1 or #3. We’ll update this and let you know when we learn more.

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