Midair over Boulder, Colorado Claims Three Lives

A Cirrus SR20 flown by a local pilot collided with a Piper Pawnee towing a glider over Boulder, Colorado, last Saturday. The glider pilot released its tow rope and flew through the burning wreckage, but he and his two passengers landed safely. The Pawnee fell out of control and crashed, killing the pilot. The Cirrus descended all the way to the ground under its ballistic recovery parachute, but amateur video shows it was heavily engulfed in flames on the way down. According to FAA sources, the collision occurred as the Cirrus was beginning its descent to land following an afternoon pleasure flight. The 58-year-old owner pilot and his 56-year-old brother died as a result of the accident. Investigators are trying to determine if the pilot deployed the chute, or if the impact of the collision or the fire triggered its rocket propellant.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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