UPDATE: Reports Of Possible Mid-Air Collision Between Planes Near Mt. Diablo

November 7, 2020 20:05 pm · 20 comments

We’re getting reports of a possible mid-air collision involving planes on Mt. Diablo this afternoon.

Here’s what a witness had to say.

You have to zoom in (on the pictures), but you can see the planes, a parachute and the body of the pilot. I was out at Knobcone Point on Mt. Diablo, when we saw two odd looking & sounding planes, collide head on. The first plane circled around the summit and came back towards us….we were facing East/SE on Knobcone Point. Plane sounded like it had an electric or something else non-gasoline engine. I took some photos, but I only had a 15-30mm lens with me today. If you zoom in on the photo you can see the two planes, one still circling above the parachutist, the other plane out of control heading to earth, and a small speck that was the other pilot (we think). Spoke to a Ranger and they found the parachutist and were transporting them to a hospital. Still have not heard anything about this on the news. When we first saw the plane, we thought it looked similar to a U-2.

Click on each photo for a much larger view of the photos, and to see the two planes and at least one person with a parachute.

The FAA says at this time, they have no reports of a plane crash on Mt. Diablo.

UPDATE: The FAA released the following information to Claycord.com:

Two Schleicher gliders collided in mid air over Mt. Diablo State Park, around 12:50 p.m. Saturday. Only the pilots were on board and each parachuted out of the plane. The aircraft tail numbers are N81KP and N18MA. You can look up the aircraft registration information by entering the tail numbers into the search field on www.faa.gov. The FAA and NTSB will investigate.

The condition of the pilots is unknown at this time.

Anon November 7, 2020 at 8:17 PM

What time was this?
Between 1pm -2pm I heard that “electric” plane, I figured that there was a fire somewhere because it sounded like one of the planes used in fire response. It’s not electric but has a very distinct sound.

SM November 7, 2020 at 9:40 PM

Two single-placr gliders out of Byron airport had a midair collision around 1pm. Both pilots were able to bail out with their emergency parachites, one of whom was hospitalized with moderate injuries.

Queen bee November 7, 2020 at 10:12 PM

Source? (Just curious)

Ancient Mariner November 7, 2020 at 10:44 PM

Very glad to hear no fatalities!

Hole November 7, 2020 at 10:21 PM

How does a paraglider look like a U-2?
Fair question…

jose November 8, 2020 at 2:58 AM

These two look to be ‘Sail-Planes’ or gliders. Some have gasoline or electric motors to enable them to take off when no tow planes are available.

Lovelace November 8, 2020 at 6:54 AM

A glider can look like a u2 in silhouette., although in dimension a glider is smaller.
Long wings short body.
I’m not sure about a para glider…

I'm The Urban Spaceman November 7, 2020 at 10:34 PM

We never saw a second parachute…what must have been debris falling, we thought was a body…Excellent news. Thank you for the update.

QueryQue November 8, 2020 at 8:41 AM

I’m so glad there were no fatalities! Those are magnificent pictures.

Kirkwood November 8, 2020 at 9:00 AM

I want to learn more and I haven’t found any information of this collision on google. I was a sailplane owner and pilot and have flown near Mt Diablo a few times. Sailplane pilots are accustomed to flying near each other or mountains.and there are strict procedures every pilot knows well. I have shared the same thermal with a dozen or more gliders in relative safety, maintaining distances of a few wingspans. From the ground it looks like a flock of vultures. A group of sailplanes is called a “gaggle”

Silva November 8, 2020 at 3:28 PM

That is very cool.

S November 8, 2020 at 9:56 AM

Seems strange there are no local affiliate news stories on this.

Dorothy November 8, 2020 at 11:50 AM

Nothing on the news last night (too busy with politics). Nothing in the newspapers today either (also busy with politics).

Glen November 8, 2020 at 12:55 PM

Glad to hear no fatalities.

No mention of where the machines came down?

Are they very heavy?

ClayDen November 8, 2020 at 6:35 PM

540 lb empty for the ASW-27, 573 lb for the ASW 20C, both have a maximum takeoff weight of 1,157 lb (to allow for the pilot and any water ballast).

Also glad to hear there were no fatalities.

Kirkwood November 9, 2020 at 10:39 AM

I’m flabbergasted at the the technology advances since my H201B Libelle back in the ’70’s. Also the costs.


Kirkwood November 9, 2020 at 10:42 AM

I should have mentioned the You Tube is not about me, but shows where the current technology is today. .

ClayDen November 9, 2020 at 11:36 PM

Fantastic video Kirkwood! Thanks for posting it. I fly RC sailplanes BTW.

Ricardoh November 9, 2020 at 7:51 AM

After reading the update it is amazing to me that either was high enough to use a parachute.

Dorothy November 10, 2020 at 11:47 AM

Today’s paper, 11/10 finally had an article about this. Guess they had to wait for federal approval. Everyone (officially) have landed safely.

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