NTSB: Pilots in Talkeetna midair crash were on same radio frequency

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board found that two pilots involved in a midair collision at the Talkeetna Airport in May were transmitting their positions on the same radio frequency.

The May 31 collision involved a Talkeetna Air Taxi Cessna 185 carrying four passengers and a student pilot alone in a Cessna 172. The student pilot, 27-year-old Cole Hagge of Eagle River, was injured, the NTSB report said. The pilot and passengers in the Talkeetna Air Taxi plane escaped with only minor injuries.

According to the preliminary report, a review of FAA Flight Service Station recordings of the common traffic advisory frequency found that both airplanes could be "heard transmitting position reports in relation to the airport traffic pattern."

The preliminary report's information on radio transmissions is significant because of the role such communications have played in other midair crashes in the Mat-Su, a busy airspace with lots of private airstrips and small airports not manned by air-traffic controllers.

In 2014, the FAA made changes to assigned radio frequencies in a bid to ensure pilots are communicating with one another.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.