One pilot died in midair collision with another aircraft

by: FILE PHOTO - The two occupants of this Piper Seminole walked away from an October 2011 crash over Champoeg State Park.A National Transportation Safety Board report on a 2011 mid-air collision involving two small planes near Champoeg State Park stated that the pilots involved likely could not see each other prior to the crash.

One of the pilots, 58-year-old Stephen Watson of Beaverton, died after his Beech Bonanza V35 broke apart in midair following the collision and crashed. Two other pilots, flight instructor Travis Thompson, 31, of Beaverton, and student pilot Henrik Kalberg, 23, of Holmestrand, Norway, were uninjured after safely making an emergency landing with their twin-engined Piper Seminole in a field adjacent to the park.

Watson was a retired Oregon State Police trooper and had an airline-transport flight rating at the time of his death.

The Oct. 25, 2011, crash took place in an area that is not under formal air traffic control. Pilots instead are required to fly by visual flight rules in the rural area north of St. Paul. This normally means only that pilots are responsible for maintaining separation from other aircraft and obstacles under flying conditions that do not require the use of instrumentation for guidance.

The report does not assign blame to any of the parties involved in the crash. This conclusion is based on the planes' respective positions, as well as their respective courses and speed.

In addition, the report stated that both pilots' views of the exterior were obstructed by different parts of their aircraft.

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