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TRAINING & SAFETY

Early Analysis: Winter Haven Midair

PIPER WARRIOR AND PIPER J-3 CUB ON FLOATS

The NTSB has released its preliminary report (ERA23FA142) regarding the investigation into the Piper Warrior (N9221D) and Piper J-3 Cub seaplane (N10510) midair over Lake Hartridge, Winter Haven, FL.

On March 7, 2023, a Piper Warrior and a Piper J-3 Cub on floats collided over Lake Hartridge, just east of Winter Haven Regional Airport in Winter Haven, Florida. Sadly, all four people on board the airplanes perished in the accident.

The flight instructor and student in the Warrior had flown from Lakeland Linder International Airport for pattern work at Winter Haven. The flight instructor and a client in the J-3 Cub had just returned to transition to Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base located at Lake Jessie, adjacent to the Winter Haven Airport.

The weather at the time was VFR with good visibility and a few clouds at 4,100 feet. The Warrior turned left base for Runway 29 as the J-3 Cub flew across Lake Hartridge—transitioning from the northeast to the southwest—when the two airplanes collided.

In Early Analysis: Winter Haven Midair, the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI) makes a preliminary assessment of the midair collision, addressing notable portions of the tragic flights and highlighting areas the NTSB will likely investigate to determine a probable cause.

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