ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Photos of the planes involved in the midair collision over Cherry Creek State Park flooded social media Wednesday soon after the crash, leaving many wondering how the people involved walked away uninjured.
“It definitely catches your attention and gives you pause,” said Anthony Brickhouse, associate professor of Aerospace and Occupational Safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Brickhouse looked at the photos captured of the Key Lime Air Metroliner shortly after it collided with a Cirrus SR22. The incident caused part of the main body of the plane to be ripped away, leaving an open hole.
Brickhouse says that middle section of the plane is likely the most ideal spot for that type of damage to occur.
“If the wings had been significantly impacted, it would have been a different story. If the tail of the aircraft had been impacted, it would have been a different story. But this location just behind the wings is almost like the perfect location for this type of damage to happen if you’re going to have a successful situation,” said Brickhouse.
Brickhouse explains planes fly based on the concept of lift. As long as lift can be sustained, an aircraft can sustain flight.
“What this opening-up effect did was it created drag. Lift and drag actually compete with each other whenever an aircraft is flying. But as long as you have more lift than drag, then it’s going to work out successfully in most situations,” said Brickhouse
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as well as the Federal Aviation Administration have begun investigating what led up to the collision.
Joseph LoRusso, an aviation attorney, says the NTSB’s investigation can take up to a year, if not longer. LoRusso says it’s too early to determine who is at fault.
“They have to conduct not only the on-scene investigation in going through the wreckage and witnesses and taking photos, but that is only the beginning of what is probably going to be a multiple-year investigation,” said LoRusso.
LoRusso says despite no fatalities or serious injury in this case, the NTSB will handle all investigations in the same manner.
“I think it’s important to stress here that this will take a long investigation. We’re not going to have immediate answers coming up, but we certainly will have answers down the road that we can use to prevent this occurrence from happening again,” said LoRusso.