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NTSB releases final report on 2019 midair collision over Clay County

Report says the crash resulted from ‘failure of each pilot to maintain separation from the other airplane during intentional maneuvers within close proximity of each other’

Two planes crashed near Clay County Fairgrounds after colliding in mid-air.
Two planes crashed near Clay County Fairgrounds after colliding in mid-air. (Sky 4/WJXT)

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final report on the May 2019 midair collision over Clay County that killed a veteran pilot.

According to the report, the crash resulted from the “failure of each pilot to maintain separation from the other airplane during intentional maneuvers within close proximity of each other.”

On May 29, 2019, Bob Woolley, 74, and Dave Dollarhide took off in their custom-made planes so Dollarhide could check his airspeed indicator, according to Dollarhide. When everything appeared normal, the two longtime friends decided to engage in a “tail chase,” a maneuver they did often, the report stated. The report said the planes went through various turns, climbs and dives, with the pilots alternating in the lead. The report said Dollarhide eventually called off the tail chase and began to descend and then saw Woolley coming right at him, 50 feet away. Before either pilot could react, the two planes collided in midair, according to the report.

View of main wreckage of N319RL showing structural damage of entire aircraft. (National Transportation Safety Board)
View of N203DD in field showing structural damage throughout aircraft. (National Transportation Safety Board)

The report stated Woolley’s red plane broke in two, and he was killed. Dollarhide managed to land his yellow plane in a field near the Clay County Fairgrounds and was treated for his injuries at a hospital.

The NTSB had noted that the pilot of the red plane had taken cough and cold medicines before flying, but the final report stated that “it could not be determined if, or to what extent, the pilot may have been impaired by them.”