This article is missing information about efforts to avoid civilian mid-air collisions (eg. TCAS) and the history of mid-air collisions. Please expand the article to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page.(June 2014)
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A mid-air collision is an aviation accident in which two or more aircraft come into contact during flight. Owing to the relatively high velocities involved and any subsequent impact on the ground or sea, very severe damage or the total destruction of at least one of the aircraft involved usually results.
The potential for a mid-air collision is increased by miscommunication, mistrust, error in navigation, and deviations from flight plans. Although a rare occurrence due to the vastness of open space available, collisions often happen near or at airports, due to the large volume of aircraft and closer spacing compared to general flight.
Contemporary artist's impression of the first mid air collision, 1910
The first recorded collision between aircraft occurred at the 'Milano Circuito Aereo Internazionale' meeting held between 24 September and 3 October 1910 in Milan, Italy. On 3 October René Thomas of France in an Antoinette monoplane collided with Captain Bertram Dickson of the British army in a Farman biplane by ramming him in the rear. Both pilots survived but Dickson was so badly injured he never flew again.
The first fatal collision occurred in Douai, France, on 19 June 1912. Captain Marcel Dubois and Lieutenant Albert Peignan of the French Army crashed into one another, killing both pilots.
Efforts to prevent military/civilian collisions in the United States
There are many types and causes of mid-air collisions. On some occasions, military aircraft conducting training flights inadvertently collide with civilian aircraft. Before 1958, civilian air traffic controllers guiding civilian flights and military controllers guiding military aircraft were both unaware of the other's aircraft.
In 2005, as part of an effort to reduce such military/civilian mid-air collisions in U.S. airspace, the Air National Guard Flight Safety Division, led by Lt Col Edward Vaughan, used the Disruptive Solutions Process to create the See and Avoid web portal. In late 2006, the U.S. Defense Safety Oversight Council (DSOC) recognized and funded the site as its official civil/military midair collision prevention website, with participation by all the services.