Control tower 

The control tower at Frederick Municipal Airport seen here in 2013. 

The following is a partial transcript of tower communications from Frederick Municipal Airport around the time of the collision. The recording indicates that there were five active aircraft at the field at the time: two airplanes and three helicopters.

The FAA said the collision occurred at 3:40 p.m.

This is a partial transcript beginning at about 3:35 p.m. from the website

Air traffic controller: "Four three tango, I don't know if I'll be able to complete this approach for you. I have three helicopters in left traffic and a fixed-wing inbound from the west."

About 30 seconds later, it appears a plane is cleared to take off: "(Plane's call numbers) is clear for the Greensboro Airport," the controller says.

The controller then gives that pilot flight path and altitude information, which the pilot repeats.

"Four Papa Hotel, option the grass at your own risk," the controller says, apparently to a helicopter completing training exercises. "Use caution. And on the next go-around, stay at 1,000 feet. I have traffic in the downwind."

A pilot confirms he received transmission.

The controller then begins communication with an incoming plane.

"I have three helicopters below you in the traffic pattern," the controller says.

"... I have two of 'em in sight," the pilot responds.

"All right, Two Echo Sierra, I have you in sight. Runway three-zero. Maintain your altitude until turning base. Clear to land."

In the next second, the audio is overtaken by someone screaming "Oh, God! Oh, God!"

A man seemingly on the ground makes the next transmission: "Frederick Tower 14 ... airplane down and helicopter down."

"Yes, yes. I just saw it," the controller says frantically. "9-1-1 is on the way."

***Editor's Note: Some listeners may find this recording disturbing due to its graphic content. Portions of this audio have been edited to remove silent lapses between transmissions.*** Audio from Frederick Municipal Airport's tower communications during the Oct. 23, 2014 midair collision near Frederick airport.

(7) comments


May the three men who lost their lives that day rest in peace. I can only imagine what their families must be going through. I was about 100 feet from the collision and the crash site. I was working on my truck when I heard a pop, so I looked up and saw a parachute deploy, an airplane and a helicopter all within feet of each other. I really couldn't understand what was happening at the time until I saw the helicopter go straight down. I remember seeing the two gentlemen inside the helicopter holding on to the inside of the hilcopter. And then they crashed about 100 feet from me. I ran to the scene hoping I could be of help, but it was too late. I took pictures, but out of respect for the families and the three men, I have not and will not post them online. That said, I think about these men every day and what they must have been thinking as they were approaching the pavement. This recording gave me the chills all over again.

To any friends or family members who are reading this post, my heart goes out to you. I pray for you every day.



First off, I want to convey my deepest sympathy to all the family members of the 3 gentlemen who perished in this tragic accident.
Secondly , I want to express my sheer and utter shock and dismay for the media who publicized the ATC audio tape. This was incredibly disrespectful and callous. Imagine how the families feel knowing their loved one's could have been heard in their dying moments. Im sorry FNP and all, this was totally uncalled for, for the sake of media attention.
I realize the tape is disurbing, and the voice who screamed is likely not known at this time. But, please leave the analysis to the NTSB and authorities. I also realize live ATC stream is available everywhere, and considered 'public access". To replay this over and over is not going to bring answers, it merely feeds speculation by the public, and must be so painful for all involved to know this replay exists.

Please remove the audio from general media circulation.

Let the NTSB do their job, let the families cope without creating a sensation or being subjected to knowing this horrific audio exists.


Planes in the air, copters too???Not at this airport, oh yes.[sad]


Was the plane that was cleared to land on 3-0 the one that crashed?

Extra Ignored

2ES inbound.
4PH going to the grass.
18Q cleared for depart from Alpha.
43T is on approach for landing.
6112JD cleared for Greensboro.
42U down.
Helicopter down.


Were the control tower personnel keeping track of the flights?????????


The man "seemingly on the ground" is actually in another helicopter. He says "Frederick Tower, Four-Two-Uniform [abbreviated version of N2342U, the aircraft's tail number], airplane down and helicopter down."

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