But For The Grace...

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Sometimes you see the wreckage and wonder how anyone got out alive. If this Beech Baron had been flying a few inches to the right, we likely wouldn't be wondering how Robert Hollis Gates, of Tehachapi, Calif., managed to land the plane safely after a midair with a Cessna 180 last Jan. 16. The Baron lost a section of fuselage, but Gates walked away with cuts and bruises. The 180 broke up in flight and the pilot, 40-year-old David Lazerson, a civilian test pilot instructor at Edwards Air Force Base and deputy director of the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force, was killed. According to the NTSB report, Gates said he was in cruise climb between 5,500 and 6,500 feet near Tehachapi when he saw the right gear leg of the Cessna coming at him from one o' clock. He ducked, then saw a dirt strip and managed to set the Baron down. AVweb wasn't able to reach Gates.