Monday, October 31, 2016

Pilatus PC6/C-H2 Turbo Porter, Highlandair LLC, N5308F: Fatal accident occurred October 28, 2016 in Port Alsworth, Alaska

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: ANC17FA004
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 28, 2016 in Port Alsworth, AK
Aircraft: FAIRCHILD HELI-PORTER PILATUS PC6, registration: N5308F
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 28, 2016, about 1828 Alaska daylight time, a turbine-powered tailwheel-equipped Fairchild Pilatus Porter PC-6, N5308F, sustained substantial damage after impacting mountainous terrain about 57 miles north-northeast of Port Alsworth, Alaska, in the Neacola Mountains of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial rated pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure and destination, with areas of reduced visibility and lower cloud ceilings along the route of flight. No flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Lake Hood Seaplane Base, Anchorage, Alaska, at 1711, destined for a private airstrip near Port Alsworth.

During a phone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on October 31, a family member said that the purpose of the flight was a fuel delivery to a family homestead near Lake Clark, just as the pilot had done the previous day. According to friends and family, the pilot was very familiar with the routes through the mountains to Lake Clark, and he had the airplane outfitted with an internal 250-gallon fuel tank. Typically, the pilot would fly through the Lake Clark Pass unless the weather was low, in which case he would take the northern Merrill Pass route. According to a family member in Port Alsworth, the pilot requested the weather conditions at Lake Clark prior to departure, which were reported as windy with a high overcast cloud layer and "no blue sky".

A preliminary review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data revealed that after departure the airplane turned west after reaching the northwest side of Cook Inlet and prior to reaching the Lake Clark Pass entry. According to a text message provided by a friend of the pilot, the pilot communicated that the pass "looks fuzzy" and "on my way, holes out west" while flying en route prior to crossing the mountains. The airplane then climbed up to an altitude of about 14,600 feet on the east side of the mountains, and descended westward down to 7,700 feet near the accident site. The last radar return at 1827 indicates a ground speed of 119 knots, a rate of descent of about 833 feet per minute and a heading of about 340 degrees. 

The airplane was outfitted with an Artex Emergency Locator Transmitter model ME406, which is designed to transmit an encoded 406 megahertz (MHz) signal for 24 hours to overhead Cospas-Sarsat satellites every 50 seconds, and a continuous swept Very High Frequency (VHF) homing signal on 121.5 MHz for 50 hours.

According to Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (RCC), an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal was received about 1831 with partial position information from an ELT that was registered to N5308F. A more accurate position was obtained by the RCC about 1922. About 2252, the RCC coordinated a search of the area by helicopter; however, low visibility and darkness prevented search area access. The FAA issued an alert notice at 2253. The RCC coordinated daily search flights with an HH-60 helicopter and HC-130 airplane from October 29 through November 3. The 406 MHz signal stopped transmitting late on October 30. Low ceilings and visibility prevented a search of the immediate ELT area for 5 days. 

On November 4, the Civil Air Patrol joined the search due to a forecast for improved weather. The ELT 121.5 MHz VHF signal was still transmitting a continuous signal and was used by the search crews to locate the wreckage on the morning of November 4. The pilot's remains were recovered from the scene by RCC rescue personnel.

The remote accident site consists of steep, mountainous, snow-covered terrain oriented north and south within the Alaska Range with a peak of about 8,336 feet in the near vicinity. The wreckage is located about 6 miles south of Merrill Pass west and 14 miles northeast of Lake Telaquana within the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The airplane wreckage is located about 6,500 feet on the south side of a ridge line, heading north. Search crews reported substantial damage to the forward portion of the fuselage and nose. 

At 1755, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from Sparrevohn LRRS Airport (the closest weather reporting facility) reported, in part: wind 140 degrees at 20 knots, gusts to 41 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition, overcast at 8,500 feet; temperature 48 degrees F, dew point 34 degrees F; altimeter 29.57 inHg. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Weather Camera images on October 28 from Lake Clark Pass East show weather diminishing at about 1547 ADT to below 1 statue mile, and images from Merrill Pass High and Low Weather Cameras indicating diminishing visibility at 1624 to at or below 1 statute mile visibility in snow with mountains obscured. 

Official sunset for October 28, 2016, was 1815 with civil twilight ending at 1901 ADT. 

A detailed wreckage and engine examination is pending. The airplane was equipped with a Aireasearch Garrett Honeywell TPE 331 turbine engine.

A Garmin 496 GPS was recovered from the scene and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory in Washington, D.C., for download.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

David McRae stands alongside his Pilatus Porter turbo prop airplane.

The remains of missing pilot David McRae were located and recovered Thursday morning in the Alaska Range, according to the Alaska National Guard.

Civilian searchers found McRae's aircraft southwest of Merrill Pass at an elevation of about 6,500 feet in Lake Clark National Park, said Lt. Candis Olmstead in a release.

"McRae was recovered from the scene, transported and released to the state medical examiner at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage early this afternoon," Olmstead said.

Heidi Hammond, McRae's cousin, said McRae was well respected among Alaska aviators and made friends with everyone he met.

"Everybody who knew him is going to miss him," Heidi Hammond said.

Poor weather hampered search efforts for six days until weather cleared Thursday. The improved weather allowed the Civil Air Patrol to join in the search, and it spotted the wreckage shortly after sunrise, officials said. McRae was the only one aboard the plane.

McRae, 55, was flying fuel from Anchorage to the Port Alsworth homestead of his aunt, Bella Hammond, on Friday evening when he is believed to have deviated from his planned route through Lake Clark pass due to weather, according to investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB will continue to investigate the crash.

The investigation into the crash is in its preliminary stages, said Clint Johnson of NTSB. An investigator spent the past several days gathering radar and air traffic control data, as well as interviewing officials and family.

The information collected so far does not answer the question on the minds of those closest to McRae: How did the crash happen?

"We have no idea at this point," Johnson said. "That data is just a small piece of the puzzle."

Initial indicators given to NTSB by the Alaska Air National Guard indicate the recovery of the plane will be difficult, Johnson said. He was told the area of the crash site features steep terrain and an abundance of snow.

Johnson said more details will be gathered in the coming days, such as exactly where the plane crashed and its condition.

"But the reality is, depending on weather conditions, it very well could be next spring before we see the wreckage," he said.

McRae frequently flew to the homestead, which Bella Hammond and her late husband, Gov. Jay Hammond, built and shared for decades. Heidi Hammond estimated he made the trip more than once a month.

He also flew all around the state and once spent a summer flying around Denali, Heidi Hammond said. Another typical trip involved flying from Alaska to Washington, she said.

"He had a lot of experience," she said.

Outside of his life of aviation, McRae spent many years commercial fishing in Bristol Bay. He spent his free time working on his aircraft and other projects, Heidi said.

"He could do anything. Everyone thought the world of him."


Alaskan bush pilot David McRae, 55, stands with the Pilatus PC6/C-H2 Turbo Porter he was flying. The plane wreckage was located Thursday morning southwest of Merrill Pass at an elevation of 6,500 feet in Lake Clark National Park. Searchers have been looking for the missing pilot since he departed from Lake Hood en route to Port Alsworth last Friday. McRae’s remains were recovered from the scene, transported and released to the state medical examiner.

After six days, the body of missing pilot David McRae and his plane have finally been found in Lake Clark National Park.

Lt. Col. Candis Olsmstead directs public affairs for the Alaska National Guard said weather cleared enough today to get close to the area.

The Civil Air Patrol helped with the search and ultimately found the site.

Longtime bush pilot McRae and his plane, a single engine Pilatus Porter, were found at an altitude of 6,500 feet, but authorities have not described the crash site or a possible cause.

He had been flying Friday evening from Lake Hood to Lake Clark through Merrill Pass when his plane went down.

Olmstead said pararescue crews got down to the wreck site Thursday.

“They hoisted down to the site and they were able to find Mr. McRae and they did recover his body and transported and released him to the state medical examiner,” Olmstead said.

Weather had hampered search efforts since last weekend.

His next of kin have been notified.

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David McRae 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) THURSDAY UPDATE:   Rescue crews discovered the body of pilot David McRae, 55, and his aircraft in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve on Thursday morning.

After searching since Friday night, rescuers finally got a break in the weather and spotted the plane southwest of Merrill Pass in the Alaska Range at an elevation of about 6,500 feet, according to a news release from the Alaska National Guard.

McRae's body was recovered from the scene and released to the State Medical Examiner in Anchorage early Thursday afternoon.

McRae was the nephew of former Alaska First Lady Bella Hammond and commercially fished in Bristol Bay. He was delivering a load of fuel to her family's homestead in Lake Clark when the crash occurred.

His family has been notified. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause and circumstances of the crash.

Poor weather hampered search efforts for six days until weather cleared on Thursday.

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was able to safely join in the search effort Thursday morning and spotted wreckage shortly after sunrise.

McRae was flying alone from Lake Hood in Anchorage en route to Port Alsworth in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve early Friday evening.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received indication of an aircraft 406 Beacon activation and sent search crews to the vicinity of the transmitted coordinates. The search that evening was limited due to very poor weather and visibility.

Bad weather conditions prevailed until today.


The search for missing bush pilot David McRae will continue Tuesday after poor weather conditions again hampered efforts to find him on Monday.

According to the National Parks Service, Pave Hawk helicopter crews with the Air National Guard have so far been unable to reach the area from where McRae’s emergency locator beacon was transmitting.

“The aircraft is believed to be at about the 5,000 foot elevation in a rugged, mountainous location between Merrill Pass and Telaquana Lake,” NPS wrote in a Tuesday press release. “Search efforts will continue today.”

McRae’s aircraft went missing on a Friday afternoon flight from Anchorage to Lake Clark. Tuesday marks the fifth day of efforts to try and locate him.


Search for missing Alaska bush pilot continues into its fourth day

Search efforts are continuing for a pilot who went missing on a Friday afternoon flight out of Lake Hood, according to a statement from the National Parks Service and the Alaska Air National Guard.

The pilot has been identified as 55-year-old David McRae, the nephew of former Alaska First Lady Bella Hammond and the late Governor Jay Hammond, the National Parks Service said in a Sunday night press release.

Authorities believe McRae was the pilot and sole occupant of a single-engine Pilatus Porter which took off from Lake Hood Friday afternoon en route to Lake Clark Lodge with a load of fuel. The plane failed to reach its destination and was declared missing in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

Search efforts by the Air National Guard over the weekend were hampered by low clouds and fog, NPS said. The Air Guard plans to continue searching on Monday morning.

“Searchers are focusing on an area where an ELT signal was first received on Friday evening. The area is between Merrill Pass and Telaquana Lake, in the rugged northern portion of the national park,” NPS wrote in the release.


David McRae. 

UPDATE, November 2, 2016:    It’s been six since Anchorage pilot David McRae’s plane went down in Lake Clark National Park. With a window of slightly better weather this morning, the Alaska Air National Guard continued search efforts by helicopter and C-130. Friend and fellow pilot Glen Alsworth from nearby Port Alsworth has been monitoring the search for McRae closely, which he says has been constantly hampered by foul weather.

"The way the low pressure is set up in the Bering Sea side and the high pressures to the east, it's streaming that warm wet air from the Gulf of Alaska right up across the Alaska range where it is cooling and turning into fog and snow. And it's been accompanied by high winds as well," Alsworth explains.

McRae’s plane is believed to have gone down in a mountainous area along the Merrill Pass route between Anchorage and Lake Clark. An emergency beacon from the plane indicated an altitude of about 5000 feet, and the search radius has been narrowed to approximately one mile. But hope of finding McRae alive fades with each new day of poor weather.

"It's quite unusual that it's such a long time the weather has stayed in this same pattern. It's very unfortunate. We need a break so we can give the search and rescue folks a chance to even access this site," says Alsworth.

McRae was flying a load of fuel to his aunt Bella Hammond’s lakeside lodge Friday went his plane apparently went down. He has deep ties to the Bristol Bay region, and is a highly respected pilot. Alsworth has known him for years.

"David Mcrae's just a fine gentlemen, has always been very careful, very measured in his decisions," Alsworth says. "He's always been just extremely responsible and careful in all the interfacing I've ever had with him."

McRae is believed to have been the only person on board the single engine Pilatus Porter.  The National Transportation Safety Board says it will be investigating the crash.

ORIGINAL REPORT, October 31, 2016:

The search continues for a plane and pilot, missing since Friday, in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. 55-year-old David McRae, of Anchorage, was en route from Lake Hood to a lodge on Lake Clark when his single engine Pilatus Porter apparently went down. After a weekend of poor weather that hampered search efforts, National Park spokesperson John Quinley says a helicopter crew was able to begin a better effort this morning.

“Today the reports are that visibility is better—seems like fewer clouds, less cloud cover,” says Quinley. “I think there’s some optimism that this might give the Alaska National Guard helicopter crew the window they need to get in into the elevation 5000 foot area and really be able to give a thorough search.”

The C-130 aircraft that rescue crews were using this weekend in addition to the helicopter is grounded today for maintenance.

McRae’s emergency locator transmitter went off Friday but did not transmit full coordinates. The last known location was at 5000 feet in an area of rugged, mountainous terrain.

“Merrill Pass is one of a handful of passes that allow smaller aircraft to get from the Cook Inlet side to the West side of those mountains,” Quinley says, “And the search area is south of South of Merrill Pass and toward Telaquana Lake. And it’s just been a foul weather weekend for trying to run a search.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, but Clint Johnson, NTSB’s Alaska chief, says that rescue efforts take precedence right now.

“Our hopes are that we find this airplane, hopefully within the next couple of days or as soon as possible.”

McRae is believed to have been the only person on board the plane. The Alaska Dispatch News reported he was flying a load of fuel to his aunt, former Alaska first lady Bella Hammond.


ANCHORAGE –   Low clouds continue to hamper efforts to find a pilot whose plane went missing in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

David McRae, 55, intended to fly from Anchorage to a family members homestead near Lake Clark on Friday. But he never arrived and his emergency location transmitter activated, initiating a days-long search in the park. His plane is believed to be at around 5,000 feet in elevation in steep, rugged terrain of the Neocola Mountains.

Parks Service officials say they’re refining the exact location of the transmitter so the Alaska Air National Guard rescue crew only needs a narrow window to get to it. They are staying in the area, hoping the clouds break.

On Monday, NTSB aviation accident investigator Noreen Price said the rescue crew believe they had gotten with a few miles of the plane’s location, but the weather prevented them from finding McRae.

Some of the rescue crew have medical training and are equipped to handle emergency treatment once they find McRae.

“Friends and family say that he is a very tough man who had survival gear on the air craft and certainly is capable of a survival scenario,” Price said. “So we are hoping for the best.”


ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The search for a missing Bush pilot and Bristol Bay commercial fisherman continued into its fourth day on Monday with weather continuing to be a challenge.

David McRae, 55, has been missing since Friday evening. He’s the nephew of former Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond and his widow Bella, who lives at the family’s homestead at Lake Clark.

McRae left Anchorage’s Lake Hood on Friday afternoon, piloting a single-engine Pilatus Porter equipped with a load of fuel for Bella Hammond.

“He’s probably Bella’s primary help as far as fuel and fixing things. He’s a major part of the reason Bella is able to live at their home on Lake Clark,” said Rick Halford, a former Alaska Senate president, Bush pilot, and family friend.

With several decades of flying experience under his belt, McRae is a competent and skilled aviator, Halford said.

The route he was flying through the Alaska Range is marked by steep, rugged mountains. The Alaska National Guard described the weather and visibility on Friday evening as “very poor.”

“There are a lot of places on that route if you run into something, like lousy weather, you might need to put down on a glacier. We’re hoping he’s in the airplane waiting for the arrival of someone to pick him up,” Halford said on Monday morning.

The Rescue Coordination Center received a distress signal from an emergency locator transmitter at about 6:30 p.m. on Friday. The coordinates did not immediately transmit. Controllers used registration information logged with the transmitter to make phone calls to numbers that were registered with McRae’s family at Lake Clark Lodge.

A HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter and aircrew left Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson at 10:25 p.m. It had to turn around due to poor weather.

Search and rescue efforts continued at first light on Saturday but challenging weather, poor visibility and terrain continued to hamper the mission, according to the National Guard. Rescuers are focusing on an area between Merrill Pass and Telaquana Lake, in the northern part of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, about an hour’s flight west from Anchorage.

Weather reports for the search area on Monday indicate variable clouds with snow showers. Lt. Col. Candice Olmstead said challenging weather on Monday continued to prevent the search crew from pinpointing the plane.

“They really need a break in the weather,” said Glen Alsworth, owner of Lake Clark Air.

Alsworth described the missing pilot as a “gentle-spirited guy” who was “very helpful and humble.”

McRae, who was single, commercially fished the waters of Bristol Bay during summers, according to Alsworth and published accounts. He lived in Anchorage, Seattle, and at Lake Clark Lodge.

He was a co-owner of Fly Denali for awhile and flew clients for a few months.

But he liked to keep his own schedule.

“Being a full-time pilot didn’t fit with his lifestyle,” said Fly Denali’s founder Jim Trumbull.

Reached by phone at the family’s Lake Clark homestead, Heidi Hammond, daughter of Jay and Bella Hammond, said the family was not up for commenting.

“They are obviously very worried,” said Halford.

He said the Hammond family remains hopeful that McRae is still alive.

“We all have a very high level of faith in David’s ability.”


ANCHORAGE – Last updated at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31

The search continues for a pilot and their plane that went missing Friday evening in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The pilot has been identified as 55-year-old David McRae, of Anchorage.

An aircraft 406 beacon was activated and received by the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) around 6:30 p.m., according to a statement from Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Air National Guard. The coordinates were not immediately transmitted, making it more difficult to determine the area where the plane might have gone missing. 

RCC controllers identified the beacon’s origins to a Pilatus Porter turbo prop aircraft, and called phone numbers associated with its registration information, Olmstead explained.

“They were able to reach a family member at approximately 7:30 p.m. who was presently at Lake Clark Lodge,” she wrote. 

McRae’s family stated he left Lake Hood in Anchorage Friday afternoon to deliver fuel to another family member’s homestead on Lake Clark, but never arrived, according to Megan Richotte, the acting superintendent for the park.

Around that time, the coordinates for the beacon came through to the RCC, allowing rescue coordinators to identify a 10- to 25-mile area between Merrill Pass and Telaquana Lake to search, somewhere in the steep Neocola Mountains.

“Merrill Pass is one of two main passes from Anchorage to southwest Alaska, Lake Clark Pass being the other one,” Richotte explained. “Our understanding is that Lake Clark Pass was his original destination or route to get to Lake Clark, but for some reason he tried to go through Merrill Pass instead. The weather was iffy on that day so it may have been a weather-related decision.”

The RCC reached out to the National Park Service to alert them to McRae’s last known location, and offered to assist with rescue efforts. NPS spokesman John Quinley said the Alaska Air National Guard has conducted the by-air search, as NPS aircraft were not suited for the weather in the area.

Olmstead said that weather caused low visibility Friday and Saturday, further hampering efforts to find McRae. She said an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and aircrew from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th Rescue Squadron, along with two pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron, left Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson around 10:30 p.m. to begin actively searching for the plane. 

“The team encountered poor weather in Merrill Pass, approximately 90 miles west of Anchorage,” she wrote. “They attempted two times over the evening hours to reach the site but were turned around due to poor visibility and weather. They returned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, arriving at midnight, with plans to resume the search Saturday morning at first light.”

A low cloud ceiling, snow and very poor visibility on Saturday continued to inhibit the search team, which was looking in an area of steep, rugged terrain, according to Olmstead. An HC-130 King aircraft from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 211th Rescue Squadron joined the search at approximately 1 p.m. Saturday, and helped refuel the helicopter.

Quinley said McRae’s plane was believed to be in an area about 5,000 feet high. While some peaks in the area were visible above 5,000 feet, he said fog and local weather conditions were “sketchy” on Sunday, but he was hopeful the team would find a window with better visibility as the weather clears up.

On Monday, the weather had cleared by a small amount, but not enough for search teams to locate the plane, according to NTSB aviation accident investigator Noreen Price.

“Weather is still obscuring the area of the [emergency location transmitter] location,” Price said. “And they are not able to get on scene right now. They believe they are three miles out but are just waiting for weather to clear.”

McRae is believed to be the only person on board the missing plane Quinley said. McRae is the nephew of former Alaska first lady Bella Hammond and the late Gov. Jay Hammond.

When asked if the beacon could have been activated manually by the pilot, Quinley said the beacon system could be triggered by someone on board the plane, but it could also be activated by a severe impact. He also noted that the Alaska Air National Guard teams searching for McRae included medical personnel equipped to handle emergency treatment in the field.

“Friends and family say that he is a very tough man who had survival gear on the air craft and certainly is capable of a survival scenario,” Price added. “So we are hoping for the best.”

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is located in Southcentral Alaska, west of the Kenai Peninsula and north of Lake Iliamna.


David McRae was doing a routine fuel haul on Friday, flying his bush plane from Anchorage to deliver fuel to his aunt Bella Hammond's homestead on Lake Clark.

He was supposed to arrive in the early evening at the Port Alsworth lodge she and late former Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond built and shared for decades. 

But McRae never made it.

"We think the weather probably caused some kind of problem and he detoured," Hammond said by phone Sunday evening. "But we don't know why and what exactly happened."

For the last two days, searchers have been fighting bad weather as they look for McRae and his airplane in rugged, mountainous terrain in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

McRae had taken off from Lake Hood in his Pilatus Porter turboprop late Friday afternoon, according to the Alaska Air National Guard. He was the only person aboard the plane, said Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska office.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center first received an emergency locator beacon distress signal from McRae around 6:30 p.m. Friday, but the coordinates didn't fully transmit, said Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead of the Alaska Air National Guard. 

It wasn't until an hour later that rescuers were able to determine a 10- to 25-mile radius of the beacon and focus the search on an often-traveled but treacherous area near Lake Clark pass, about 90 miles west of Anchorage.

On Saturday and Sunday Alaska Air National Guard helicopter and HC-130 aircraft crews searched the area but were turned back by worsening weather, with low clouds, fog and temperatures just above freezing, according to Olmstead.

As of Sunday night, the search had narrowed to an area between Merrill Pass and Telaquana Lake, said John Quinley of the National Park Service.

The emergency transmitter beacon seems to be coming from an elevation of about 5,000 feet, said Clint Johnson of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Hammond said her nephew often helped out at the homestead.

"He does a lot of work and helps me a lot here," she said.  "He's really proficient in so many ways. He's just a very capable person."

McRae grew up in Williams Lake, British Columbia. He spends time at Lake Clark, in addition to Anchorage and sometimes Seattle, Hammond said.

Karl Johnstone, a retired judge and former Alaska Board of Fisheries chairman, said McRae was flying a route he knew well.

Johnstone described McRae as a cautious pilot who had made the journey from Anchorage to the Lake Clark lodge countless times. 

"He knows the area about as well as anybody," Johnstone said.

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Cessna A185F Skywagon, N124UA: Incident occurred October 30, 2016 near Flying Crown Airport (AK12), Anchorage, Alaska

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03


Date: 30-OCT-16
Time: 21:45:00Z
Regis#: N124UA
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 185
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Alaska


A pilot made a safe but sudden landing in South Anchorage Sunday afternoon.

The pilot, John Kagerer, reported that his engine quit shortly after taking off from Flying Crown Airport, a private runway near the Seward Highway. He was able to find some clear space and landed on some train tracks. Kagerer said his plane was not damaged.

One passenger was on board the plane during the incident, Kagerer said. Neither he nor his passenger was injured.

Kagerer said he has been flying for 35 years and has never had an engine quit on him before.

He said the challenge now is getting a truck or trailer large enough to tow his plane from the scene. He said he stores his plane, a Cessna 185, at Flying Crown.


Brazil Clay County Airport: flying high or wings clipped?

Owen Holmes, 4, helps his grandfather, Ray Jones, check fuel for water in his plane at the Brazil Clay County Airport.

(This is part two of a two-part series about the history and current state of the Brazil Clay County Airport.)

Brazil Clay County Airport Board President Ray Jones says that some people think the local airport is nothing but a bunch of “good ole boys who just sit around drinking beer and coffee on the weekends. But he says that’s absolutely not true.

A lot of people don’t even know that Brazil/Clay County has an airport. Those who are aware have varied opinions about its purpose and usefulness. Some say it’s a waste of taxpayer money and should be closed.

“I don’t want it closed but I really question why my tax dollars are going to support an entity that’s used by such a small amount of people,” Brazil resident Susan Crick said. “I’d really like to understand the benefits to our county.”

The county’s budget for the airport in 2015 was around $49,000. For 2016 it was lowered to $33,500. It’s being cut to about $31,000 for 2017. The airport takes in about $9,000 a year. Their revenue sources are hangar rentals, leasing 18 acres of land to a local farmer and from fuel sales. There are 20 hangar spots; nine are private, 11 are rentals. Of those 11, one rents for $75 a month and the others are $60 a month. Jones said the $9,000 is part of the total annual budget. So, in 2017, if the airport raises $9,000 the county will be providing just $22,000.

Dissenters think the airport is just draining the county of money with no benefits. They wouldn’t care if the airport were closed. Jones says that the Board and other county residents feel that $22,000 is a very small investment and that the airport gives back much more than that to the community. They think it has great value and potential and want it to grow.

When asked how they might increase funds, Jones said they’re having a fly-in and Young Eagle Flights next year. A Fly-In invites pilots from all over to fly in to the airport to visit with other pilots and their families and see other planes. Food is available. The public is invited and it gives them an opportunity to see the airport, how it functions and observe some of the aircraft. Plane rides might be offered.

Young Eagle Flights is a program that offers free rides to kids ages 8 through 17. The airport will have an open house inviting the general public and pilots from other airports for breakfast or lunch.

The airport does provide benefits for the city and county. Several local businesses use the airport to increase their efficiency and cut costs.

Ken Maurer from PDF said, “Many of our business trips would take three days. By using the local airport we can do it all in one day. That saves us a lot of time and money.”

Companies using the airport are Interior Fixtures, Kent Booe Trucking, PDF, Brickcraft and Duke Energy. These companies employ many county residents who spend their money in Clay County which helps maintain the local economy. The cost savings afforded by the airport help in providing some of these jobs.

Indiana State University has used BCCA for training purposes. Occasionally the military has used it; a couple Blackhawks have landed there. And it’s been used for emergency landings. A lot of crop dusting originates from this airport with the local Ceres Solutions delivering the needed fuel and chemicals. Again, this helps keeps local money in the community.

Air Evac Life Team is located at the Brazil Clay County Airport. They came here in 2004. Program Director Lori Mayle said a big part of the reason Air Evac located in Brazil was because of the airport. Air Evac goes to small towns where air medical service is limited. Local airports are a drawing card because they provide safe in and out air traffic.

Potential uses of the airport are limitless. Kip Clark, a Clay County resident and Airport Board member said, “We as a community need to embrace our airport. It’s a potential crown jewel of our county. It supports local industry which utilizes it for their operations. And we have not fully utilized its economic and educational capabilities.”

Clark, who is a pilot and Commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing, said his interest in aviation was piqued when he was eight or nine years old and someone took him for an airplane ride at the Brazil Airport. He thinks many of today’s youth are unaware of the existing opportunities and careers available coming from the monstrous growth taking place in the field of aviation.

He believes the drone industry and unmanned systems will grow dramatically in the next few years. Clark would like to see an aviation class offered at the county high schools to give kids a chance to see what’s out there.

Dr. Tim Rayle, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction for Clay Community Schools, says that could be a possibility. Rayle had plans to talk with ISU in October and maybe later with Ivy Tech Community College about the possibility of classes for aviation and unmanned systems. When asked why he didn’t talk to the BCCA Board about this he said he had talked to them in the past, several years ago, and there appeared to be no interest from the students.

Clark says that students can’t get interested in something they don’t know exists. He wants to make contact with Dr. Rayle soon and hopes they can work together on this.

Most of the County Council members want to keep the airport open. But they would like to see it become self-supporting. Jones said if they could get enough money to asphalt the tarmac, about $25,000, and seal coat the runway and repaint the lines, about $19,500, there’s a possibility the airport could then become self-sufficient.

County Council President Larry Moss does not want the airport closed. “I’m not in favor of shutting it down,” he said. “We need to get it operating at a reasonable budget. We’ve got to figure out what we’re going to do long term. I’m an optimist and hope we can keep it open.”

County Councilwoman Toni Carter said, “Most of my constituents that have talked to me about this issue feel like the airport only supports a small group of people and it’s not really a big benefit to the county. It’s all about the funding,” Carter continued. “If they can be self-sufficient that’s great. If they can’t then the county needs to make some decisions.”

The BCCA Board definitely wants it to remain open. They believe it’s a tremendous asset to the county and they’re working very hard to keep it active and viable.

“There’s an old saying,” Jones said. “When a pilot loses his license it’s like losing his dog, and close to losing his wife. I’m not making light of the situation,” he continued. “I really think if Clay County lost this airport it would be like clipping the wings of the community.”

Board member Carl Trout said “One mile of road takes you a mile. A mile of runway can take you anywhere in the world.”


Woman jumps Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport fence

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) A woman jumped over the outer fence at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Saturday afternoon according to Director of Marketing and Air Service Development Brad Boettcher.

A woman got over the outer fence near the FedEx truck facility off Thirlane Road in Roanoke. She approached the ramp area by the terminal and was identified by grounds crew staff as a trespasser.

The woman was taken into custody without incident. She did not have any weapons on her. Trespassing charges are pending.

Airport police are investigating.


Private-Jet Forecast Cut by 600 Planes as Slow Growth Zaps Sales

  • About 8,600 planes are expected to be delivered through 2026
  • Sales of new aircraft to total $255 billion, Honeywell says

Business-jet deliveries are dropping and won’t rebound before 2018, according to a benchmark forecast of corporate aircraft demand over the next decade.

Honeywell International Inc. lowered its annual long-term forecast for private jets by 7 percent, or 600 aircraft, as emerging markets suffer from low commodity prices and the U.S. economy limps along at a slow pace.

As many as 8,600 new planes are expected to be delivered from 2016 through 2026, down from 9,200 in last year’s outlook, according to a survey of more than 1,500 business-jet operators worldwide. Sales of those aircraft are estimated at $255 billion, down from $270 billion in the previous study.

“We have a fair amount of uncertainty and instability in the economy and political environment around the world right now,” said Charles Park, director of market analysis at Honeywell’s aerospace unit.

The number of used jets for sale that are less than five years old has increased and prices continue to drop, which drags on demand for new aircraft, Park said. The introduction of new models from manufacturers such as Gulfstream and Bombardier Inc. in 2018 should stimulate sales, he said.

Cutting Back

Those planemakers have announced production cuts for some models that eventually will help stem supply in the market and reduce the drop in used-jet prices, said Shawn Vick, chairman of Global Jet Capital, which finances aircraft purchases and is backed by Blackstone Group, Franklin Square Capital Partners and the Carlyle Group. Although it will take time for the lower output to affect the market, Vick said he’s starting to see some pockets of “value stabilization.”

“We’re clearly in an environment where there has been oversupply,” said Vick, whose company agreed last year to buy General Electric Co.’s corporate-jet-financing business and expects to underwrite $500 million of aircraft purchases this year. “It’s the right course of action.”

Over the next five years, North America is expected to garner 65 percent of jet purchases, up from 61 percent in last year’s survey, while Europe’s share is set to remain unchanged at 14 percent, Honeywell said. Asia’s share will increase to as much as 6 percent from 4 percent and the Middle East will be less than 4 percent, falling short of its historical range of 4 percent to 7 percent.

Latin America’s estimated share over the next five years will fall to 12 percent from 18 percent last year as sales cool in Mexico and Venezuela, Park said. Pent-up demand in Brazil will boost purchases in that country over the period, Park said.

2018 Rebound

Worldwide business-jet deliveries will decline to 645 this year and to 625 next year before rebounding back to 645 in 2018, according to a report by Seth Seifman, an analyst with JPMorgan Chase & Co. Deliveries had increased in 2014 to 689 and remained the same last year. They hit an all-time high of 1,136 in 2008.

Not everyone sees gloom in the private-jet market. Business for Directional Aviation, which owns the fractional operator Flexjet, is up about 15 percent from last year and profit will increase more than that.

“People are flying,” said Kenn Ricci, principal of Directional. “Excuse me for not commiserating with my manufacturer friends, but that helps us because we get better deals on airplanes.”

Flexjet increased its order for Bombardier Challenger 350s to 40 last year. A year earlier, the company agreed to purchase 50 Gulfstream jets manufactured by General Dynamics Corp., including a G650 that will be delivered this year. It also is taking deliveries of Legacy 450s made by Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA.

In the end, it will take faster economic growth to rev up sales of new business jets. The need for flying privately increases when companies are growing quickly and executives must travel to multiple cities in a hurry, Vick said.

“People are going to be very, very certain that marketplaces are there before they double-down and expand rapidly,” Vick said. “That’s the mode that everybody is in and I think it’s appropriate.”


Rise of private-jet ride sharing crimps new aircraft orders

Thanks to new technology, flying in a private jet is no longer just for business titans and the super-wealthy.

But in a paradox, that means aircraft manufacturers like Cessna and Bombardier are selling fewer planes.

The general aviation industry is undergoing a major shakeup as new business models attempt to match idle aircraft with passengers, many of whom now can’t afford their own plane. Membership companies, ride-sharing programs, on-demand charter providers and start-ups claiming to be the Uber of private aviation are all looking to introduce more people to the convenience of flying without the hassle of commercial airports.

“Unfortunately for airplane manufacturers, these new programs aren’t out buying a lot of new jets,” said Brian Foley, a business-aircraft consultant who spent 20 years as director of marketing for the North American jet unit of France’s Dassault Aviation. “They’re just trying to use existing assets out there and get more utilization out of those parked airplanes.”

Manufacturers have throttled back production of some models to adjust to weaker demand for private aircraft. New jet deliveries are expected to drop 6.4 percent this year to 645 and slip another 3.7 percent to 625 next year, according to JPMorgan Chase.

Those declines contrast with an increase of more than 5 percent for flight hours for the charter market in the October-to-September period for the past three years, according to Argus International.

The increase in charter activity is partly because of the new options that have opened up the market beyond super-wealthy customers, said Brad Stewart, chief executive officer of XOJet, which operates a fleet of 41 preowned aircraft for hire.

“The democratization of private aviation is a huge theme, and it’s here to stay,” he said. “That’s really taking an access point of private aviation and bringing it from the top 10 percent of the 1 percent down to the merely rich.”

XOJet has partnered with JetSmarter, a company that charges members an annual fee with no extra cost if they hitch a ride on a private plane already scheduled by another member. JetSmarter, which owns no planes, buys flight hours from XOJet and other operators, which enables it to guarantee flights for its users. The upshot is more passengers on the same number of private planes.

It costs about $12,000 to charter a small, four-seat jet from New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport to Miami Executive Airport on a weekday, according to PrivateFly, a flight-search website. By contrast, a JetSmarter member would pay $2,000 to book a seat on a business jet at a time of choice. However, there’s no charge to hitch a ride on a flight already booked by another member. A membership costs $15,000 for the first year.

When business jets first appeared with the Lockheed JetStar in the late 1950s, the only way to fly in a private plane was to own one. Charter operators began to pop up to manage those jets and to offer flights to non-owners.

The 1990s brought a major industry change with the fractional jet model, now dominated by Warren Buffett’s NetJets Inc. Fractional operators sell shares of new planes to several owners in exchange for the right to fly a set amount of hours per year. That model was a boon to the industry because it was based on new jets.

NetJets and Flexjet, the second-largest fractional operator, are still two of the industry’s largest plane buyers. NetJets in 2012 announced the purchase of as many as 425 Cessna and Bombardier aircraft in a transaction valued at $9.6 billion. Last year, Flexjet increased its order of Bombardier Challenger 350s to 40 after agreeing to purchase 50 Gulfstream jets in 2014.

It’s too soon to say private aviation is undergoing a permanent change with the new technology-driven models, said Kenn Ricci, principal of Directional Aviation, which owns Flexjet. With low interest rates and private equity chasing returns, a lot of new business models are being funded that had been put on hold because of the recession.

“Maybe a new idea comes up and maybe it sticks,” Ricci said. “I just think it’s too early to tell.”

During the recession that ended in 2009, plane values plummeted and many fractional owners were disappointed to find they didn’t have as much equity left when trying to upgrade their share to a new plane or cash out, Foley said. Many fractional operators sold or went bust.

“Since then, there’s been a virtual explosion of models out there,” he said. “One thing that helped this along is the digital age where we can pull up things on our smartphones and laptops.”

Wheels Up, founded by industry veteran Kenny Dichter, is gaining passengers with a membership model that offers guaranteed availability of planes at reduced rates. The company operates its own fleet of preowned Cessna Excel/XLS jets and newly purchased King Air 350i, which are turboprop aircraft.

Planemakers say the new models may actually help the industry. Even though many of the programs aren’t translating into new jet aircraft orders now, they’re introducing people to the efficiency of flying privately who may become future customers, said Scott Ernest, CEO of Cessna, a unit of Textron Inc.

“It’s good for us,” Ernest said. “I actually look at it as a way to bring new customers into the market.”

There’s debate about how much the ability to use apps to reserve private flights will change the industry. Stellar Labs Inc. is offering an automated marketplace that’s seeking to eliminate the need for plane brokers by letting customers book a flight directly. The service promises hundreds of private aircraft options in seconds “with incredible accuracy.”

Stellar Labs CEO Paul Touw has compared the current inefficiencies of reserving a private flight with commercial aviation in the 1970s, before a booking system was established that allows airline customers to make and pay for their own reservations directly.

But Sergey Petrossov, the founder and CEO of JetSmarter, doesn’t see an airline-like reservation system taking off in the private-jet market. Customers will choose brands that make it easy to book a flight while having the backing of a company that takes the risk of providing quality planes and crews — whether from their own fleets or purchased hours, he said.

“By giving consumers more options, we keep them in the private aviation ecosystem and keep them away from the dreaded commercial airport,” he said. “That’s what this is really all about.” 


Sheriff: Airport hangars used to process marijuana in California

SAN ANDREAS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in a rural Northern California county say more charges are possible after sheriff's deputies raided old airport hangars that were being used for an illegal marijuana processing operation.

The Calaveras County Sheriff's office says it took more than 30 people into custody and seized 2 and ½ tons of marijuana during Thursday's raid in San Andreas.

Several of the suspects acknowledged they were in the country illegally. Sheriff's officials say most were charged with conspiracy to cultivate, transport and process marijuana.

Source:   http://www.appeal-democrat.coml

Sunday, October 30, 2016

National Airlines plane grounded at St. John's airport, application to seize filed with court: Airport alleges company owes fees, airline terminating service in January

National Airlines N176CA sits on the tarmac at St. John's International Airport after an application for seizure was filed with the Supreme Court and future flights were cancelled. The airport is accusing National of not paying fees. 

A National Airlines plane landed in St. John's at 6:28 p.m. on Friday, inbound from Orlando. The scheduled return flight to Florida was cancelled, with passengers unable to rebook on the discount airline.

By Sunday afternoon, a notice on the airline's website stated: "We regret to inform you that we are cancelling several flights in November and December and have decided to not extend our service to St. John's beyond January 6, 2017." 

The St. John's Airport Authority has filed an application to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador under Section 9(2) of the Airport Transfer Act.

The section pertains to unpaid fees from an airline to an airport. It allows airport officials to file an application to seize an aircraft if they have reason to believe the plane or the person liable for the unpaid fees will leave Canada. It also allows a judge to make an ex parte ruling — a decision without a defence being present.

The application is scheduled to be heard Monday at 10 a.m. 

Passengers were upset with the cancellation and were told by the airline it was due to a "paperwork issue," a source told CBC. The source said airport authorities seized the plane due to unpaid fees. 

Calls to St. John's International Airport management National Airlines and Provincial Airlines were not returned.

National holds a partnership with Provincial Airlines, operating weekly flights to Orlando since January. The airline flies out of St. John's, Windsor, Ont., Orlando and San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Cessna 172 Skyhawk, N6353E: Fatal accident occurred October 29, 2016 in Palmer, Alaska 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: ANC17FA003
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2016 in Palmer, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N6353E
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 29, 2016, about 1445 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N6353E, sustained substantial damage after impacting terrain following a loss of control after takeoff from a remote, gravel-covered site adjacent to the Knik River, about 12 miles southeast of Palmer, Alaska. The sole occupant, the student pilot, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to the student pilot, and was operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Wasilla Airport, at an unknown time. 

According to various witnesses near the accident site, they observed the accident airplane flying in the Knik River valley. The witnesses reported that the airplane did a touch-and-go landing on the gravel bar, and just after a southeasterly takeoff, as it climbed to 100 feet above ground level (agl), it turned to the left. During the left turn, the wings of the airplane rolled perpendicular to the ground, and it descended, nose low, before colliding with the gravel-covered site. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage.

The witnesses reported gusty southeasterly wind conditions at the time of the accident, estimated between 20 and 25 knots. 

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) air safety investigator and the Alaska State Troopers traveled to the accident scene on October 29 via helicopter. The NTSB investigator-in-charge and a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector traveled to the accident scene on October 30 via helicopter. The wreckage was located in an area of flat, gravel-covered terrain north of the Knik River, with heavy vegetation to the north of the wreckage site. The wreckage was recovered and transported to a secure facility for future examination of the airframe and engine.

The closest official weather observation station is located at the Palmer Airport, about 13 miles to the northwest of the accident site. At 1453, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, and stated in part: Wind 340 degrees (true) at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, few clouds at 6,000 feet, overcast at 8,000 feet; temperature 39 degrees F; dew point 25 degrees F; altimeter 29.72 inHg.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 


Last updated at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30

A Wasilla man is dead after the plane he was flying crashed on a dry river bed near Palmer on Saturday.

The crash was reported to Alaska State Troopers at 2:48 p.m. where the Friday Creek meets the Knik River, according to an online dispatch.

Ray Justen, 25, was the pilot and only person on board, according to troopers.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Clint Johnson said the pilot’s brother was at the scene with a few other people and described the crash.

“[He] indicated that the airplane touched down on a gravel-covered surface, took off again, had a fairly steep climb,” Johnson said. “There were wind conditions, maybe 15-20 knot winds at the time, gusty winds, and what he was able to explain to me was a loss of control, or a stall. Unfortunately the plane descended nose-first and ultimately impacted the riverbank.”

When a LifeMed helicopter from Wolf Lake responded around 3:17 p.m., Justen was dead, according to troopers. Johnson said Justen’s brother and those with him attempted life-saving measures, which were unsuccessful.

Johnson flew out to the scene with troopers to examine the crash site. The dispatch noted the aircraft, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, had sustained significant damage during the crash.

Justen’s body was recovered from the wreckage and taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage. His next of kin have been notified of his death.

The NTSB is continuing to investigate the crash. Johnson said a helicopter would remove the wreckage from the scene and take it back to a hangar for a more in-depth look at the plane.


A 25-year-old man was killed when the small plane he was piloting crashed into a Knik River gravel bar Saturday, according to Alaska State Troopers and federal investigators.

In an online dispatch, troopers said they were alerted to the crash at 2:48 p.m. Saturday. A LifeMed helicopter responded to the scene in a remote area of the Knik River close to Friday Creek, southeast of Butte.

Ray Justen of Wasilla was the pilot and sole occupant of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft, troopers said. He died at the scene.

"Witnesses said this airplane came in, made a touch-and-go on a gravel bar and during a fairly steep climb out there was an aerodynamic stall," said Alaska National Transportation Safety Board chief Clint Johnson, who traveled to the scene via trooper helicopter Saturday. "The airplane descended nose-first and struck the gravel bar."

Friends and family traveled to the scene on ATVs, Johnson said. Winds in the area were gusty at the time of the crash.

Justen's body has been transferred to the  state medical examiner. The NTSB continues to investigate the crash.


BUTTE / KTUU One man is dead after a Cessna 172 Skyhawk crashed in the Knik River Valley.

The first report of a downed plane near Friday Creek and Knik River came in just before 3 p.m. Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Alaska State Troopers arrived on scene about 30 minutes later, finding the sole occupant of the plane, 25-year old Ray Justen of Wasilla dead on arrival.

Troopers say Justen's body was recovered and airlifted to the State Medical Examiners office.

According to Jason Sharlow and Don Umbarger, they were flagged down by a woman while driving their 4-wheelers. The two men were taken to the plane and proceeded to pull out the pilot who they say, after checking his vitals, was dead.

Sharlow and Umbarger told KTUU reporter Patrick Enslow that the pilots brother and friends were 4-wheeling and watching the plane fly around all day before it crashed, confirming only the pilot was on board at the time of the incident.

NTSB officials began their investigation into the cause of the crash Saturday afternoon, they say weather permitting, the investigation will continue Sunday.


On 10/29/2016 at approximately 1448 hours, the Alaska State Troopers were advised of an aircraft crash at Friday Creek and the Knik River within the Palmer area.  AST was advised Ray Justen (25 yoa of Wasilla) had been the pilot and sole occupant.  A LifeMed helicopter responded from Wolf Lake and arrived on scene at approximately 1517 hours.  Justen was found to be deceased upon their arrival.  An Alaska State Trooper along with an NTSB investigator responded to the scene by means of an AST helicopter.  The Cessna 172 aircraft had significant damage.  NTSB is investigating the incident. The body was recovered and turned over to the State Medical Examiner's office in Anchorage. Next of kin has been notified.