Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ski-equipped Piper PA-11, N5028H: Fatal accident occurred December 15, 2016 in Aniak, Alaska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 


Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N5028H 

NTSB Identification: ANC17FA012
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 15, 2016 in Aniak, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/13/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA 11, registration: N5028H
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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.

The private pilot and a passenger departed on a flight to an airstrip about 40 nautical miles away. When they failed to return as scheduled, family members notified law enforcement, and the wreckage was subsequently located in an area of snow-covered, rising terrain. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. 

Following a death investigation, the State Medical Examiner classified the manner of death as a suicide.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's intentional flight of the airplane into terrain in an act of suicide.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 15, 2016 about 1500 Alaska standard time, a ski-equipped Piper PA-11 airplane, N5028H, sustained substantial damage following impact with rising snow-covered terrain about 40 miles south of Aniak, Alaska. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 at the time of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was on file. The flight departed Aniak Airport (PANI), about 1400, and was destined for an off-airport ski strip about 40 miles south of Aniak near Marvel Creek.

On December 16, Alaska State Troopers were notified by family members that the airplane did not return as scheduled. The wreckage was located on the southwest side of Marvel Dome at an elevation about 2,000 feet above ground level (agl). 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 62, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent third class Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate was issued on March 26, 2015, with a limitation that he must have glasses available for near vision. 

No personal logbooks were located for the pilot. He reported on his last medical certificate application 4,500 hours of total flight experience, with 100 hours in the previous six months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1949 and equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. No airframe or engine logbooks were located for the accident airplane.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1456 weather observation at PANI included wind from 110° degrees at 07 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; clear skies; temperature 30°F; dew point, 30°F; and an altimeter setting of 30.07 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On December 17, the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) and an Alaska State Trooper, arrived at the accident site about 1400 AST. The airplane impacted the southwest side of Marvel Dome in a near wings-level attitude and came to rest inverted, about 20 ft uphill from the first piece of noticeable debris. Due to recent snowfall, no ground scars were visible. The propeller was separated from the engine at the propeller flange and located uphill about 80 ft. The engine was fractured in several places, consistent with impact damage. The remainder of the wreckage was contained at a single location, with the fuselage coming to rest on top of the left wing.

The rudder and elevator primary flight control cables were continuous from the cockpit controls to each respective flight control surface. Aileron control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit controls to each aileron. 

No mechanical malfunctions or anomalies were found that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination was conducted under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, AK. The cause of death for the pilot was multiple blunt force injuries, with the manner of death classified as a suicide.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. Testing was negative for ethanol, drugs and carbon monoxide.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

An incident report from the Alaska State Troopers lists the pilot's death as a suicide under the heading of Incident Activities/Offenses. 

Cecilia Matters and Mark Matters, showing off after a successful fishing trip. What love looks like.


Mark Matters, his fish and his plane.


Mark Matters, 62, surveys the area around his plane. Matters and his 63-year-old wife, Cecelia, both of Aniak, died in a plane crash.



NTSB Identification: ANC17FA012
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 15, 2016 in Aniak, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA 11, registration: N5028H
Injuries: 2 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 December 16, a phone call was received by the Alaska State Troopers from concerned family members stating the airplane had departed from Aniak about 1400 on December 15 for a flight to Marvel Creek and failed to return. Concerned, they departed Aniak in another airplane on December 16 to search for the overdue airplane. They located the wreckage on the southwest side of Marvel Dome at an elevation of about 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL) and observed no signs of life from the wreckage.

On December 17, the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) along with an Alaska State Trooper, arrived at the accident site about 1400 AST. The airplane impacted the southwest side of Marvel Dome in a near wings level attitude and came to rest inverted, about 20 feet uphill from the first piece of noticeable debris. Due to recent snowfall, no ground scars were visible. The propeller was separated from the engine at the propeller flange and located uphill about 80 feet. The remainder of the wreckage was contained at a single location with the fuselage coming to rest on top of the left wing.

The closest weather reporting facility was at the Aniak Airport, Aniak, Alaska, about 40 miles north of the accident site. At 1456, a weather observation from the Aniak Airport was reporting, in part: Wind, 110 degrees (true) at 07 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; cloud and sky conditions, clear; temperature, 30 degrees F; dew point, 30 degrees F; altimeter, 30.07inHg.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine.

A detailed engine and airframe exam is pending recovery of the airplane.

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