Saturday, February 10, 2018

Cessna 180, N9455C: Accident occurred August 01, 2017 in Puntilla, Alaska

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

Aviation Accident Final Report
- National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Puntilla, AK
Accident Number: GAA17CA473
Date & Time: 08/01/2017, 1900 AKD
Registration: N9455C
Aircraft: CESSNA 180
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

According to the pilot, he made two passes over a dry creek bed to assess a potential landing site. The second pass was accomplished up creek into rising terrain. The airplane was configured with full power, with flaps at 20° and flying about 50ft AGL and 80 MPH.

The pilot reported that the airplane encountered a downdraft as the airplane transitioned from overflying the trees, to overflying the creek bed, which he attempted to correct, but the airplane aerodynamically stalled.

Following the stall, the pilot attempted to land on a dry creek bed. The airplane touched down on the creek bed, then bounced and descended into a "dry cut channel". The airplane came to rest nose down and the airplane in a near vertical position. The airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board's, Pilot Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot reported that the event could have been avoided by making the low pass along descending terrain at a higher airspeed.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The airplane's encounter with a downdraft while maneuvering at a low altitude, which resulted in the exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack and a subsequent aerodynamic stall.


Angle of attack - Capability exceeded (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Downdraft - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying
Other weather encounter

Aerodynamic stall/spin
Off-field or emergency landing
Loss of control on ground (Defining event)

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 26, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/25/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/03/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 305 hours (Total, all aircraft), 70 hours (Total, this make and model), 277 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 55 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N9455C
Model/Series: 180 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1955
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 31853
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/03/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2883 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-470J
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 225 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPTI, 1858 ft msl
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 39°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Ceiling:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Wasilla, AK (PAWS)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1745 AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  61.923611, -153.023611 (est)

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