Sunday, February 4, 2018

Piper PA-18-125, N1386A, State of Alaska - Department of Public Safety Alaska Wildlife Troopers: Accident occurred November 29, 2017 near Tatitna, Alaska

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:  

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Nikolai, AK
Accident Number: ANC18CA017
Date & Time: 11/29/2017, 1202 AKS
Registration: N1386A
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18-125
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

The pilot said that he had completed one high and two low reconnaissance flights over the snow-covered runway in his tundra tire-equipped, tailwheel airplane. Prior to landing, he intended to fly a low pass and drag the main landing gear along the surface of the runway to determine the depth of the snow, a maneuver commonly known as dragging the landing site. He said that as the main landing gear wheels touched down atop the frozen layer of crusty snow, the wheels broke through, and the airplane's tail began to rise. In an effort to prevent a nose over, he applied full power, but the airplane subsequently nosed over, sustaining substantial damage to the rudder and both left and right lift struts.

The pilot stated there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

In the recommendation section of the NTSB Accident/Incident Reporting Form 6120.1, the pilot stated that the accident may have been prevented if he would have utilized a flatter approach with increased airspeed similar to a glassy water approach while dragging the airstrip. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 43, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/14/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/14/2017
Flight Time:  8200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7600 hours (Total, this make and model), 7900 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 80 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N1386A
Model/Series: PA 18-125 125
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1951
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18-1219
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/06/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1499 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4321 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: STATE OF ALASKA
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAMC
Observation Time: 2053 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 54 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 330°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: -16°C / -19°C
Lowest Ceiling:  Broken / 10000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 28.98 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: McGrath, AK (PAMC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Anchorage, AK (PALH)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0938 AST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: TATITNA (8KA)
Runway Surface Type: Snow
Airport Elevation: 1490 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Snow
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and Go

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  62.293333, -153.361944 (est)

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