Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cessna 180K, N2957K, registered to Airframe Innovations Incorporated and operated by Northstar Aero LLC: Accident occurred June 15, 2018 in Kotzebue, Alaska

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

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

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


Location: Kotzebue, AK
Accident Number: ANC18LA046
Date & Time: 06/15/2018, 1542 AKD
Registration: N2957K
Aircraft: CESSNA 180K
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled 

On June 15, 2018, about 1542 Alaska daylight time, a tailwheel-equipped Cessna 180 airplane, N2957K, sustained substantial damage during an impact with sand dunes, following a loss of lift during departure, about 85 miles east of Kotzebue, Alaska. The airplane was registered to Airframe Innovations Incorporated and operated by Northstar Aero LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 visual flight rules flight when the accident occurred. Of the three occupants, the Airline Transport pilot sustained no injuries, one passenger sustained minor injuries, and the remaining passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company flight following procedures were in place. The flight departed the Fairbanks International Airport (PAFA), Fairbanks, Alaska, about 1024.

In a statement provided by the pilot, he wrote that the wind at the top of the sand dunes was estimated to be between 10 and 20 kts. After walking off and inspecting several downhill departure routes, he marked off the most favorable downhill departure into the wind. After loading the passengers, he ensured the BAS shoulder harness system was being worn correctly and began the departure. He described the departure as a typical sand dunes departure with some rocking and bouncing but the airplane accelerated rapidly downhill and into the wind. After lifting off near the bottom of the dune, the airplane started gaining airspeed. As the airspeed neared Vx, the head wind component ceased, and the airplane began losing altitude. In an effort to avoid a sharp wall of hard packed sand, he stated that he turned toward lower terrain that was an estimated 60 sloped wall of sand. He attempted to match the angle of the sloped terrain and executed a full power stall onto the surface in an effort to minimizing cart wheeling and flipping over. The airplane impacted the sand dune, which resulted in substantial damage to the forward fuselage and serious injuries to the passenger seated in the right front seat.

The pilot stated to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge that he credited the lack of more serious injuries to a recently installed BAS, Inc., four-point shoulder harness and lap belt restraint system.

The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N2957K
Model/Series: 180K K
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAOT, 16 ft msl
Observation Time: 2253 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 72 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / -3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots, 330°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.85 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 66.135000, -160.257500 (est)

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