Friday, November 2, 2018

Piper PA-12, N3227M: Accident occurred November 01, 2018 near Willow Airport (PAUO), Alaska

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wasilla, Alaska
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Willow, AK
Accident Number: ANC19LA005
Date & Time: 11/01/2018, 1700 AKD
Registration: N3227M
Aircraft: Piper PA 12
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 1, 2018, about 1700 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-12 airplane, N3227M, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing, about 8 miles northwest of Willow Airport (PAUO) near Willow, Alaska. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 visual flight rules flight when the accident occurred. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local area flight. The flight had departed a private airstrip located about 1 mile east of the accident location about 1659.

According to the pilot, just after departure and during the initial climb, all engine power ceased. When the loss of power occurred, it was accompanied by "three pops like a backfire." He then switched from operating on the left fuel tank to the right fuel tank and turned on carburetor heat, but the engine failed to respond. Faced with the decision to land in a river or trees, the pilot selected the trees. During the forced landing, the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

A friend of the pilot stated that this was the first flight following engine maintenance. They had been troubleshooting engine events, to include excessive magneto drops and a cold cylinder. The Fine Wire spark plugs had just been reinstalled following removal and cleaning utilizing a blasting technique. Believing the issues were resolved, the pilot was departing for a local flight when the accident occurred.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. A detailed engine examination is pending.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3227M
Model/Series: PA 12 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: PAWS, 354 ft msl
Observation Time: 1656 AKD
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -7°C / -11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.74 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Willow, AK (UUO)
Destination: Willow, AK (UUO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 61.859444, -150.126111 (est)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued a pilot of a Piper PA-12 November 1st on a sandbar of the Susitna River parallel to Mile 79 of the Parks Highway after the plane crashed.

According to Alaska Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Jeremy Rhodes, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, the mission was opened after a pilot of another aircraft spotted the wreckage and called in its location to local authorities. The Alaska State Troopers contacted the AK RCC.

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th RQS launched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Aboard the helicopter were two highly trained 212th RQS pararescuemen who specialize in rescue operations.

According to Rhodes, the HH-60 aircrew found the wreckage using the coordinates provided by the pilot who spotted the downed PA-12.

According to Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. Cody Inman, a 212th RQS pararescueman who participated in the mission, the HH-60 hoisted the pararescuemen onto the sandbar at an altitude of 120 feet to avoid excessive rotor wash. They then used crash axes to extricate the pilot, listed in critical condition, from the wreckage.

The pararescuemen packaged the pilot on a Stokes litter and fitted a cervical collar.

The injured pilot was flown to the Providence Alaska Medical Center for further care. During the flight, AK RCC relayed the condition of the injured pilot to Providence to ensure medical providers were ready to give effective care.

Original article can be found here ➤

Rescue crews have pulled a pilot from a crash site between two branches of the Susitna River. He was flown to Providence Hospital according to Air Guard spokesman David Bedard.

The pararescuemen that cut him from the plane said at the time they believed he was in critical condition. They put a neck brace on him and hoisted him into a plane on a litter.

"All we know right now, is the plane took off from Willow airport, tried to turn around and return and didn't make it," said Ken Barkley, Fire Deputy Director with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough emergency services department. 

The type of airplane is unknown at this time. Barkley believes the pilot was the only person on board and may be trapped in the aircraft. Barkley says the pilot's friend called 911 and the borough began sending rescue crews to mile 79 of the Parks Highway.

The Willow Fire Department, dive team and the rescue coordination center are attempting a rescue. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has also launched a Pave Hawk helicopter with paratroopers with 210th Rescue Squadron, according to David Bedard, a public affairs representative with the 176th wing at JBER.

According to Bedard, another plane spotted the wreckage and called 911. Bedard said the plane is believed to be a Piper PA-12.

Original article can be found here ➤

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