Saturday, February 02, 2019

Landing Gear Collapse: Piper PA-18A, N8170C; accident occurred January 27, 2019 in McGrath, Alaska

View of left wing damage. 
Federal Aviation Administration 

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

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: McGrath, AK

Accident Number: GAA19CA132
Date & Time: 01/27/2019, 1500 AKS
Registration: N8170C
Aircraft: Piper PA 18A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear collapse
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot of the ski-equipped airplane reported that, while landing off-airport on a snow-covered field, he side-loaded the landing gear on the left side against a large "tussock" hidden by the snow. The left landing gear folded under the airplane, which caused the left wingtip to drop into the snow and impact a snow-covered tussock.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions 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 pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain for landing, which resulted in the landing gear collapsing.


Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)
Monitoring environment - Pilot

Environmental issues
Snow/slush/ice covered surface - Decision related to condition (Cause)
Snow/slush/ice covered surface - Effect on equipment
Object/animal/substance - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing gear collapse (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 44, 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: 07/18/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/16/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 8800 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7600 hours (Total, this make and model), 8780 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 66 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 32 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N8170C
Model/Series: PA 18A 135
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1954
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18-3626
Landing Gear Type: Ski; Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/07/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 415 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320 A2B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 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: PAMC, 338 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 26 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 294°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:  Overcast / 11000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 130°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mcgrath, AK (MCG)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Mcgrath, AK (MCG)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1100 AKS
Type of Airspace: Class G 

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: 62.786111, -154.753611 (est)

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