Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Cessna A185F Skywagon, registered to the United States Department of Interior Office of Aviation Services and operated by the National Park Service as a public aircraft operation under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N5163E: Accident occurred April 15, 2019 in Nome, 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; Boise, Idaho

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

https://registry.faa.gov/N5163E

Location: Nome, AK
Accident Number: ANC19TA017
Date & Time: 04/15/2019, 0900 AKD
Registration: N5163E
Aircraft: Cessna A185
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

On April 15, 2019, about 0900 Alaska daylight time, a wheel/ski-equipped Cessna A185F airplane, N5163E, impacted mountainous terrain about 90 miles north of Nome, Alaska. The airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Aviation Services and operated by the National Park Service (NPS) as a public aircraft operation under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) existed at the departure airport, and instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. A visual flight rules (VFR) company flight plan was filed and flight following procedures were in effect. The flight departed the Ralph Wien Memorial Airport (PAOT), Kotzebue, Alaska, about 0814, destined for the Nome Airport (PAOM), Nome.

During an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to relocate from PAOT to PAOM (about 160 nm) to pick up two NPS employees for transport. The pilot reported that he had flown the route from POAT to PAOM many times and was very familiar with the terrain along the route. He recalled that the graphical weather forecast for the area was for marginal VFR, and the forecast for PAOM was 1,900 ft ceilings and 5 statute miles of visibility. While en route, he decided to perform an overflight of the Serpentine Hot Springs area, which was to the west of his anticipated flight route. While maneuvering through an area of mountains terrain, he observed deteriorating weather conditions to the south, and in the direction of his destination. He recalled that he was flying about 1,600 ft mean sea level (msl), heading to the southwest, with a ridgeline close on the right side of the airplane. The pilot stated that he was momentarily looking down at the GPS unit to check a navigation point, and when he looked up, the airplane had entered IMC. He immediately began an instrument scan and verified that the wings were level. He stated that in an attempt to turnaround and return to VMC, he initiated a right turn, momentarily forgetting that terrain was to the right, and the airplane immediately impacted snow covered terrain. During the impact sequence, the left wing separated from the fuselage.

The accident site was located within the boundaries of the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve on the Seward Peninsula. A preliminary review of GPS data extracted from a Garmin GPSMAP 296 unit, revealed that about 0900 the airplane impacted a ridgeline at a GPS elevation of about 1,550 ft on a track of 300° true.

The pilot recalled that he woke up inverted secure in the seat restraint harness. He carefully released the harness and egressed the wreckage. He observed heavy snow and wind (IMC) and elected to shelter inside the airplane. He was able to apply battery power to the integral satellite radio on the airplane and call the NPS dispatch center to report the accident and request rescue. The airplane was outfitted with survival equipment that the pilot used while waiting for rescue.

According to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AKRCC) records, a 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal was received at 0904. The AKRCC coordinated a rescue mission; however, the low visibility delayed rescue until about 1800. The pilot was transported to a medical facility for treatment.

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

The closest weather reporting facility to the accident was Deering Airport (PADE), which was about 46 miles northeast of the accident location. At 0853, an automated routine weather observation report indicated the following conditions: wind from 290° at 15 knots, sky condition overcast 1,700 ft, visibility 9 statute miles in light snow, temperature 16°F, dew point 10°F, and altimeter 29.80 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N5163E
Model/Series: A185 F
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: United States Department Of Interior
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PADE, 21 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 46 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -9°C / -12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 15 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1700 ft agl
Visibility:  9 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.8 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Kotzebue, AK (OTZ)
Destination: Nome, AK (OME) 

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: 65.925833, -164.611389 (est)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued a pilot of a Cessna 185 aircraft April 15th near Pish River in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve after the plane crashed.

According to Alaska Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Evan Budd, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center superintendent, they were first notified after receiving a 406 ELT alert of a possible aircraft crash.  The National Park Service then requested assistance from the AK RCC to rescue the distressed pilot.    

According to Peter Christian, National Park Service public information officer, the pilot was able to communicate with an overhead airplane and reported he had suffered injuries and that there were no other passengers on board. He was flying from Kotzebue to Nome when the plane crashed, sustaining significant damage. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pilot from Nome attempted to overfly the area later in the morning, but was turned back due to poor weather conditions.   

Original article can be found here ➤ https://alaska-native-news.com

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