Sunday, August 25, 2019

Midair Collision: Cessna 207 Skywagon, N91038 and Cessna 175 Skylark, N9423B; fatal accident occurred June 13, 2018 in Anchorage, Alaska

James Poelman

James Poelman laid to rest in cockpit of dream plane... Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee.

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

N9423B - Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


N9423B Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


http://registry.faa.gov/N9423B

Location: Anchorage, AK
Accident Number: ANC18FA045A
Date & Time: 06/13/2018, 1205 AKD
Registration: N9423B
Aircraft: CESSNA 175
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On June 13, 2018, about 1205 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Cessna 207 airplane, N91038, and a wheel-equipped Cessna 175 airplane, N9423B, collided midair near the mouth of the Big Susitna River, about 20 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska. The commercial pilot of the Cessna 207 was fatally injured. The private pilot of the Cessna 175 was not injured. Both airplanes received substantial damage. The Cessna 207 was operated by Spernak Airways, Inc., as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 scheduled commuter flight. The Cessna 175 was registered to the pilot who was operating it as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and both airplanes were operating under visual flight rules at the time of the accident. The Cessna 175 departed a remote fish camp about 1126 en route to the Lake Hood Seaplane Base (PALH); no flight plan was filed. The Cessna 207 departed Merrill Field (PAMR), Anchorage, about 1200, and was destined for Tyonek Airport (TYE), Tyonek, Alaska, with company flight following procedures in effect.

The pilot of the Cessna 175 stated that, while in level cruise flight about 1,000 ft mean sea level (msl), he was making position reports via radio and established contact with the pilot of a Piper Super Cub passing below him in the opposite direction. As he watched the Piper Super Cub pass well below his airplane, he noticed the shadow of an airplane from the opposite direction converging with the shadow of his airplane. He looked forward and saw the spinner of the converging airplane in his windscreen, and he immediately pulled aft on the control yoke. The pilot stated that his airplane climbed abruptly just before the two airplanes collided. After the collision, he observed the Cessna 207 descend uncontrolled into the river. He then assessed the condition of his airplane and circled over the wreckage of the Cessna 207 numerous times, looking for any survivors, marking the location, and using his radio to enlist the help of any pilots in the area. Realizing that no one had escaped the partially-sunken wreckage of the Cessna 207, the pilot elected to return to PALH. He said that a good Samaritan pilot in another airplane responded to his distress calls, flew alongside his airplane, provided him with a damage report, and escorted him back to PALH.

A second good Samaritan pilot in a float-equipped airplane who heard multiple distress calls and emergency personnel communications landed on the river near the partially-submerged wreckage and confirmed that the pilot was deceased.

A review of archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data revealed that two unidentified targets, correlated to be the accident airplanes, converged from opposite directions about 1,000 ft msl near the mouth of the river. The data showed that, about 1 minute before the presumed accident time, the westbound target, believed to be the Cessna 207, began a descent to about 874 ft msl then initiated a climb to an altitude about 900 ft msl just before the targets appeared to merge. That airplane's track disappeared about 1205. The eastbound target, believed to be the Cessna 175, maintained an altitude about 1,000 ft msl throughout the sequence. After the targets appeared to merge, the eastbound airplane initiated a climb, returned to the area near where the targets converged, and circled before leaving the area.


Audio: Cessna 175 Skylark N9423B and good Samaritan pilot in another airplane.


Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/20/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/01/2017
Flight Time:  1015 hours (Total, all aircraft), 315 hours (Total, this make and model), 1015 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 14 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 14 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Cessna 207 Pilot

The pilot, age 56, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land and instrument airplane. Additionally, he held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single-engine. His most recent FAA third-class medical was issued on June 12, 2017, with no limitations.

According to the operator's training records, the pilot was hired with 1,442 total hours of flight experience, including 1,200 hours of experience in Alaska, and 514 hours in Cessna 207-series aircraft. At the time of the accident, he had accumulated about 767 additional hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent airman competency check, which was administered by a company check airman, was completed on June 15, 2017.

The pilot's flight and duty records revealed that he was off duty on June 10. On June 11, his duty day started at 0700 and ended at 1700, and he flew 5.7 hrs. On June 12, his duty day started at 0700 and ended at 1700, and he flew 4.8 hrs. On the day of the accident, his duty day started at 0700, and he flew 0.9 hour before the accident flight.

Cessna 175 Pilot

The pilot, age 53, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical was issued on February 20, 2017, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses.

The pilot reported 1,015 total hours of flight experience, with about 315 hours in the accident airplane make and model.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N9423B
Model/Series: 175
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1958
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 55223
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/16/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2350 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5296.29 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Cessna 207

The airplane was manufactured in 1968 and was equipped with a Continental IO-520F engine rated at 300 horsepower. A review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent 100-hour inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on May 6, 2018, when the airframe had accumulated 31,711.5 hours total time in service. The engine was overhauled and installed on the airframe on November 29, 2016, and had accumulated 766.6 hours as of the most recent 100-hour inspection.



Cessna 175

The airplane was manufactured in 1958 and was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 A1A engine rated at 180 horsepower. A review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on December 13, 2017, when the airframe had accumulated 5,296.29 hours total time in service. The engine had accumulated 1,171.93 hours as of the most recent annual inspection.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PANC
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 108°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 290°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Anchorage, AK
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class G

The closest weather reporting facility was located at Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Anchorage, Alaska, about 20 miles east of the accident site. The 1153 observation recorded wind from 290° at 5 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; few clouds at 4,500 ft, few clouds at 10,000 ft, scattered clouds at 20,000 ft; temperature 55°F; dew point 43°F; and an altimeter setting of 29.91 inches of mercury.

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: 61.270833, -150.552222 (est)



The Cessna 207 Skywagon, N91038 piloted by James Poelman of Wasilla, submerged in the Big Susitna River.  

Cessna 207

Due to the location of the wreckage of the Cessna 207 in the silt-laden waters of the Big Susitna River, the wreckage could not be examined at the accident site. An aerial survey of the site revealed that the wreckage was inverted and partially submerged near the mouth of the river. The left main tire and a portion of the fuselage were protruding from the water.

After recovery, the wreckage was examined at the facilities of Alaska Claims Services, Wasilla, Alaska.

The empennage was separated from the aft fuselage. Both left and right horizontal stabilizers remained attached to their respective attach points, but sustained impact damage. The left elevator remained attached to its respective attach points. The right elevator remained attached at its inboard attach point but separated at its outboard attach point and was bent upward about mid-span. The vertical stabilizer sustained leading edge accordion-style crushing damage.

The main landing gear gearbox, with both left and right main landing gear, separated from the fuselage.

A portion of the cockpit, fuselage, wings and their respective control surfaces, rudder, a majority of the instrument panel, along with the engine and propeller, were not recovered.

Cessna 175

The Cessna 175's left main gear leg with the wheel attached, as well as other debris, was found on the east bank of the river about 1,380 ft east of the Cessna 207's main wreckage. The left main landing gear and nosewheel were separated and missing. The right main landing gear tire was cut with features consistent with a propeller strike, and the outboard portion of the right elevator sustained impact damage with red paint transfer. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and right elevator.

The left and right wing, wing flaps, and ailerons remained attached to their respective attach points and were relatively undamaged.

The left and right horizontal stabilizers, vertical stabilizer, rudder and left elevator all remained attached to their respective attach points and were relatively undamaged. The outboard portion of the right elevator sustained impact damage with red paint transfer.

The fuselage sustained impact damage to the lower fuselage just forward of the left main gear leg. 

Communications

The pilot of the Cessna 175 reported that he had a primary active radio frequency of 122.90 Mhz and a non-active secondary frequency 135.25 Mhz in his transceiver at the time of the collision.

The transceivers from N91038 were not recovered.

In May 2014, following a series of midair collisions in the Matanuska Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, the FAA made significant changes to the common traffic advisory frequencies (CTAF) assigned north and west of Anchorage, AK. The FAA established geographic CTAF areas based, in part, on flight patterns, traffic flow, private and public airports and off-airport landing sites. The CTAF for the area where the accident occurred was at a frequency changeover point, with westbound Cook Inlet traffic communicating on 122.70 and eastbound traffic communicating on 122.90 Mhz.

Both airplanes were operating in Class G airspace, and there was no regulatory requirement for either airplane to be equipped with two-way radio communications.

Medical And Pathological Information

An autopsy of the Cessna 207 pilot was performed by the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska, on July 5, 2018. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory, was negative for alcohol or drugs.




N91038 - Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

N91038 Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N91038


Location: Anchorage, AK
Accident Number: ANC18FA045B
Date & Time: 06/13/2018, 1205 AKD
Registration: N91038
Aircraft: CESSNA 207
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Scheduled 

On June 13, 2018, about 1205 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Cessna 207 airplane, N91038, and a wheel-equipped Cessna 175 airplane, N9423B, collided midair near the mouth of the Big Susitna River, about 20 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska. The commercial pilot of the Cessna 207 was fatally injured. The private pilot of the Cessna 175 was not injured. Both airplanes received substantial damage. The Cessna 207 was operated by Spernak Airways, Inc., as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 scheduled commuter flight. The Cessna 175 was registered to the pilot who was operating it as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and both airplanes were operating under visual flight rules at the time of the accident. The Cessna 175 departed a remote fish camp about 1126 en route to the Lake Hood Seaplane Base (PALH); no flight plan was filed. The Cessna 207 departed Merrill Field (PAMR), Anchorage, about 1200, and was destined for Tyonek Airport (TYE), Tyonek, Alaska, with company flight following procedures in effect.

The pilot of the Cessna 175 stated that, while in level cruise flight about 1,000 ft mean sea level (msl), he was making position reports via radio and established contact with the pilot of a Piper Super Cub passing below him in the opposite direction. As he watched the Piper Super Cub pass well below his airplane, he noticed the shadow of an airplane from the opposite direction converging with the shadow of his airplane. He looked forward and saw the spinner of the converging airplane in his windscreen, and he immediately pulled aft on the control yoke. The pilot stated that his airplane climbed abruptly just before the two airplanes collided. After the collision, he observed the Cessna 207 descend uncontrolled into the river. He then assessed the condition of his airplane and circled over the wreckage of the Cessna 207 numerous times, looking for any survivors, marking the location, and using his radio to enlist the help of any pilots in the area. Realizing that no one had escaped the partially-sunken wreckage of the Cessna 207, the pilot elected to return to PALH. He said that a good Samaritan pilot in another airplane responded to his distress calls, flew alongside his airplane, provided him with a damage report, and escorted him back to PALH.

A second good Samaritan pilot in a float-equipped airplane who heard multiple distress calls and emergency personnel communications landed on the river near the partially-submerged wreckage and confirmed that the pilot was deceased.

A review of archived Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data revealed that two unidentified targets, correlated to be the accident airplanes, converged from opposite directions about 1,000 ft msl near the mouth of the river. The data showed that, about 1 minute before the presumed accident time, the westbound target, believed to be the Cessna 207, began a descent to about 874 ft msl then initiated a climb to an altitude about 900 ft msl just before the targets appeared to merge. That airplane's track disappeared about 1205. The eastbound target, believed to be the Cessna 175, maintained an altitude about 1,000 ft msl throughout the sequence. After the targets appeared to merge, the eastbound airplane initiated a climb, returned to the area near where the targets converged, and circled before leaving the area. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/12/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/15/2017
Flight Time:  2210 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1280 hours (Total, this make and model), 1900 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 193.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 75 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Cessna 207 Pilot

The pilot, age 56, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land and instrument airplane. Additionally, he held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single-engine. His most recent FAA third-class medical was issued on June 12, 2017, with no limitations.

According to the operator's training records, the pilot was hired with 1,442 total hours of flight experience, including 1,200 hours of experience in Alaska, and 514 hours in Cessna 207-series aircraft. At the time of the accident, he had accumulated about 767 additional hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent airman competency check, which was administered by a company check airman, was completed on June 15, 2017.

The pilot's flight and duty records revealed that he was off duty on June 10. On June 11, his duty day started at 0700 and ended at 1700, and he flew 5.7 hrs. On June 12, his duty day started at 0700 and ended at 1700, and he flew 4.8 hrs. On the day of the accident, his duty day started at 0700, and he flew 0.9 hour before the accident flight.

Cessna 175 Pilot

The pilot, age 53, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical was issued on February 20, 2017, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses.

The pilot reported 1,015 total hours of flight experience, with about 315 hours in the accident airplane make and model.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N91038
Model/Series: 207
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1969
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 20700027
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/06/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3803 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 31711.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C91A installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-520 SERIES
Registered Owner: SPERNAK AIRWAYS INC
Rated Power: 285 hp
Operator: SPERNAK AIRWAYS INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter Air Carrier (135); On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Cessna 207

The airplane was manufactured in 1968 and was equipped with a Continental IO-520F engine rated at 300 horsepower. A review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent 100-hour inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on May 6, 2018, when the airframe had accumulated 31,711.5 hours total time in service. The engine was overhauled and installed on the airframe on November 29, 2016, and had accumulated 766.6 hours as of the most recent 100-hour inspection.

Cessna 175

The airplane was manufactured in 1958 and was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 A1A engine rated at 180 horsepower. A review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on December 13, 2017, when the airframe had accumulated 5,296.29 hours total time in service. The engine had accumulated 1,171.93 hours as of the most recent annual inspection. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PANC
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 108°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 290°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Anchorage, AK
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Tyonek, AK
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

The closest weather reporting facility was located at Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Anchorage, Alaska, about 20 miles east of the accident site. The 1153 observation recorded wind from 290° at 5 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; few clouds at 4,500 ft, few clouds at 10,000 ft, scattered clouds at 20,000 ft; temperature 55°F; dew point 43°F; and an altimeter setting of 29.91 inches of mercury. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 61.270833, -150.552222 (est)

Cessna 207

Due to the location of the wreckage of the Cessna 207 in the silt-laden waters of the Big Susitna River, the wreckage could not be examined at the accident site. An aerial survey of the site revealed that the wreckage was inverted and partially submerged near the mouth of the river. The left main tire and a portion of the fuselage were protruding from the water.

After recovery, the wreckage was examined at the facilities of Alaska Claims Services, Wasilla, Alaska.

The empennage was separated from the aft fuselage. Both left and right horizontal stabilizers remained attached to their respective attach points, but sustained impact damage. The left elevator remained attached to its respective attach points. The right elevator remained attached at its inboard attach point but separated at its outboard attach point and was bent upward about mid-span. The vertical stabilizer sustained leading edge accordion-style crushing damage.

The main landing gear gearbox, with both left and right main landing gear, separated from the fuselage.

A portion of the cockpit, fuselage, wings and their respective control surfaces, rudder, a majority of the instrument panel, along with the engine and propeller, were not recovered.

Cessna 175

The Cessna 175's left main gear leg with the wheel attached, as well as other debris, was found on the east bank of the river about 1,380 ft east of the Cessna 207's main wreckage. The left main landing gear and nosewheel were separated and missing. The right main landing gear tire was cut with features consistent with a propeller strike, and the outboard portion of the right elevator sustained impact damage with red paint transfer. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and right elevator.

The left and right wing, wing flaps, and ailerons remained attached to their respective attach points and were relatively undamaged.

The left and right horizontal stabilizers, vertical stabilizer, rudder and left elevator all remained attached to their respective attach points and were relatively undamaged. The outboard portion of the right elevator sustained impact damage with red paint transfer.

The fuselage sustained impact damage to the lower fuselage just forward of the left main gear leg. 

Communications

The pilot of the Cessna 175 reported that he had a primary active radio frequency of 122.90 Mhz and a non-active secondary frequency 135.25 Mhz in his transceiver at the time of the collision.

The transceivers from N91038 were not recovered.

In May 2014, following a series of midair collisions in the Matanuska Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, the FAA made significant changes to the common traffic advisory frequencies (CTAF) assigned north and west of Anchorage, AK. The FAA established geographic CTAF areas based, in part, on flight patterns, traffic flow, private and public airports and off-airport landing sites. The CTAF for the area where the accident occurred was at a frequency changeover point, with westbound Cook Inlet traffic communicating on 122.70 and eastbound traffic communicating on 122.90 Mhz.

Both airplanes were operating in Class G airspace, and there was no regulatory requirement for either airplane to be equipped with two-way radio communications.

Medical And Pathological Information

An autopsy of the Cessna 207 pilot was performed by the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska, on July 5, 2018. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory, was negative for alcohol or drugs.

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