Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N737NJ; accident occurred September 07, 2019 near Mekoryuk Airport (PAMY), Nunivak Island, Alaska

View of inverted airplane with damaged left wing. 

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Mekoryuk, AK
Accident Number: GAA19CA529
Date & Time: 09/07/2019, 2015 AKD
Registration: N737NJ
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot reported that, during takeoff on a beach, the airplane lifted off the ground to about 10 ft but he "felt something holding [him] down." He lowered the nose to build up the airspeed, attempted to climb again, but was unable to climb due to a downdraft. He was unable to abort the takeoff due to increased airspeed and reduced landing area prior to a 50 ft bank. He decided to "pull up and go over that 50 to 60 ft bank." The airplane continued about three-quarters of a mile, aerodynamically stalled, and the empennage impacted terrain. The airplane continued about 30 ft, struck a "big clump of dirt," and nosed over.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

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

The pilot reported that the wind was variable at 27 knots, gusting to 36 knots.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 27, 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 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/15/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/02/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 665.3 hours (Total, all aircraft), 370.95 hours (Total, this make and model), 665.3 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 136.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 31.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 9.7 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N737NJ
Model/Series: 172 N
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1977
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17269543
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/29/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3744.6 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A4M
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 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: PAMY, 45 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 33 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0356 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 326°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 900 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 23 knots / 28 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 230°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Rain
Departure Point: Bethel, AK (BET)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Bethel, AK (BET)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1800 AKD
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: 59.935278, -165.576944 (est)

Two brothers were unharmed after their plane crashed on Nunivak Island on September 7th. The brothers live in Bethel, and were leaving the island in a private plane loaded with just-harvested muskox meat.

The four-seater aircraft crashed shortly after taking off near Cape Corwin, about 50 miles south of the community of Mekoryuk. At that time the Mekoryuk airport recorded light rain and fog, with less than 3 miles of visibility and wind gusts up to 36 miles per hour.

The brothers contacted Alaska State Troopers at 8:22 p.m. on September 7th through an inReach satellite equipped with GPS. They reported no injuries and said that they had enough survival gear to make it through the night until help arrived. Because the hunters were unharmed and had the proper equipment, troopers made contact with the Anchorage Rescue Coordinator Center but did not deploy military aircraft to the scene, according to Trooper Scott Corino.

The brothers waited out the night, and chartered a flight with God’s Country Aviation in Bethel to bring them home the next day. They returned safely to Bethel around 1 p.m. the next day, on Sunday, September 8th.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. Those guys were very fortunate. I wonder what muskox tastes like? I don't think I would venture out in miserable weather in a plane just to bring back a load of it. Oh, well, to each his own.