Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Piper PA-18, N7071B: Accident occurred September 22, 2019 near Beluga Airport (PABG),

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Beluga, AK
Accident Number: ANC19LA054
Date & Time: 09/22/2019, 1630 AKD
Registration: N7071B
Aircraft: Piper PA 18
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On September 22, 2019, about 1630 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Piper PA-18 sustained substantial damage following a loss of control during takeoff from a remote backcountry lake about 11 miles northwest of Beluga Airport (PABG), Beluga, Alaska. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The floatplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a visual flight rules personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was destined for Carlson Lake, Alaska.

The pilot reported that he and the passenger set up a hunting camp on Carlson Lake the day before the accident. On the day of the accident, they shot a moose about ¾ mile away from their camp, located near a small lake that measured 750 ft in length according to his range finder. They decided to hike back to the camp and use the floatplane to shuttle the meat between the two lakes.

During the initial flight, he flew multiple passes over the small lake and observed no hazards. He then performed two landings and takeoffs with only he and the passenger onboard to observe the floatplane performance. He decided that with an observed 3 to 8 knot headwind there would be sufficient waterway for takeoff with the additional weight of the moose meat onboard. They loaded the floatplane with a field dressed front quarter, estimated at 60 lbs, in the belly pod, and about 50 lbs of backstraps and tenderloins divided between the floats. Then both the pilot and the passenger boarded the airplane. The pilot stated that the floatplane weight was below the max gross takeoff weight of 1750 lbs.

He further reported that, before takeoff from the small lake, he applied one notch of flaps. He added that, during the takeoff run, at 40 miles per hour (mph) indicated airspeed, he applied another notch of flaps, and the floatplane successfully lifted off the water but was unable to climb. The floatplane subsequently descended and impacted tundra about 600 ft beyond the lake. The right wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage. Both occupants egressed successfully and hiked back to the main camp where they were rescued the next day.

The pilot stated that there were no known mechanical issues with the floatplane, and that he did not hear or observe any unusual engine performance during the flight but suspected that the engine may not have been producing enough power because the floatplane would not climb.

The floatplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-B2B 160 horsepower engine.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N7071B
Model/Series: PA 18 150
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: PANC, 132 ft msl
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 36 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 40°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 14000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.56 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Beluga, AK
Destination: Beluga, AK

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 61.314167, -151.224444 (est)

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