Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Sportsman 2+2, N5045X; accident occurred March 27, 2020 at Leisurewood Airstrip (9AK6), Wasilla, Alaska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket


Location: Wasilla, AK
Accident Number: ANC20CA039
Date & Time: 03/27/2020, 1130 AKD
Registration: N5045X
Aircraft: WAG-AERO Sportsman 2+2
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot reported that, during takeoff from an icy ski strip, there was a "light variable quartering tailwind from the south west." During the takeoff run, the ski- and tailwheel-equipped airplane veered left, and the pilot attempted to correct with opposite rudder. As the airplane became airborne, the left wing struck a tree, and the airplane "swung around" before coming to rest upright. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, both wings, and the empennage.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's loss of directional control during takeoff from an icy ski strip in gusting wind conditions, which resulted in the left wing impacting a tree.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Snow/slush/ice covered surface - Effect on operation
Environmental issues Gusts - Effect on operation
Environmental issues Tree(s) - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Other weather encounter
Takeoff Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Takeoff Attempted remediation/recovery
Takeoff Runway excursion
Takeoff Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private
Age: 41, Male
Airplane Rating(s): 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): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/15/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/07/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 980 hours (Total, all aircraft), 490 hours (Total, this make and model), 880 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: WAG-AERO
Registration: N5045X
Model/Series: Sportsman 2+2
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1987
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 42
Landing Gear Type: Ski; Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/05/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1069.6 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed
Engine Model/Series: O-320
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 160 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: PAWS, 354 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1856 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 135°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 13 knots / 24 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 40°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.69 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -3°C / -16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Wasilla, AK (9AK6)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Skwentna, AK
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1130 AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Leisurewood Airstrip (9AK6)
Runway Surface Type: Snow
Airport Elevation: 366 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Snow
Runway Used:07 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 1800 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 61.624167, -149.648611 (est)

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