Sunday, July 12, 2020

Cessna 180C Skywagon, N9185T: Accident occurred July 05, 2020 at Lake Hood Airport (PALH), Anchorage, Alaska

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

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

Location: Anchorage, AK
Accident Number: ANC20LA065
Date & Time: 07/05/2020, 1130 AKD
Registration: N9185T
Aircraft: Cessna 180
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On July 5, 2020, about 1130 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 180C airplane, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident at Lake Hood Airport (PALH), Anchorage, Alaska. The private pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, at the time of the accident, they were returning from a remote lake to PALH in their float-equipped airplane. The pilot stated that the departure from the remote lake was normal, with about 10 to 12 mph of wind on the lake creating a light chop on the water's surface, and no object was struck during the takeoff and departure. After a normal approach to PALH and just after touchdown the left float dug into the water and the airplane veered abruptly to the left, and it subsequently nosed over and began to sink. He stated that he and his passenger were able to quickly exit the partially submerged, sinking wreckage.

An airport security camera captured the accident sequence, revealing that shortly after the airplane's floats touched down on the water surface, a large water column sprays outboard of the left float, just forward of the float's step. The airplane then veers abruptly to the left, and the right wing strikes the water, and then it veers sharply to the right, followed by another veer to the left, before it violently nosed over and began to sink.

An initial postaccident examination of the left float revealed a large hole in the bottom of the float just forward of the step. (see figure 1). Corrosion was present around the hole and no impact signatures were present on the bottom of the float.

Figure 1 - Accident airplane at accident site, hole visible in left float. Photo courtesy of KTVA.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N9185T
Model/Series: 180
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: LHD, 79 ft msl
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 6000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 13 knots / 21 knots, 220°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 10000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Anchorage, AK (LHD)
Destination: Anchorage, AK (LHD)

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:

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire
July 5th, 

On 7/5/20 at approximately 1058 hours, Anchorage Airport Police and Fire Officers responded to a crashed Cessna 180C Skywagon on Lake Spenard. The aircraft had 2 souls onboard who were not critically injured and had self evacuated from the aircraft, which had flipped over in the water. Officers used boats to rescue both passengers and brought them safely to shore, where Anchorage Fire Department Paramedics waited for medical evaluation.

A special thank you to The Anchorage Fire Department, Anchorage Police Department, ANC Airfield Maintenance and Airport Operations.


  1. Can someone explain why the camera mysteriously/conveniently goes into blur mode right when the aircraft bites it on the water then at the end goes back to clarity when it is upside down?

  2. I think it has something to do with the camera going into "Bigfoot" mode.

  3. touch down looked ok, a bit nose down....couldn't figure out how he lost it so quickly until I saw the left float with a huge whole in it. Looks like a structural failure to me

  4. those float bottoms look pretty rotten, and those are ancient edos's...probably completely worn out