Sunday, October 11, 2020

Collision During Landing: Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N645DT; accident occurred October 12, 2019 in Moose Pass, Alaska


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

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Moose Pass, AK
Accident Number: ANC20CA006
Date & Time: 10/12/2019, 1745 AKD
Registration: N645DT
Aircraft: Piper PA18
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation -


The pilot was attempting to land at a remote airstrip in fading light conditions. Just before touchdown, the left wing impacted a tree, and after touchdown, the airplane exited the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and the fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot stated that the accident might have been prevented if he had flown a steeper final approach or had more daylight. 

Probable Cause and Findings
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper approach, which resulted in his failure to maintain clearance from a tree while landing in dusk conditions, and his subsequent loss of directional control, which resulted in a runway excursion. 


Descent/approach/glide path - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Monitoring environment - Pilot (Cause)
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Low light - Effect on personnel (Cause)
Tree(s) - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Collision during takeoff/land (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Runway excursion

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor  
Age: 80, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Multi-engine Sea; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 Waiver Time Limited Special
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/01/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/30/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 20000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 8000 hours (Total, this make and model), 60 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N645DT
Model/Series: PA18 150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1982
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18-8309022
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/24/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 4131 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
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: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots / 21 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 330°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C / -4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Anchorage, AK
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Moose Pass, AK (PVT)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1700 AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Private (PVT)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf; Gravel
Airport Elevation: 485 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

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:  60.516667, -149.500000 (est)


  1. Loss of an acft in AK is loss of transport, one's mobility and easily result is isolation !

  2. Dude is 80. Probably losing his eyesight perception in lower light conditions and not seeing everything. That is the most common thing to happen to seniors after age 60 regarding vision. Alaska flying is challenging for any pilot no matter the age and experience. When you get older, you should prepare to adjust your lifestyle for your decreased quality of body and cognitive performance if it happens significantly. Especially around eyesight. I'm sure his stick and rudder and cognitive skills are still there since he knows what went wrong and this is the first reported accident of that aircraft. But in the fall/winter months there is a small window of good daylight in a 24hr period in Alaska even in the southern most parts around Anchorage.