Friday, February 05, 2021

Cessna A185E Skywagon, N9725Z: Fatal accident occurred February 04, 2021 in Chitina, Alaska

Our friend, Chris Maize, was unexpectedly called to his heavenly home on February 4th flying in the Wrangell Mountains. Chris is survived by his loving wife, Lari, and two daughters, Junior and Rusty.  Chris was a gentle, kind and humble man who was a diligent and careful pilot who loved sharing Alaska and the National Park with visitors.   In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made here. Additional funds will go to a scholarship in Chris' name.  We are very appreciative of the support from our friends, family, and community during these difficult times.



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

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 

Copper Valley Air Service


Date: 04-FEB-21
Time: 21:51:00Z
Regis#: N9725Z
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 185
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 2
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: CHITINA
State: ALASKA

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.


A pilot from Anchorage and Glennallen and a passenger from out of state were the two people killed in a plane crash last week in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska State Troopers said Thursday.

The Cessna 185 may have broken up in midair near Chitina on Feb. 4, according to a federal investigators. Pilot Christopher Maize, 45, and 36-year-old passenger Andrew Broders of Washington both died in the crash.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center was notified about the crash just before noon when an emergency locator transmitter was activated from the Copper Valley Air Service plane. The crash was in a remote, mountainous area roughly 13 miles northeast of Chitina and in a wooded section of a gradual slope, troopers wrote in an online report.

A crew from the rescue center flew to the area on the day of the crash and confirmed no one had survived. Officials returned to the site the next day but did not recover the bodies until Saturday, troopers said. An NTSB investigator was expected to reach the scene Tuesday and help with wreckage recovery, the organization said.

The plane, which also carried U.S. mail, was flying from Gulkana to McCarthy when it crashed.

Rescuers described the debris as being in two distinct locations, which could indicate the airplane may have broken apart in flight, said Clint Johnson, Alaska chief for the National Transportation Safety Board. Midair breakups are uncommon and often involve bad weather. Johnson said investigators are looking into the weather, but that it did not appear to be an immediate factor.

In an online fundraiser, Maize was described by friends as “a gentle, kind and humble man who was a diligent and careful pilot who loved sharing Alaska and the National Park with visitors.”

The Copper Valley Air Service is family owned and based at Gulkana Airport in Glennallen, according to the company website. The company specializes in flightseeing tours, air taxi and charter services, backcountry or hunting drop offs in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Copper River Basin and McCarthy to Kennicott.


Alaska State Troopers have identified two people killed in last week's crash of a small plane in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Pilot Christopher Maize, 45, of Anchorage and Glennallen and 36-year-old Andrew Broders of Washington state died in the Feb. 4 crash, authorities said.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center was notified just when an emergency locator transmitter was activated in the Cessna A185E Skywagon.

The aircraft, which also carried U.S. mail, was flying from Gulkana to McCarthy. The plane fell in a remote, forested area about 13 miles (21 kilometers) northeast of Chitina.

Rescue center personnel flew to the area on the day of the crash and confirmed no one survived.

In an online fundraiser, Maize was described by friends as “a gentle, kind and humble man who was a diligent and careful pilot who loved sharing Alaska and the National Park with visitors.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said the Cessna A185E Skywagon was on a flight operated by Copper Valley Air Service.

Clint Johnson, the agency's Alaska chief, said early findings indicate the plane may have broken up during flight.

The main fuselage landed in one location and the tail and other debris were found about 200 yards (183 meters) away, Johnson said.

Midair breakups are unusual and often involve flights in bad weather. Investigators are considering the weather at the time of the crash, which was cold but did not immediately appear to be a factor, Johnson said.

A structural engineer and an Alaska-based investigator were expected to travel to the site in Wrangell-St. Elias, the largest U.S. national park, spanning more than 20,300 square miles (52,577 square kilometers).

The wreckage will be recovered for examination, Johnson said.

Copper Valley Air Service is a family-owned business specializing in sightseeing flights, air taxi and charter services and backcountry or hunting transport, the company’s website said.

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