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.
Location: Anchorage, AK
Accident Number: ANC20LA059
Date & Time: June 8, 2020
Aircraft: Piper PA 12
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional
On June 8, 2020, about 0945 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Piper PA-12 airplane, N3188M, sustained substantial damage when it's rudder structurally failed in flight about 8 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.
According to the flight instructor, they departed Lake Hood Airport (PALH) and proceeded to Twin Island Lake (about 8 nm northwest of PALH), where upon arrival, they conducted a normal landing. After departing, they climbed to about 500 ft above ground level (agl) before turning a left crosswind traffic pattern leg. While on the left crosswind leg, the airplane yawed abruptly to the right and the private pilot indicated that the controls felt strange. The flight instructor assumed control of the airplane and noticed drastically diminished control about the vertical axis. In addition, a significant downward elevator pressure (forward control yoke) was required. In an effort to aid in directional control the water rudders were deployed. Uncertain that he could make a 180° turn and return to Twin Island Lake due to the poor directional control, he elected to return to PALH where emergency services were available and conducted an uneventful landing.
An initial examination of the rudder revealed that the vertical spar tube separated just above the upper hinge point and the top portion of the rudder folded over the horizontal stabilizer tail brace wires.
The rudder has been retained for further examination by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Materials Laboratory.
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Aircraft Make: Piper
Model/Series: PA 12 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time: 17:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C /7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.81 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Anchorage, AK
Destination: Anchorage, AK
Wreckage and Impact Information
Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 61.186668,-149.96527