Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna A185F Skywagon 185, N8216J; accident occurred June 27, 2021 at Nushagak Airport (AK21), Dillingham, Alaska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Dillingham, Alaska
Accident Number: ANC21LA050
Date & Time: June 27, 2021, 17:00 Local
Registration: N8216J
Aircraft: Cessna A185F 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight 
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Business


The pilot reported that, just after takeoff from the narrow brush lined airstrip, he encountered a wind gust which pushed the airplane to the left. The left wing struck the brush and the airplane spun around and impacted terrain sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during takeoff in gusting wind conditions which resulted in a loss of control and impact with terrain.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Gusts - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: June 8, 2021
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: September 7, 2019
Flight Time: 1907 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1267 hours (Total, this make and model), 1826 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 56 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 39 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N8216J
Model/Series: A185F 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1976 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 18502864
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 15, 2021 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3350 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C126 installed, activated
Engine Model/Series: IO 520 D
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 300 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAJZ, 270 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 16:56 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 121°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 6 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 3700 ft AGL 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 170° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - None - Haze
Departure Point: Dillingham, AK 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Portage Creek , AK
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: NUSHAGAK AK21 
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 40 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Rough
Runway Used: 16/34
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 1000 ft / 50 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:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 59.88313,-157.76075

1 comment:

  1. Just 2 approach/departure choices is all u have with rural / brush airstrips, thus cross winds just beyond ground effect can be unexpected and tricky to respond to and control at critical airspeeds.