Saturday, February 12, 2022

Taylorcraft BC12-D, N96552: Incident occurred in Talkeetna, Alaska

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

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 


Date: 06-FEB-22
Time: 00:00:00Z
Regis#: N96552
Aircraft Make: TAYLORCRAFT
Aircraft Model: BC12
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: TALKEETNA
State: ALASKA

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

Aircraft was found inverted on snow covered ground. Alaska State Troopers made contact with owner who explained he crashed under unknown circumstances on January 05, 2022.


Date: 06-FEB-22
Time: 00:00:00Z
Regis#: N96552
Aircraft Make: TAYLORCRAFT
Aircraft Model: BC-12D
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: TALKEETNA
State: ALASKA



Alaska State Troopers were notified on Sunday, February 6th of an ELT beacon activation from an unidentifiable aircraft. The signal was identified as somewhere east of the Parks Highway near Willow and Talkeetna. Troopers determined that there were no distress calls or reports of overdue aircraft in the area. The Alaska Civil Air Patrol, equipped with specialized equipment to determine ELT beacon locations, patrolled the area starting that day to attempt to find the ELT beacon source.

Eight CAP volunteer aircrew members searched for a total of five hours over multiple days, often being affected by high winds and poor visibility due to severe weather in the area, and also conducted a 13-hour ground search in an attempt to identify and locate the beacon. Over the search period, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers deployed their helicopter to the area to search for the beacon source, but couldn’t find it. Additionally, the Alaska Army National Guard deployed a helicopter crew to the area to attempt to locate the beacon, but were also unsuccessful. 

After multiple days of searching by the Army National Guard, Civil AIr Patrol, and Alaska Wildlife Troopers, on the afternoon of February 10th, CAP volunteer pilots located a 1946 Taylorcraft BC12-D that was damaged and overturned in the area of Lynx Peak near Hatcher Pass. 

A rescue team immediately flew to the area from the Alaska Air National Guard. Upon arrival, rescue teams discovered an empty plane, with no apparent signs of injuries having occurred. The Air Guardsmen followed human tracks up the mountain where they stopped and weren’t able to locate any indication of the pilot’s current location.

The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers immediately began efforts to determine if the pilot coordinated his own extraction, and was no longer in the field. At 6:35 p.m. on February 10th, the pilot was contacted via telephone, who stated that while attempting to land, his plane experienced a mechanical problem causing a hard landing. 

The aircraft was no longer airworthy, and the unnamed pilot departed the area with another pilot in a different plane. The owner is working to remove the aircraft from the area, and the NTSB was notified of the incident. 

The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers want to remind pilots to notify the FAA if they are planning to leave an unsecured aircraft in Alaska wilderness or if they crash but can self-rescue through a private party. The search and rescue efforts resulting from this operation reportedly cost thousands of dollars and took multiple Troopers, Guardsmen, and CAP volunteers away from other duties to coordinate and respond to the multi-day search.