Saturday, August 13, 2022

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, N3937M: Fatal accident occurred August 11, 2022 and Accident occurred June 01, 2018

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Number: ANC22FA066 

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

August 11, 2022:  Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances. 

Date: 11-AUG-22
Time: 14:12:00Z
Regis#: N3937M
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA12
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 Fatal
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290. 

A pilot died in a crash southeast of Deadhorse last week, an official from the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Another pilot flying Friday in the remote mountainous area just over 100 miles southeast of Deadhorse saw and reported plane wreckage, said Clint Johnson, chief of the NTSB’s Alaska office.

The North Slope Borough Search and Rescue responded to the area late Friday evening and found one man dead in the Piper PA-12, Johnson said. His remains were brought back to Utqiagvik.

The pilot had not been publicly identified by Monday.

Many questions remained unanswered in the days following the crash, including when it occurred, Johnson said. Investigators believe the plane crashed on Wednesday or Thursday, but Johnson said no emergency locator transmitter was ever activated. It wasn’t immediately clear where the plane had taken off from or where it was headed.

Investigators from the NTSB responded to the area on Saturday morning and collected evidence from the accident site, Johnson said. They plan to talk with the pilot’s family members in the coming days, he said.

Officials are also working with the plane owners and insurance company to remove the wreckage, Johnson said.

The North Slope Borough Search and Rescue referred questions to the mayor’s office. A representative could not immediately be reached.

The investigation into what may have caused the crash is ongoing, Johnson said.

Aviation Accident Final Report
 - National Transportation Safety Board

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Nepomuceno, Eleazar

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Nulato, AK
Accident Number: GAA18CA320
Date & Time: 06/01/2018, 2330 AKD
Registration: N3937M
Aircraft: PIPER PA 12
Aircraft Damage: Substantial 
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries:2 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, while landing off airport on an upsloping ridge, the tailwheel-equipped airplane "touched down harder than preferred." He applied full throttle, initiated a go-around, and attempted to turn toward the down-sloping side of the hill. The airplane briefly became airborne, but it then aerodynamically stalled and nosed down into the tundra.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the engine mount.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane 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 improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing on upsloping terrain, and his subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed and his exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack during an attempted go-around, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


Angle of attack - Capability exceeded (Cause)
Airspeed - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Sloped/uneven terrain - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Hard landing (Defining event)

Landing-aborted after touchdown
Attempted remediation/recovery
Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/19/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/24/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 315.4 hours (Total, all aircraft), 211.2 hours (Total, this make and model), 252.5 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 20.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 16.3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N3937M
Model/Series: PA 12 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1947
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 12-2825
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/12/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320
Registered Owner: DOUGLAS DOWNS
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: PAKV, 181 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 44 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0753 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 156°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 250°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Galena, AK (GAL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Nulato, AK (NUL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 2100 AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 65.000000, -159.416667 (est)

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