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N5153H accident description

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Tail numberN5153H
Accident dateMarch 20, 1993
Aircraft typePiper PA-14
LocationRainey Pass, AK
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On March 20, 1993, at 1500 Alaska standard time, a ski equipped Piper PA-14 airplane, N5153H, registered to and operated by the Pilot-in-Command, crashed in a mountain valley 3.5 miles west of Rainey Pass, Alaska. The personal flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 91, last departed the Rohn airstrip and the destination was Big Lake, Alaska. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed from McGrath to the Rohn airstrip. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, but whiteout conditions existed in the mountain passes.

According to records provided by the McGrath Flight Service Station, through Air Traffic Evaluations, the Pilot-in-Command received a weather briefing which included an area forecast for the Kuskokwim Valley and Cook Inlet/Susitna Valley, the Rainey Pass forecast and flight precautions. The area forecast stated that the weather in the Kuskokwim Valley, the area from which the Pilot-in- Command was departing, was 3,500 to 5,000 feet scattered to broken, 8,000 to 10,000 feet broken to overcast, surface winds from the southeast with gusts to 25 knots, VFR with local marginal VFR due to ceilings and snow. The freeze level was forecast to be at or near the surface. The forecast for the Cook Inlet/Susitna Valley stated local ceilings below 1,000 feet and visibility below 3 miles with light snowshowers along the mountains, west side of the Inlet, and the North Susitna Valley. The forecast for Rainey Pass was IFR due to ceilings and snow.

The Pilot-in-Command held a Private Pilot Certificate, number 529443800, with an Airplane Single Engine Land rating, issued 08/17/74. He was issued a Federal Aviation Administration Third Class Medical Certificate, with no limitations, on June 4, 1992.

The airplane was substantially damaged and the Pilot-in- Command, the sole occupant, was fatally injured.

The Pilot-in-Command was volunteering his aviation resources to the Iditarod Air Force, the organization that provides logistical support for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. However, according to a "1993 Personal Record" ledger found in the airplane, there were two entries indicated that $200.00 dollars transferred hands at least two times in early February. An example of the entry reads "Joe SR, Rohn dogfood 200.00." The block is crossed off with the word "paid" had written at the top.

The on-scene examination of the airplane wreckage showed that the airplane crashed at approximately the 3,700 foot level of a box canyon located 3.5 miles west of Rainey Pass. Rainey Pass is a commonly used mountain pass when flying across the Alaska Mountain Range. Rainey Pass reaches a maximum elevation of 3,600 feet above mean sea level. A review of the map and abney level measurements show that the top of the canyon, in which the airplane crashed, reaches 5,000 feet above mean sea level. The airplane crashed on a heading of 030 degrees magnetic, in a 15 degrees left bank, with a 5 degree pitch up angle, and into a 18 degree rising slope. The point of impact occurred 75 feet behind the main wreckage on a out cropping of snow covered rocks. The entire accident site was covered with snow and light snow showers passed through the area during the on-scene investigation.

Examination of the cargo showed that there were various pieces of survival gear and empty gas cans.

No parts, pieces or records were retained by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The toxicological examination showed negative results for alcohol and drugs in the urine, no alcohol in the blood, and a 1.5% saturation of carbon monoxide in the blood.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.