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N8162C accident description

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Tail numberN8162C
Accident dateOctober 26, 2000
Aircraft typePiper PA-18A
LocationAkhiok, AK
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 26, 2000, about 1550 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Piper PA-18A airplane, N8162C, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from a small lake, about 12 miles east of Akhiok, Alaska, located on Kodiak Island, at latitude 56 degrees, 51.063 minutes north, and longitude 153 degrees, 50.648 minutes west. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight when the accident occurred. The operator of the airplane was the pilot. The private certificated pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

A State of Alaska, Department of Public Safety, Fish and Wildlife Protection Pilot/Trooper, was conducting an aerial game patrol of Kodiak Island, and was flying southbound in the area of the accident. He reported he saw the accident airplane taxiing in a southwest direction from the northeast shoreline of a small lake. The lake has an hourglass shape, with the narrow portion of the lake located about 1/3 of the way from the southwest end of the lake. The trooper estimated the length of the lake as about 600 feet, with an area of shallow water at the narrowest point. He recognized the airplane as one that is based in Kodiak. The trooper reported that the wind was blowing from the northeast about 5 to 10 knots. He saw 4 to 5 inch waves on the surface of the lake, building against the southwestern shore. The trooper said he expected the airplane to taxi to the southwest and then depart toward the northeast.

The trooper said that due to the small size of the lake, and the remoteness of the area, he decided to make a 180 degree turn and monitor the progress of the accident airplane's departure. As he returned to the area of the lake, he initially could only see the tail of the accident airplane behind a small bluff, located at the southwest edge of the lake. As he approached closer, the trooper observed the front of the fuselage canted downward about 30 degrees. He then noticed that the airplane had collided with terrain at the southwest end of the lake. The lake was too small for the trooper to land, so he orbited over the crash scene and notified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel that rescue personnel were needed at the site.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Air Station Kodiak, reported they received notification of an airplane crash about 1555. The accident scene is about 70 miles south of Kodiak, Alaska. A rescue helicopter was launched to the scene, and arrived about 1645. Coast Guard personnel began to remove the pilot from the wreckage. About 1750, after removal from the wreckage, the pilot's vital signs rapidly declined, and the Coast Guard expedited their return to Kodiak. After arrival at the hospital at 1840, the pilot was pronounced deceased at 1908.

Friends of the pilot reported that he was hunting deer in the area of the lake. The Coast Guard reported the airplane contained a deer, along with camping and hunting equipment.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane ratings. The most recent third-class medical certificate was issued to the pilot on January 18, 1999, and contained the limitation that the pilot must have available glasses for near vision.

The aeronautical experience listed on page 3 of this report was obtained from a review of the airmen Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City, and from friends of the pilot. On the pilot's application for medical certificate, dated January 18, 1999, the pilot indicated that his total aeronautical experience consisted of about 350 hours, of which 6 were accrued in the previous 6 months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

At the accident scene, the tachometer driven hour meter was indicating 289.5 hours. A hobbs meter in the airplane was indicating 111.6 hours. The most recent annual inspection of the engine and airframe was accomplished on May 10, 2000. At that time, the tachometer hour meter was 240.5. The airplane had accrued a total time of 4,884.32 hours, 49.0 hours since the last annual inspection. The engine had accrued a total time in service of 1,871.2 hours, 289.5 hours since a major overhaul.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) examined the airplane wreckage at the accident site on October 27, 2000. The airplane was located at the south end of a small lake with the front portion of its float assemblies resting a small bank. The nose of the airplane was observed on a magnetic heading of 235 degrees. (All heading/bearings noted in this report are oriented toward magnetic north.)

The aft portion of the airplane's float assemblies were resting in the water of the lake. Impact marks in the form of gouging and scrapes were observed on the vertical face of a large rock, located along a bluff at the south end of the lake. The top of the bluff was about 20 feet above the water. The rock was about 20 feet from the edge of the lake. The lake, as measured by the U.S. Coast Guard, utilizing global positioning system (GPS) equipment, is 760 feet long.

All of the airplane's major components were found at the main wreckage area. The float assembly was broken at the airplane's forward fuselage float attach points. The front portion of each float was crushed aft and buckled upward at the forward spreader bar.

The lower cockpit floor was buckled upward and crushed aft. The firewall was crushed aft. The lower left side of the cockpit was crushed aft and buckled inward. The instrument panel was buckled and distorted in a "U" shape at the lower, right edge of the panel. The windshield was broken out in a forward direction.

The left wing was fractured at the inboard spar attach points and displaced about 10 degrees at the trailing edge in a forward direction from the fuselage. The outboard leading edge of the left wing had aft crushing and wrinkling. The left flap was pivoted downward beyond its normal range of travel. The right wing appeared to be displaced slightly forward. The right flap appeared to be up. Each wing had a set of vortex generators installed along the upper surface of the leading edge. Both lift struts remained attached to their respective wing and lower attach points.

The flight control surfaces remained connected to their respective attach points. The continuity of the flight control cables was established to the cockpit area. The stabilator trim appeared to be in a neutral position.

The propeller assembly remained connected to the engine crankshaft. The propeller stopped in a near vertical position. The engine and propeller were displaced aft into the cowling. One propeller blade had about 90 degree forward bending, gouging and destruction of the propeller tip. The second blade tip was embedded in the ground. The spinner was crushed aft, flattened against the propeller, and had rotational folding and scoring of the spinner material.

The engine sustained impact damage to the underside and front portion of the engine. Examination of the engine's top fine wire spark plugs revealed that each had a dry gray appearance.

The investigation did not reveal any preimpact malfunction of the airplane.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, 5700 E. Tudor, Anchorage, Alaska, on October 30, 2000. The cause of death for the pilot was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.

A toxicological examination conducted by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) on February 23, 2001. The examination revealed the presence of Atropine and Lidocaine in the blood. These drugs are commonly utilized during postaccident medical trauma care.

WRECKAGE RELEASE

The Safety Board did not take custody of the wreckage. No parts or components were retained by the Safety Board.

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