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N36237 accident description

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Crash location 64.634444°N, 148.617223°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Nenana, AK
64.563889°N, 149.093056°W
14.9 miles away

Tail number N36237
Accident date 12 Sep 2005
Aircraft type Bellanca 7GCBC
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On September 12, 2005, about 1800 Alaska daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCBC airplane, N36237, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain following an in-flight loss of control while maneuvering, about 14 miles east-northeast of Nenana, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal local flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The private pilot and sole passenger both received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on September 16, the Alaska state trooper who interviewed the pilot's relatives, said he was told by family members that the family, including the pilot and passenger, witnessed a demonstration of bush flying during a family outing the day of the accident. The demonstration included short field takeoffs and landings along a river similar to where the accident occurred. The state trooper also interviewed a fisherman who saw the accident airplane flying low along the river, pull into a vertical climb, and then spiral nose-down to the ground.

On September 19, during a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC, a relative who attended the family outing with the pilot, said the pilot and passenger left the family to return to the pilot's place of employment to "close up shop." He said the pilot worked at a local airport as an aircraft mechanic, and kept his airplane there also. He said the family expected the pilot and passenger home, and there was no mention of their going flying.

On September 25, a witness told the NTSB IIC during a telephone conversation that he was fishing in the area where the accident occurred. He said the accident airplane was flying level about 600-800 feet above the trees, when it started an abrupt, near vertical climb, and then spiraled straight down, impacting in trees beyond the river's edge.


The two people aboard the airplane received fatal injuries.


The airplane sustained structural damage to most of its major airframe components forward of the empennage.


According to FAA documents, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He also held an aircraft mechanic certificate. No pilot logbooks were discovered for examination. According to his most recent FAA application for a medical certificate dated May 27, 2004, the pilot had accumulated about 127 hours of total flying experience. He was issued a third class FAA Medical Certificate on May 27, 2004.


The airplane was a 1973 model year Bellanca 7GCBC single-engine, high wing, tailwheel equipped airplane. The pilot owned and reportedly maintained the accident airplane. No airframe or engine logbooks were discovered for examination. The date of the last annual inspection is unknown, and airframe and engine total time in service are unknown.


The on-site investigation commenced on February 13, about 1100. The NTSB IIC was accompanied by an FAA aviation safety inspector. The accident site was in a broad river valley. The river had numerous heavily wooded islands, and large sand and gravel bars. The area where the impact occurred was heavily wooded, with tall evergreen and deciduous trees, as well as thick stands of willows The ground was soft sand. The airplane impacted the ground in a nose low, near vertical attitude at the base of an 8-inch diameter evergreen tree. The tree's roots had evidence of being cut, consistent with propeller strikes, and the tree fell, landing on a portion of the airplane's landing gear. A smell of aviation fuel permeated the area, and areas of fuel saturated ground were found. There was no postcrash fire. The right wing was standing on its leading edge, with the top of the wing wrapped counter-clockwise around a group of willows. The left wing was on the same side of the fuselage as the right wing. Both wings had aft crushing throughout their entire span. The wing flaps appeared to be in the retracted position. The nose and forward fuselage were crushed aft. The empennage was essentially intact. Continuity was established between the flight controls and their associated control surfaces. The engine exhaust manifold had areas of plastic folding. Both blades of the two-bladed, fixed pitch propeller, exhibited extreme bending, torsional twisting, chord-wise scratching, and areas that were completely sanded clean of paint.

No evidence of any preimpact mechanical problems were discovered during the investigation.


A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, 4500 S. Boniface Parkway, Anchorage, Alaska, on October 11, 2005. The examination revealed the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries. Tissue samples were sent to the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for toxicological examination. A review of available FAA medical records, autopsy, and toxicological results, did not disclose any evidence of any preimpact incapacitating medical conditions.


The airplane was not recovered from the accident site. No pieces or parts of the airplane were taken or retained by the NTSB.

Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR), Part 91.303, defines any abrupt change in an aircraft's attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration not necessary for normal flight as aerobatic flight. FAR Part 91.307(c) states that unless each occupant of an aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute an intentional maneuver that exceeds; (2) A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon.

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