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N8510C accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Delta Junction, AK
64.037778°N, 145.732222°W

Tail number N8510C
Accident date 30 Jun 1994
Aircraft type Piper PA-22
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 30, 1994, at 2154 Alaska daylight time, a conventional wheel equipped Piper PA-22 airplane, N8510C, registered to and operated by the pilot-in-command, crashed in the Tanana River, approximately 1 1/2 miles downstream from the confluence of the Little Delta River near Delta Junction, Alaska. The coordinates of the accident site are North 61 degrees 17 minutes, West 146 degrees 43 minutes. The private certificated pilot and his two passengers, the sole occupants, received fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. The flight last departed the Big Delta airstrip, a privately owned facility, at about 2132. The pleasure flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 for the purpose of searching for a boat on the Tanana River that belonged to the pilot which had come loose from its mooring several days earlier. An eye/ear witness to the accident characterized the weather as clear with calm and/or light wind. There was no flight plan in effect.


The eye/ear witness, a former U.S. Air Force aircraft crew chief, observed the airplane from the vantage point of a gravel bar near the mouth of the Little Delta River. The airplane approached the area as if it were coming from Big Delta. The plane was heading north going down river at an altitude estimated to be 300 feet above the ground. The speed at which the plane was traveling was characterized as slow. The attitude of the airplane was characterized as nose high/tail low. The engine was cutting out like the fuel mixture was leaned too thin. The airplane banked slightly to the left then descended quickly towards the water. The plane made at least one turn before impacting the water at a steep nose low attitude and sank within a matter of seconds. State law enforcement officers arrived at the airplane about 1 1/2 hours afterwards. The airplane was found submerged, held fast by a log jam near a sand bar roughly 1 mile down stream from the point of the initial impact.


Stanley Baranoski, date of birth September 19, 1947, was the holder of private pilot certificate No. 31343301, issued August 24, 1985 with the limitations and privileges of airplane single engine land. His third class medical certificate issued October 16, 1992 was void of limitations. On August 29, 1992, he completed a biannual flight review (BFR) in N8510C. Entries from his personal pilot log provided by his family show that as of June 26, 1994, he had accrued 346 total flight hours of which about 242 were in the accident aircraft.


Airplane N8510C, having serial number 22-1225, was manufactured in 1953. The airplane was registered to Stanley Baranoski on November 20, 1986. FAA records show no previous accident/incident history for the airplane.

No documentation or otherwise information was found that provided information on the amount of fuel on board the airplane or the manner in which the plane was loaded at the time of the accident.

The airframe and engine records were provided by the pilot's family. The only maintenance entry in the airframe log reflected a date of May 1982 for an annual inspection. Family members reported the existence of a second log but could not find it. The engine records show that the engine underwent an annual inspection on September 7, 1993. At that time the engine had accrued a total of 96 hours since major overhaul. The total engine tachometer time was 2260. On January 31, 1990, the plane's Avco Lycoming O-320 engine, SN: L-4558-27, was modified IAW STC SA1949CE for the use of auto gas. The engine records showed no recurring maintenance entries.


The NTSB investigator-in-charge visited the wreckage site on July 14, 1994. Mr. Clifford Smart from the FAA's FSDO-01 participated in the on scene investigation. The plane was found near a log jam and sandbar about 1 mile from the point it had initially descended into the water. The depth and flow rate of the water in the immediate area was estimated to be 3 1/2 to 4 feet and from 6 to 10 knots, respectively. The plane was inverted. The lower portion of the forward fuselage, the main landing gear assembly, and one propeller blade were the central structures that protruded above the surface of the water. The propeller blade displayed no gross damage and/or deformation. Attempts at moving the wreckage with the aid of a mechanical hoist nearer to the sandbar for a closer and safer examination were not successful. Consequently, the decision was made to revisit the wreckage, which had been tied by rope to the log jam, when the depth and velocity of the river had subsided. The wreckage subsequently broke loose and despite a diligent search has not been relocated.


The cause of death for the pilot was determined by the State of Alaska, Office of the Medical Examiner to be directly related to injuries sustained in the accident. Toxicological testing on tissue samples were negative for alcohol, major drugs of abuse, and prescription and over the counter medications.

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