NTSB Identification: ANC95FA101.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, July 07, 1995 in HAINES, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/21/1996
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N6281J
Injuries: 6 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

AFTER DEPARTING ON AN AIR TOUR FLIGHT, THE PILOT CIRCLED ABOUT 700 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG A SHORELINE TO OBSERVE A MOOSE. AT THE TIME, THE PILOT WAS IN RADIO COMMUNICATION WITH ANOTHER AIR TOUR PILOT WHO WAS ABOUT 1/2 MILE IN TRAIL. AFTER COMPLETING THE TURN ABOVE THE MOOSE, THE PILOT WAS OBSERVED BY THE IN-TRAIL PILOT TO BEGIN A DESCENT. THE ACCIDENT PILOT RADIOED TO THE IN-TRAIL PILOT THAT HE WANTED TO CIRCLE AROUND A BEAR AND HER CUBS ON THE SHORELINE. THE IN-TRAIL PILOT, AS WELL AS A GROUND WITNESS, OBSERVED THE ACCIDENT AIRPLANE INITIATE TURNS TOWARD RAPIDLY RISING TERRAIN, THEN LEVEL THE WINGS AND CLIMB IN A NOSE-HIGH ATTITUDE TOWARD THE RISING TERRAIN. THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED TREES ABOUT 500 FEET ABOVE THE SHORELINE. NO DISTRESS CALLS WERE REPORTED. EXAMINATION OF THE WRECKAGE DID NOT REVEAL ANY EVIDENCE OF A PREIMPACT MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION. AN ON-SHORE WIND OF ABOUT 10 KNOTS PREVAILED AT THE TIME. THE DIRECTOR OF FLIGHT OPERATIONS STATED THAT HE RECOMMENDS TO HIS PILOTS TO NOT CIRCLE GAME DURING FLIGHTSEEING FLIGHTS.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AN ADEQUATE ALTITUDE ABOVE AND CLEARANCE FROM THE SURROUNDING TERRAIN. A FACTOR RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S IMPROPER DECISION TO CONDUCT THE MANEUVER IN SUCH CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE RISING TERRAIN.

Full narrative available

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