NTSB Identification: CHI99FA332.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 01, 1999 in NEGUANEE, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/30/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-12, registration: N91901
Injuries: 1 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.

The floatplane impacted a microwave tower at 2040 edt while maneuvering 1/4 mile from the lake where it typically landed. Official sunset was 2030 and the sun's azimuth was 283 degrees. The pilot had 'Defective distant vision, right eye, 20/60, uncorrectable.' A witness reported, 'It appeared as though he was doing a circle back towards his house-a routine I had seen him do many times before. This time ... he seemed to be flying much lower, closer to the trees, than usual. The witness reported, 'He appeared to have circled around again, and this time the engine was revved up considerably higher. Again, his flight was uncharacteristically low. I wondered whether it was [the pilot] flying the plane because I'd never seen him fly like this before.' He reported, 'I went into the house and within a few minutes I heard what sounded like a rifle blast.' The left pontoon was located about 46 feet from the base of the tower. It exhibited cable scratching and crushing and bending of its main strut. The main wreckage was located about 120 feet from the base of the tower. The inspection revealed no airframe or engine pre-impact anomalies. The propeller exhibited chordwise scratching, leading edge gouging, 'S' bending, and blade tip curl. The side lights on the tower were observed operating the night of the accident after the airplane had impacted the tower.

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

the pilot failed to maintain clearance from the tower.

Full narrative available

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