NTSB Identification: ANC01LA044.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 29, 2001 in Cooper Landing, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-12, registration: N4028H
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The certificated commercial pilot was flying the first airplane in a flight of two airplanes over an area of snow-covered terrain. He said that as the flight progressed, weather conditions worsened as they entered an area of mountainous terrain. He said that as both airplanes progressed along the intended route, weather conditions were about 300 feet overcast, and visibility about 3 miles. The accident pilot said that as he flew over a large and featureless snow-covered lake, he was maintaining visual reference to the ground by using terrain features on the lake shoreline on the right side of the airplane. He reported that as weather conditions worsened, he radioed the second airplane that he was turning around. He began a left turn, and during the turn, he said he lost all visual reference to the frozen, snow-covered lake. He added that he was able to level the wings just before colliding with the surface of the snow-covered lake.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument metrological conditions during cruise flight. Factors associated in the accident were low ceilings, whiteout conditions, and snow-covered terrain.

Full narrative available

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