NTSB Identification: ANC01FA106.
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Accident occurred Monday, August 13, 2001 in Kotzebue, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Maule M-6-235, registration: N56467
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 certificated private pilot, with one passenger, was departing southbound from an airport under special VFR conditions. Witnesses reported that weather conditions to the south, and specifically in the direction of accident site, were momentarily much worse than that being reported at the airport. About two minutes after takeoff, the airplane collided with a 335 feet tall commerical radio antenna tower. The tower was situated about 395 feet above sea level, and located 4.3 nautical miles south of the departure airport. The tower was installed in 1986, and was depicted as an obstruction on the VFR aviation sectional map covering the area around the departure airport. The tower was painted in an alternating aviation orange/aviation white pattern. Two sets of red light fixtures were installed about the 110 and 220 feet levels. Each set of lights had two lamps. A large flashing red light fixture was installed at the top of the tower. One of the two light fixture lamps, located on the lower portion of the tower, was not operating, and was scheduled for replacement. However, the second light fixture lamp located at that this position was still operating. A light sensitive switch (photocell), was installed that would automatically turn the tower lights "ON" when the surrounding ambient light decreased, and would turn the tower lights "OFF" when ambient light increased. At the time of the accident, the lights were configured so that they were in the "ON" position 24 hours per day. The accident took place during daylight hours. The antenna complied with the governing FCC's rules and regulations regarding marking and lighting of antennas, as well as the FAA's obstruction standards.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance from an obstruction (antenna tower), and his continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Factors associated with the accident were low ceilings, and low visibility. Full narrative available
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