NTSB Identification: ANC02LA004.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 30, 2001 in PORT HEIDEN, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-260, registration: N5573J
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial certificated pilot was transporting a barrel of aviation fuel to a remote airport. The fuel was intended for company use on CFR Part 135 flights scheduled for later in the day. The pilot said he noticed snow drifts across the approach end of the runway, and he decided to over-fly the area of drifted snow. The airplane touched down about 1,000 feet from the approach end. Because there was snow on the remaining portion of the runway, the pilot said he kept his roll-out speed higher than normal to avoid getting stuck in the snow. When the pilot attempted to fully retard the engine throttle, he said the engine idle would not go below about 1,500 rpm. The pilot said he saw the end of the runway approaching, and applied the brakes, but said there was no braking action. He said he then debated about shutting off the engine, applying full brakes, and sliding off the runway. The pilot said he applied full power to go-around. The airplane became momentarily airborne before colliding with a snow-covered gravel berm. The left wing of the airplane separated from the fuselage as it bounced upward. The airplane caught fire and came to rest inverted. Witnesses and pedestrians ran to the wreckage with fire extinguishers and pulled the pilot from the wreckage. The airplane was destroyed. Witnesses reported three airplanes landed before the arrival of the accident airplane. The witnesses said the accident airplane landed on the runway, but added engine power as it approached within about 300 feet of the end of the runway. The airplane appeared to become airborne to a height of about 18 inches, and did not gain any additional altitude. The airplane then collided with the gravel berm. The runway is 6,250 feet long, and 100 feet wide. An FAA NOTAM had been issued for the airport, stating, in part: "Patchy 1/2 inch of packed snow and ice on the runway; runway plowed 100 feet wide; 24 inch berms outside of plowed area."

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

The pilot's delay in aborting the landing. Factors in the accident were snow and ice on the runway surface, and the pilot's excessive taxi speed.

Full narrative available

Index for Oct2001 | Index of months