NTSB Identification: ANC02FA038.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 26, 2002 in Lime Village, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N4347Z
Injuries: 2 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 certificated commercial pilot, with one passenger aboard, was departing on a cross-country personal flight from a remote, 1,300 foot-long, gravel-covered airstrip. A commercial pilot witness reported that as the accident airplane started its takeoff run to the southeast, the airplane's engine sounded "normal" as if it was producing full power. He added that as soon as the airplane began its takeoff roll, he saw a large thunderstorm cell approaching the airstrip from the northeast. High winds from the northeast and very heavy rain showers preceded the fast moving thunderstorm cell. The witness estimated that the fast moving thunderstorm cell passed over the departure end of the airstrip just as the accident airplane was departing. The airplane subsequently collided with tree-covered terrain about 1,500 feet beyond the departure end of the airstrip. A postcrash fire destroyed the airplane wreckage. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies.

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

The pilot's inadequate evaluation of weather and his inability to maintain aircraft control. A contributing factor was high winds due to thunderstorm outflow activity.



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