NTSB Identification: ANC03LA019.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 18, 2002 in Soldotna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Swearingen SA-226T, registration: N55ZP
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

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 two certificated airline transport pilots were positioning the airplane for a medical transport flight. The captain said that during his preflight weather briefing, the dispatcher informed him that there was a current Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) concerning 6 inches of loose snow on the runway at the destination airport. The dispatcher said that he had called the airport maintenance manager, at his home, in order to check on the current status of the runway. According to the dispatcher, the airport manager confirmed that there were 6 inches of snow on the runway, and stated that the runway would not be plowed until the next morning. The dispatcher reported to the captain that the airport maintenance manager said: "there were small planes going in and out of there all day, and that conditions were okay." According to the airport maintenance manager, he received a call from the operator's dispatcher, at home, requesting an updated report on the runway conditions. He said that he confirmed that there was still about 5-1/2 inches of snow on the runway, and that it would not be removed until early the next morning. He said that he told the dispatcher: "landing would be at your own risk." The captain said that just after touchdown, the airplane's main landing gear dug into the deep snow, and the airplane experienced a rapid deceleration. He said that the airplane tracked down the centerline on the runway for about 900 feet, but eventually veered to the left. The left propeller struck a runway edge light, and the airplane continued off the left side of the runway, down an embankment, and into an area of tree-covered terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. Both flight crewmembers noted that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

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

The flightcrew's selection of an unsuitable landing area, which resulted in a loss of directional control and an on ground encounter with terrain. A factor associated with the accident was a snow-covered, unplowed runway.

Full narrative available

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