NTSB Identification: ANC05LA036.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 16, 2005 in Talkeetna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N9071D
Injuries: 1 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 commercial certificated pilot was departing a snow-covered frozen lake in a ski-equipped airplane. The lake was covered by about one-and-a-half feet of snow. The pilot said the lake is about 1/4 mile long, and he was taking off toward the east. During the takeoff run, as the airplane was about to lift off, the left ski struck a bump, or unseen object of some kind in the snow. The left ski tip rotated downward, to a near vertical position, and the pilot indicated that the ski tip retaining cable and bungee were dangling loose. The pilot made an emergency landing on the lake, and during the touchdown, the tip of the left ski dug into the snow. The airplane nosed over and received substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and empennage.

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

The pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain for takeoff, which resulted in ski assembly damage during the takeoff run from a frozen, snow-covered lake, and subsequent nose over during an emergency landing. Factors contributing to the accident were an overload failure of the ski tip retaining assembly, and a hidden obstruction on the surface of the lake.

Full narrative available

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