NTSB Identification: ANC05FA116.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 30, 2005 in Fairbanks, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 180, registration: N3188C
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 private pilot departed on a Title 14, CFR Part 91 cross-country personal flight en route to his remote lodge, so that his sole passenger, a heavy equipment mechanic, could work on equipment at the lodge. When the flight did not return at the prearranged time, an aerial and ground search was initiated. The wreckage was located 6 days later along the pilot's intended route, about 37 miles from the departure airport, and about 7 miles north of the pilot's remote lodge. The airplane had collided with tree covered terrain. A postimpact fire incinerated the airplane. Family members of the pilot reported that the pilot had undergone heart bypass surgery about 3 months before the accident. At the time of the accident, the pilot did not possess a valid medical certificate. A friend of the passenger reported that prior to departure, at the direction of the pilot, the airplane was loaded with six 5-gallon (plastic) fuel containers of diesel fuel, a 150 pound iron stove, the mechanic's tools, several bags of groceries, and a large cooler/ice chest. The friend reported that on previous flights with the accident pilot, the passenger felt uncomfortable because, "[the pilot] would never put a seat in for him." She said that he would routinely be required to sit on a plastic bucket or a small ice chest during the flight to the remote lodge. A single seat frame, located adjacent to the pilot's station, was discovered within the burned wreckage. The estimated gross weight of the airplane at the time of the accident was approximately 2,837 pounds, or about 287 pounds over the allowable gross weight. A toxicological examination of the pilot revealed the presence of Fluoxetine (trade name Prozac), a prescription antidepressant drug, whose usage is prohibited by the FAA.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient altitude/clearance from objects and terrain during cruise flight, which resulted in an in-flight collision with tree-covered terrain.

Full narrative available

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