NTSB Identification: ANC08LA039.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, March 04, 2008 in Nikolai, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150, registration: N985W
Injuries: 2 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 flight instructor was providing wilderness flying instruction to a private certificated student pilot. The student pilot said that he and the instructor were in the lead airplane of a flight of three. He said they were departing from a frozen lake, and that the takeoff area was mostly glare ice. The wind was gusting heavily, and the other two airplanes taxied out first. Both airplanes lost control, and spun into the wind. Since the others were having trouble maintaining directional control, the instructor told him to taxi to the center of the lake. He said he suggested taxiing farther down the lake to give them more takeoff length, but the instructor said no. The student pointed the airplane toward the lowest point in the hills surrounding the lake, and applied takeoff power. When the airplane reached flying speed, he pulled in full flaps as instructed. Approaching the hills they encountered gusts and downdrafts, the climb rate declined, and the instructor took the controls. The student asked if he should reduce the flaps, which were full down, and the instructor said no. The instructor turned the airplane to the left to avoid hitting the lodge. The airplane settled into the trees, and collided with a structure, receiving substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

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

The flight instructor's inadequate evaluation of the weather conditions. Contributing to the accident was an inadvertent stall/mush.

Full narrative available

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