NTSB Identification: ANC08FA079
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 29, 2008 in Wasilla, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/28/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18, registration: N2581P
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Minor.

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 and passenger were returning to the pilot's private airstrip after a local personal flight. A witness said that about 20 minutes after the airplane had departed, it returned overhead, circled the airstrip once, then began an approach for landing to the south, which required a correction for a left crosswind. As the airplane passed over the approach end of the airstrip, its approach became unstable and it drifted to the right, towards a stand of large trees that bordered the airstrip. Just before the airplane touched down, the engine power increased significantly, the nose pitched up, and it began a steep climb. The witness said that the airplane's right wing struck a 75-foot-tall tree, which pivoted the airplane to the right, and it descended nose first into dense woods. Witnesses stated that at the time of the accident, there were gusty winds between 25 and 30 knots, with rapid direction changes. Examination of the airplane did not disclose any preimpact mechanical malfunction.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control while landing in a gusty crosswind.

Full narrative available

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