NTSB Identification: ANC09LA035
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 25, 2009 in Palmer, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/22/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-135, registration: N3256B
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 uncertificated pilot was on a Title 14, CFR Part 91, local area flight in a tundra tire-equipped airplane. The pilot reported that after landing on a mud-covered tidal beach, while attempting to turn the airplane around for taxi, a gust of wind lifted the tail of the airplane, and it nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing lift strut, fuselage, and rudder. The pilot noted that shortly after the accident he and some friends were able to right the airplane, and he flew it back to his home airport. Witnesses camped on a beach next to the tidal flats reported to the that the airplane was first seen flying recklessly, and very close to the water, then they saw the airplane "ski" across the water, with the airplane's main wheels touching the surface of the water. The witnesses said that after five or six touch-and-go “ski” landings on the water, of which they took a video, the airplane's main wheels struck a sand bar, and it nosed over in shallow water. When the witnesses arrived to check on the condition of the pilot, the pilot told the witnesses, in part: "Don't call the cops." The investigation revealed that the accident pilot's third-class medical had been administratively denied due to two previous convictions of driving while intoxicated (DWI) within the last 10 years. According to State court records the pilot was charged and convicted of DWI in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Additionally, about 8 month before the accident, the pilot was charged with a fourth DWI, which is a felony.

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

The non-certificated pilot’s decision to attempt to "ski" atop a water-covered tidal area in an airplane equipped with over-sized main landing gear tires, resulting in a loss of control and a nose over.

Full narrative available

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