NTSB Identification: WPR11FA103
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 22, 2011 in Stanwood, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA T206H, registration: N142HF
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

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.

According to the pilot, he was part of a flight of three amphibious float-equipped airplanes flying to a nearby lake after departure from a land-based airport. The pilot reported that this was his first time landing on the lake and that he was in trail behind the other two airplanes. The other two airplanes landed successfully, and as he approached the lake for a landing between the wakes made by the other airplanes, his son distracted him and he forgot to retract the landing gear for the water landing. He said that during touchdown, the nose of the airplane dipped. When he reached to retract the flaps and applied back pressure, the airplane nosed over, became submerged and subsequently filled with water. During a follow-up interview with the pilot, he reported that he does use a checklist, but could not recall raising the landing gear, verifying its position prior to landing or hearing the audible landing gear position-warning alert.

Postaccident examination of the recovered airplane revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that 12 days prior to the accident flight, he had suffered a loss of a close family member. The pilot stated that after the accident, he realized that coping with this loss affected his ability to focus his attention and degraded the quality of his sleep in the days before the event. The pilot further stated that it had been more clear to him post accident, as his "sleep deprivation had become very obvious."

With the pilot's attention focused on the two aircraft previously landing on the lake and engaged conversation with his passenger, it is likely that the pilot's attention was diverted from verifying the landing gear position prior to the water landing. In addition, the pilot’s loss of a close family member in the days before the accident likely degraded his performance.

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

The pilot did not confirm retraction of the landing gear before landing on water as a result of distraction. Contributing to the accident was the pilot coping with the death of a close family member in the days before the accident, which resulted in a self-reported disruption in the quality of sleep.

Full narrative available

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