NTSB Identification: ANC11CA097
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 04, 2011 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/27/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-12, registration: N3654M
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was attempting to land on an unlighted, gravel runway, at dusk, when he inadvertently touched down in a grass-covered drainage ditch, which was right of the gravel runway. During the landing roll, the airplane collided with a drainage culvert, sustaining substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. The pilot noted in his written statement to the NTSB that he was unable to discern the difference between the gravel runway and grass-covered terrain due to the low-light conditions, and he mistakenly selected the grass-covered ditch. The pilot indicated that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

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

The pilot's misidentification of the runway environment in dusk light conditions.

Full narrative available

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