NTSB Identification: ANC12LA061
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 30, 2012 in Bettles, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/11/2012
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND BEAVER DHC-2 MK.1, registration: N63562
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.

According to the pilot, he parked his tailwheel-equipped airplane on a remote gravel bar adjacent to a river, and, during the night, the rising water submerged the airplane’s main wheels and empennage. The pilot reported that, the following morning, while trying to taxi the airplane from the river, “the tires were lurching, and the tail was underwater.” He said that he increased the engine power to lift the tail and applied heavy braking action to control the airplane as he taxied downstream and downwind. The airplane then lurched forward again, and the tail lifted as the propeller struck the water, and the airplane nosed over.
Photographs showed that the airplane was about 20 feet from the shore and positioned on a heading aligned with the estimated approach path for landing on the adjacent gravel bar. Evidence of minimal damage on the propeller blades is consistent with a low engine-power setting at the time of the nose over. The main landing gear wheel tracks that led up to the wreckage were visible in the gravel beneath the shallow river water and that the tracks came from a direction consistent with an approach to the gravel bar from over the river.
All of the physical evidence is consistent with the airplane having touched down in the water short of the desired touchdown point during an attempted landing on the gravel bar.

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

The pilot’s failure to properly judge the airplane’s distance and altitude from the landing location during the final approach, which resulted in an undershoot and a nose over.

Full narrative available

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