NTSB Identification: ANC12FA083
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Thursday, August 02, 2012 in Hoonah, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-301, registration: N8200M
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.
On August 2, 2012, about 0800 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-32-301 airplane, N8200M, sustained substantial damage when it collided with tree-covered terrain during cruise flight, about 10 miles north-northwest of Hoonah, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by Air Excursions, Juneau, Alaska, as a visual flight rules (VFR) cargo flight, under Code of Federal Regulations Part 135, when the accident occurred. The solo airline transport pilot received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure, and company VFR flight following procedures were in effect. The airplane departed Juneau, about 0730 as flight 303, bound for Gustavus, Alaska.
The area between Juneau and Gustavus consists of remote inland fjords, coastal waterways, and steep mountainous tree-covered terrain.
During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on August 2, the director of operations for Air Excursions reported that during the flight, contact was lost with the airplane. When the airplane failed to reach its destination, a search was initiated. Subsequently, the wreckage was located in a densely wooded area along the airplane's route to its destination. The pilot had not reported any mechanical anomalies.
Another Air Excursions pilot flying in the area at the time of the accident reported hearing the accident pilot making routine position reports on the airplane's radio just prior to the accident.
On August 4, the NTSB IIC examined the airplane's wreckage at the accident site. The debris field extended about 300 feet, on a heading of 190 degrees, in an area of dense tree-covered terrain. Large sections of the airplane's fragmented structure remained suspended in the tall trees. Control continuity could not be established at the accident site. A detailed wreckage exam is pending following recovery.
The closest weather reporting facility was the Hoonah Airport, about 10 miles south-southeast of the accident site. About 4 minutes before the accident, at 0756, a weather observation from the Hoonah Airport was reporting, in part: Wind, 060 degrees (true) at 6 knots; visibility, 4 statute miles with light rain and mist; clouds and sky condition, 2,300 feet few, 3,300 feet overcast; temperature, 55 degrees F; dew point, 54 degrees F; altimeter, 30.15 inches Hg.
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