NTSB Identification: ANC13FAMS1
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 13, 2012 in Kenai, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-150, registration: N444LZ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

The solo student pilot likely departed during dark night conditions on a personal, visual flight rules, cross-country flight between two Alaskan communities. An Alaska state trooper said that, during his initial investigation, he learned that the pilot was asked by security personnel to leave a bar after a disturbance with other bar patrons. The bar security guard stated that the “very intoxicated” individual left in a taxicab about midnight. The taxicab driver reported that, just after midnight, he drove the pilot to the airport. The taxicab driver stated that the pilot told him that he intended to sleep in the airplane overnight, which was something that he had done many times before.
A review of archived radar data revealed that, about 0137, an unidentified aircraft, believed to be the missing airplane, departed from the airport. After departure, the radar target initially proceeded southeast of the airport before it turned and flew west, then northeast, before making a series of erratic turns, along with several changes in speed, heading, and altitude. Eventually, the radar target proceeded northwest over a saltwater inlet, before turning back to the northeast. The last position of the radar target was recorded about 0248, roughly mid-channel, while in a descent over the inlet, about 30 miles north of the departure airport. The area of the presumed crash site experiences extreme tides and strong currents, with reduced visibility due to turbidity. An extensive search was conducted, but the airplane has been declared missing and is presumed to have crashed; the student pilot is presumed to have received fatal injuries.

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

Undetermined. The airplane and pilot were not found.

Full narrative available

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