NTSB Identification: ANC13LA009
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 11, 2012 in Akiachak, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-150, registration: N8466Y
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot departed on a flight between two remote Alaskan communities; however, because of deteriorating weather conditions along the flight route, he decided to return to his home airport. During the return flight, the pilot became concerned about his remaining fuel and diverted to an alternate airport. When he reached that airport, he elected not to land because he believed that he had enough fuel to reach his home airport. As the flight continued, the engine lost power, but the pilot was able to switch fuel tanks and restart the engine. While maneuvering to land at the closest airport, all engine power was lost, and the pilot selected an off-airport, snow-and tree-covered area for a forced landing. He said that during the approach, the airplane stalled and collided with terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, lift struts, and fuselage.

The pilot also reported that while en route to the alternate airport, the instrument panel-mounted carbon monoxide detector turned black. According to the carbon monoxide detector manufacturer, a positive indication for carbon monoxide would be indicated by the detector showing yellow, green, or dark blue color. Any other color would indicate that the detector was contaminated or outdated. No expiration date was recorded on the accident airplane's carbon monoxide detector. A postaccident examination of the airplane’s muffler and cabin heater muff did not disclose any leaks or mechanical anomalies. Therefore, it is unlikely that there was a problem with carbon monoxide during the flight.

The pilot indicated that there were no preaccident mechanical problems with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation and noted that the loss of engine power was due to fuel exhaustion.

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

The pilot's inadequate fuel planning, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion, and the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the subsequent forced landing, which resulted in an inadvertent stall.

Full narrative available

Index for Nov2012 | Index of months