NTSB Identification: ANC13CA060
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 30, 2013 in Talkeetna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-12, registration: N3885M
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 stated that he was en route to a remote cabin site, and he made a wrong turn into a box canyon. As he flew farther into the canyon, he had to initiate a climb to avoid rising terrain ahead, and the airplane subsequently climbed into an area of light rain, fog, and reduced visibility. He said that as he was attempting to turn the airplane around, the left wing impacted terrain, and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing, fuselage, and empennage. The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The airplane was equipped with a required emergency locator transmitter (ELT), however, it was an older generation ELT that transmitted only on 121.5 megahertz, not the newer, digital version that transmits on 406 megahertz.

As of February 2009, the search and rescue satellites that receive ELT signals no longer had the capability to receive the older analog 121.5 megahertz ELTs. The 406 megahertz ELTs are received within seconds of activation, and rescuers are notified within minutes of the accident location.

In this accident, the pilot and passenger were missing for approximately 24 hours before searchers were able to locate the wreckage.

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

The pilot's loss of situational awareness, which resulted in a wrong turn into a box canyon, and an in flight collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

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