ANC99LA050
ANC99LA050

On April 26, 1999, at 1332 Alaska daylight time, a float equipped Luscombe L-8F airplane, N45627, sustained substantial damage when it collided with trees, about 200 feet inland from Zachar Bay, approximately 25 miles southwest of Kodiak, Alaska. The private pilot sustained serious injuries, and the sole passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. The flight departed the pilot's cabin on Zachar Bay about 1330 for the local area. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot told the NTSB investigator-in-charge during a telephone interview on April 27, and wrote in his NTSB Pilot/Operator report, that during the initial climb after takeoff, he attempted to cross a ridge. He recognized the airplane was not gaining sufficient altitude to clear the terrain. He told the NTSB IIC he turned the airplane toward the bay in a steep bank, and noticed the terrain was closer than he had thought. He remembered the airplane entering the first 1/2 turn of a spin, and dropping into the trees. Both occupants exited the airplane, the pilot made a distress call from his handheld radio, and they were picked up by a passing airplane within five minutes of the accident. The pilot said the airplane was at the maximum gross weight of 1,375 pounds, and both he and the passenger were wearing shoulder harnesses. The pilot also stated there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

The pilot stated the engine was at full throttle, and the controls all functioned normally. The passenger told the NTSB IIC during a telephone interview on April 27, she thought she heard a snap and then the airplane did not want to stay in the air.

A pilot for the Alaska State Troopers who visited the site on April 27, described a separated elevator control cable, and a broken aileron bellcrank. These components were examined at the NTSB metallurgical laboratory, and revealed fracture surfaces indicative of overstress separation. No indications of progressive, or fatigue, failures were noted.

The state trooper pilot wrote in his case report he removed and weighed 75 pounds of cargo from the airplane. The trooper interviewed a friend of the accident pilot on April 29. According to the trooper, the pilot's friend said he went to the accident site on April 26 to secure the pilot's cabin, and removed the following items from the airplane: an 8 pound rifle, a 3 pound purse, a 5 pound survival pack, and 5 pound hip waders.

The pilot told the NTSB IIC the fuel tanks were full. The NTSB IIC estimated the takeoff weight of the airplane as follows: Empty weight of the airplane, 894 pounds, fuel, 180 pounds, pilot (from driver's license), 164 pounds, passenger (from driver's license), 150 pounds, cargo (removed by troopers), 75 pounds, cargo (removed by friends), 21 pounds, total at accident, 1,484 pounds, maximum allowable weight, 1,375 pounds.

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