On June 28, 1994, at approximately 1600 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain airplane, N41185, operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by Brice, Inc., of Fairbanks, Alaska, landed short of the marked runway threshold at Sheldon Point, Alaska. The commercial certificated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured, however the airplane sustained substantial damage. The business flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 91, originated at Fairbanks on an IFR flight plan via St. Marys, Alaska, and on the final leg from St. Marys to Sheldon Point, no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

During a telephone interview with the NTSB Investigator-in- charge, the pilot identified himself as the chief pilot for the company which he said specialized in runway construction. The pilot stated that he undershot the raised threshold which was marked by two cones placed below the actual threshold lip. Preliminary damage assessment included substantial damage to the main landing gear assembly and flaps. He categorized the airstrip as "a poor strip for Navajo's."

According to photographs provided by the Pilot, the runway is a gray colored gravel and is raised approximately 5 feet above the terrain just prior to the runway's threshold. The terrain from the threshold slopes away at approximately a 7 to 8 degree slope. The threshold is marked by two single orange cones, one placed on each side of the runway just at the crest of the slope and at the runway's threshold. However, this airstrip is located in a "Bush" Community where maintenance and placement of the threshold markers is dependent on various factors. The runway is owned, operated, and maintained by the State of Alaska and the requirement is that the runway thresholds be marked with a total of 6 orange cones, three placed on each side of the runway, or by an alternate method consisting of a chevron panel, one on each side of the runway. The runway is 2200 feet long and 45 feet wide.

According to the PA-31 flight manual, at a gross weight of 6500 pounds, on a paved dry level runway, the distance required for landing over a 50 obstacle is approximately 1600 feet. There were no obstacles at the approach end of runway 20.

This accident was investigated by Douglas Herlihy and written by George Kobelnyk.

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