On July 12, 1994, at 2215 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Piper PA-18-150 airplane, N1257, registered to and operated by the pilot, nosed over during takeoff from a sandy beach located near Newtok, Alaska. The personal flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 91, was departing the sandy beach area for another point on the beach. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the Private Certificated Pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured.

According to the Alaska State Trooper Report, case number 94-44531, the pilot, Richard O. Burns Jr., of Palmer, Alaska, stated they needed to make a "pit stop" and they noticed a dead walrus on the beach. He decided to land near the walrus. The landing was uneventful. Since it was getting late, he decided to return to a previous encampment and collect their belongings. He left his passenger, his father, on the beach prior to the takeoff.

The pilot stated that he had large tundra tires on the airplane's landing gear and the surface did not pose any problem during landing or taxiing. He paced off the takeoff area and determined he had approximately 160 to 170 yards available for the takeoff run. He taxied up onto the tundra, began his takeoff run and when the airplane's wheels rolled from the tundra onto the soft beach sand, the airplane nosed over.

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

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