On December 4, 1996, at 0954 Alaska standard time, a wheel equipped Cessna 172M, N20024, collided with terrain during takeoff from the Bethel Airport, Bethel, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country on-demand passenger flight to Napaskiak, Alaska, under Title 14 CFR Part 135 when the accident occurred. The airplane, registered to Village Aviation Inc., Bethel, and operated by Camai Air as flight number 24, sustained substantial damage. The certificated commercial pilot, and 2 passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. VFR company flight following procedures were in effect. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The operator reported that the airplane departed runway 11. The airplane lifted off the ground but would not climb. The airplane collided with snow covered tundra terrain about 1/8 mile from the departure end of the runway. The airplane received damage to the landing gear, fuselage, and right wing. The operator indicated that the pilot and a mechanic passenger observed the airplane lights flicker on and off and smelled an odor of overheated electrical wiring.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane at the accident site. No mechanical malfunction was noted. The FAA inspector reported the airplane was 120 pounds under maximum gross weight. The FAA also indicated the pilot reported rotating the airplane for takeoff at 60 to 65 MPH.
The closest official weather observation station is Bethel, Alaska. At 0952, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) was reporting in part: Wind, 330 degrees (true) at 9 knots; visibility, 10 miles; sky condition and ceiling, few clouds at 5,000 feet, few clouds at 20,000 feet; temperature, -4 degrees F; dew point, -10 degrees F; altimeter, 29.10 inHg.
At 1006, a special observation was reporting in part: Wind, 320 degrees (true) at 9 knots; visibility, 20 miles; sky condition and ceiling, few clouds at 5,000 feet, few clouds at 20,000 feet; temperature, -4 degrees F; dew point, -10 degrees F; altimeter, 29.10 inHg; remarks, aircraft mishap.
At 0953, the automatic terminal information service (ATIS) for the Bethel airport was reporting, in part: "Bethel Tower information foxtrot, at 0854; wind, 300 at 9 knots; visibility, 10 miles; sky condition and ceiling, few clouds at 5,000 feet; temperature, -20 C; dew point temperature, -24 C; altimeter, 29.08 inHg..."