On May 21, 1997, about 1313 Alaska daylight time, a float equipped Cessna 180F, N2175Z, crashed during landing at Ketchikan, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) local area business flight under Title 14 CFR Part 91 when the accident occurred. The airplane, registered to and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, Juneau Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), reported the pilot loaded cargo into the airplane while docked at the Ketchikan International Airport. The pilot utilizes the airplane in support of a logging operation. The pilot departed in an eastbound direction toward the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base.

In a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported he was in the landing approach with full flaps. About 100 feet above the water, the airplane encountered a strong downdraft. The pilot applied full power but the airplane continued to descend. The airplane contacted the water, the right float partially submerged, and the right wing struck the water. The floats separated from the fuselage and the airplane then sank.

At 1253, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) from the Ketchikan Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) was reporting in part: Wind, 110 degrees (true) at 9 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition and ceiling, 5,000 feet scattered, 20,000 feet scattered; temperature, 68 degrees F; dew point, 26 degrees F; altimeter, 30.07 inHg; remarks, harbor wind, 140 degrees at 12 knots with gusts to 20 knots.

An NTSB pilot/operator report (NTSB form 6120.1/2) was not returned by the pilot.

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