ANC98TA083
ANC98TA083

On June 22, 1998, about 1213 Alaska daylight time, a tundra tire and tail wheel equipped Piper PA-18 airplane, N745, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from a remote area of beach on Unimak Island, about 58 miles southwest of Cold Bay, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) government flight under Title 14 CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was registered to the Office of Aviation Services, U.S. Department of Interior, and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The certificated commercial pilot, and the sole passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on June 23, 1998, an investigator with the Office of Aviation Services, Boise, Idaho, reported the pilot was departing a beach area in Urilla Bay, on Unimak Island. The pilot was picking up an Alaska State Department of Public Service, Fish and Wildlife Protection Aide from the beach, for transportation to Cold Bay. The aide was conducting surveillance of an Alaskan fishery.

In the pilot/operator report (NTSB form 6120.1/2), the pilot stated he began a takeoff roll toward the west, paralleling the shoreline. A crosswind from the southwest, between 12 to 14 knots, was blowing from the beach toward the water. During the takeoff the tail came up slowly, and the airplane veered to the right. The pilot applied left aileron and rudder in an effort to maintain directional control of the airplane. The airplane dropped off the edge of a 5 foot high sand dune, and touched down in an area of hard, wet sand. The airplane ground looped to the right, and came to rest 160 degrees from the original departure heading. The airplane received damage to the left wing, fuselage, and the left horizontal stabilizer.

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