ANC93LA096
ANC93LA096

On June 18, 1993, at 1430 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Piper PA-32-300 airplane, N30505, registered to and operated by L.A.B. Flying Service of Haines, Alaska, crashed into a glacier while attempting to fly through a pass near the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. The air taxi flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 135, departed Skagway, Alaska and the destination was Juneau. A company visual flight rules flight plan had been filed and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The airplane was substantially damaged and the Pilot-in-Command and 4 passengers were not injured. One passenger received minor injuries.

According to the Pilot-in-Command, he was following another airplane through the pass. He attempted to follow that airplane, but lost sight of it and flew through the wrong pass. The pilot stated he inadvertently flew into the clouds. He started a 180 degree turn and he slowed the airplane's speed and began a descent. He saw the snow and landed under control on the surface of the glacier.

According to the Chief Pilot, he had flown a training flight with the pilot and showed him the pass and the procedures to be used. The company also has a video tape which outlines the company policy and procedures for mountain flying and pass penetration. The company training manual does not reference the video tape, however, the Chief Pilot stated he ensures that every pilot views the video tape annually.

According to the Chief Pilot the pass in which the accident occurred is one that is commonly used. The procedure they use is to approach the pass in such a fashion that a pilot would be able to turn away and exit the pass. When this procedure is used, the airplane would have to make a slight turn to go through the pass. In this case, the airplane would have made a right turn to go through the pass. The Pilot-in-Command estimated his following distance behind as 3 to 5 miles.

A review of the company training manual showed no reference to training in mountainous terrain or mountain pass operation, however, the "Transition Ground Training" check sheet and the "Initial Ground Training" check sheet make reference to "procedures for recognizing and avoiding severe weather situations; escaping from severe weather situations, in case of inadvertent encounters, including low-altitude windshear...."

The Company Operations Manual does not address minimum weather operations, mountain operations, or mountain pass operations.

The toxicological results were negative.

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