On October 7, 1993, at approximately 1735 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Helio Courier H-391-B airplane, N173K, crashed in Beaver Creek while attempting an engine-out emergency landing on a gravel bar. Beaver Creek is 60 miles magnetic north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The airplane, operated by Transporter Alaska, Inc., had departed Fort Yukon at 1700 while on a positioning flight operating under 14 CFR Part 91 on a VFR flight plan in visual meteorological conditions. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot was rescued by an Alaska Air National Guard Pavehawk 60 helicopter and was flown to Fairbanks, Alaska. He told the NTSB that while en route to Fairbanks at 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl), the engine lost fuel pressure and then lost power. The pilot said that he attempted an emergency landing on a gravel bar; however, he could not stretch the glide "once the propeller stopped turning." He said he "completely missed" the touchdown point and crash landed in the creek. The aircraft remained upright and sustained substantial damage. He said that the flight was carrying only personal survival equipment at the time and was returning from a revenue flight to Fort Yukon.
The Pilot/Operator did not submit an NTSB 6120.1/2.
According to Brian Staurseth, FAA Inspector for FSDO 01, Fairbanks, Alaska, the Pilot stated he had 10 gallons of fuel in the left tank and 15 gallons of fuel in the right tank. the Pilot stated the airplane did not run out of fuel. He did state that during his glide he allowed the airspeed to dissipate below 65 knots. Once below 65 knots, the slats automatically extend. The Pilot/Operator's manual warns about reducing the airspeed below 65 knots in an engine out operation. It states that once below 65 knots and the slats extended, the airplane's glide path steepens considerably.
The airplane wreckage was not inspected and the amount of fuel could not be determined because the airplane landed in a river. Before anyone could reach the wreckage, the river rose and submerged the airplane completely.
This accident was investigated by Douglas Herlihy, who has left the Agency and compiled by George Kobelnyk of the Northwest Field Office.