On November 21, 1999, about 1422 Alaska standard time, a wheel equipped Cessna 150K airplane, N5730G, sustained substantial damage when it crashed into shallow water next to the Juneau International Airport, Juneau, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) local area instructional flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by the Juneau Flight School, Juneau. The instructor pilot and the student pilot received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations inspector, Juneau Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), reported the accident airplane was conducting several touch and go landings. According to the inspector, personnel in the Juneau Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) told him the airplane had been cleared for the option of landing, or performing a touch and go landing on runway 08. The airplane was observed by ATCT personnel to lift off and accelerate down the runway. The airplane then climbed upward at a steep, nose high attitude. The airplane then appeared to stall, and descend toward the ground. The airplane collided with water about 3 feet deep in a tidal area, in a nose down attitude. The airplane came to rest about 100 feet south of the extended centerline of runway 08. The airplane received damage to the right wing, the right main landing gear, and the empennage.
A witness described the airplane in a steep angle of climb, about 15 degrees short of vertical. The airplane then descended with a "rolling motion."
The FAA inspector conducted a telephone interview with the instructor pilot on November 22, 1999. According to the inspector, during the interview, the instructor pilot said she was having the student perform some touch and go landings. Following the third landing, she said the airplane accelerated to 110 mph, and she told the student to begin a climb at a higher than normal pitch attitude, but to not let the airspeed drop below 70. When the airspeed indicated 72 mph, the instructor said the student began to reduce the pitch angle, but the airplane encountered windshear, they lost all wind, and the airplane stalled. She said the airplane broke to the left and she applied right rudder. The airplane then rotated right. She reduced engine power, and leveled the wings about 2 inches above the ground.
The instructor pilot submitted a Pilot/Operator report (NTSB form 6120.1/2), and a written statement, dated December 10, 1999. In the statement, the instructor said the airplane was accelerated to 110 mph, and then a slightly high pitch climb was established. About 450 to 500 feet, at 72 mph, the instructor said the relative wind disappeared, the airspeed indicator went to zero, and the left wing violently stalled.
The student pilot submitted a written statement dated November 29, 1999. In the statement, he said the training flight included various maneuvers, and a return to the Juneau Airport for touch and go landings. Following the first touch and go, the instructor pilot asked for control of the airplane. The student said he took his feet and hands off the controls. The instructor applied full power, and climbed to about 100 feet. The instructor then pulled back on the control yoke, and the airplane climbed. The student said the airspeed indicator dropped to 60 mph. The airplane then stalled, and rolled right and then left. The airplane then struck the ground.
At 1352, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) at the Juneau Airport was reporting in part: Wind, 094 degrees magnetic at 13 knots, gusts to 20 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles in light rain; clouds and sky condition, 1,700 feet scattered, 3,000 feet overcast; temperature, 37 degrees F; dew point, 35 degrees F; altimeter, 29.61 inHg.
A METAR at 1432 was reporting in part: Wind, 094 degrees magnetic at 15 knots; visibility, 8 statute miles in light rain; clouds and sky condition, 2,000 feet scattered, 3,000 feet broken, 4,000 feet overcast; temperature, 37 degrees F; dew point, 35 degrees F; altimeter, 29.61 inHg.
After the crash, the instructor and the student were treated by emergency medical personnel. In his statement, the student said medical personnel asked him if he had taken any medication in the previous 24 hours. He answered "no." He heard the same question being asked of the instructor, to which she replied, "Vicodin."
Vicodin is a narcotic pain medication.
The FAA inspector initiated an inquiry through the FAA's Alaska Regional Flight Surgeon, about the instructor pilot's use of Vicodin. He learned the instructor had taken Vicodin the evening before the accident flight for back pain. On previous medical certificate applications, the instructor has disclosed her use of the drug, as needed, for back pain. She was cautioned by the FAA that the operation of an airplane is prohibited for 36 hours after use of the medication. The FAA's flight surgeon reported he did not feel the use of the drug would have contributed to the accident.