ANC00LA047
ANC00LA047

On April 16, 2000, about 1100 Alaska daylight time, a ski equipped Piper PA-12 airplane, N3697M, sustained substantial damage while landing at an off airport site, about 23 miles southwest of Delta Junction, Alaska, at 63 degrees 24 minutes north latitude, 146 degrees 21 minutes west longitude. The certificated private pilot, and the one passenger aboard, were not injured. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated about 1000, from the Fairbanks International Airport, Fairbanks, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on April 19, the pilot reported that during approach to land on a large, featureless, and snow-covered glacier, he momentarily lost visual reference due to flat light conditions. He said that he was unable to judge his descent rate, and the airplane's right ski struck the surface of the glacier. The right main landing gear collapsed, and the right wing struck the surface of the glacier. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing, and fuselage.

The pilot said that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

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