SEA00LA083
SEA00LA083

On May 3, 2000, approximately 1050 Pacific daylight time, a DeHavilland U-6A Beaver floatplane, N8523, registered to and being flown by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged when the aircraft's right wingtip contacted the water during the landing roll at Kenmore Air Harbor seaplane base (north Lake Washington), Kenmore, Washington. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. Winds were out of the south at 13 knots, gusting to 17 knots. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14CFR91, and originated from Anacortes, Washington, approximately 1010.

The pilot reported that he was landing to the south on Lake Washington in between a buoy and a yacht. The yacht was making approximately 2 to 3 knots speed heading south. He further stated that just as he "arrived at the predetermined touch down point, the yacht at almost the same moment applied full power, creating a large bow wave and instead of passing over the anticipated 4 to 6 inch wave, my left float hit a 2 to 3 foot wave, raising the left float and rocking the aircraft, causing my right wing to clip the bow wave. At the same moment I applied power, bringing the aircraft to a normal position."

Additionally, the pilot related that "when rotating a Beaver just prior to touch down forward visibility is cut off for a period of approximately 30 seconds until the aircraft settles in the water. At that time the pilot's visibility is limited to the left side and 90 degrees to the right. Therefore the power (bow) wave was not visible until approximately 5 seconds prior to impact." The aircraft remained upright and taxied to Kenmore Air Harbor. Post-crash examination revealed extensive skin wrinkling on the right wing surface.

A commercial pilot with DeHavilland Beaver experience reported that the water at the north end of Lake Washington was choppy the day of the accident due to the strong southerly winds. He also confirmed that when landing in such circumstances, and once the pilot has engaged the floats in the water, back pressure on the control column is applied to decelerate the aircraft as quickly as possible. This raises the nose of the aircraft and further obstructs forward vision, as the accident pilot described earlier.

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