ANC00LA073
ANC00LA073

On June 21, 2000, about 1345 Alaska daylight time, an experimental Blanc Glastar airplane, N2623B, sustained substantial damage when it collided with trees while maneuvering about 10 miles northeast of Northway, Alaska, at 63 degrees, 02.4 minutes north latitude, 141 degrees, 40.1 minutes west longtitude. The commercial pilot and sole passenger sustained minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91, and departed Whitehorse International Airport, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, about 1100, for Northway. En route to Northway, the flight landed at Beaver Creek, Canada. The flight departed Beaver Creek about 1245 for Northway. Beaver Creek does not fuel facilities. The pilot did not hold an instrument rating. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at both the accident site, and Northway, at the time of the accident. A VFR flight plan was filed.

The pilot contacted the FAA Northway Flight Service Station (FSS) about 1331, and reported he was 18 miles from Northway, on top of an overcast, and low on fuel. He estimated he had about four gallons of fuel. The FSS specialist on duty attempted to provide Direction Finding (DF) headings to the pilot, until the time that radio contact was lost. While communicating with the pilot, the FSS specialist told him that Beaver Creek was 45 miles to his southeast, and that the weather at Beaver Creek was reported to be VFR. The pilot replied he did not have enough fuel to return to Beaver Creek.

According to an FAA operations inspector who interviewed the pilot and passenger on June 21, both occupants indicated that they were able to descend below the overcast through an opening in the clouds. They also said they were unable to comply with the recommended headings provided to them by the FSS specialist due to the clouds and visibility. They said they descended to the level of the trees due to lowering ceilings, rain, and visibility, and finally contacted trees.

The pilot received a pilot weather briefing in person from NavCanada prior to the departure from Whitehorse. The Terminal Forecast for Northway included: 6 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 2,500 feet, and overcast clouds at 5,000 feet, with rain showers. Temporary conditions were forecast of 2,500 feet broken clouds, and light rain showers. This forecast was amended at 1100 to 6 miles visibility, with overcast ceilings at 1,400 feet. The actual weather at Northway at the time of the accident was visibility 1 1/2 miles in light rain, 1,000 feet broken, 1,300 feet overcast, with ceilings between 700 and 1,300 feet.

The pilot did not return either of the two NTSB Pilot/Operator reports which were sent to him.

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