HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On December 27, 2000, about 1400 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Champion 8GCBC airplane, N7100C, is presumed to have crashed about 13 miles southwest of Juneau, Alaska. Neither the airplane or its occupants have been located. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) instructional flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane is presumed to have been destroyed. The first pilot, who was a certificated flight instructor, and the second pilot, who was a certificated private pilot, are presumed to have received fatal injuries. The airplane was owned by the second pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the point of departure, and a VFR flight plan was filed. The accident flight originated at the Juneau International Airport, Juneau, about 1335.
During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on January 3, the owner of the flight school that employed the flight instructor stated that the purpose of the flight was to provided a biennial flight review (BFR) to the second pilot. The airplane failed to return to the Juneau International Airport, and was reported overdue about 1457. Search personnel began an extensive search along the flight's anticipated route of flight. The anticipated flight path would have covered an area over 13 miles of ocean waters.
On December 29, two aircraft tires, along with a small portion of wood, believed to be part of the accident airplane's wooden wing spar, were located in the waters of Young Bay, along the north shore of Admiralty Island, about 13 miles southwest of Juneau. No other portion of the airplane has been found.
A review of telephone weather briefings from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA), Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS), Juneau, revealed that the second pilot telephoned the AFSS on December 27, about 1211. The second pilot initially requested to file a VFR flight plan from Juneau en route to the area of Young Bay and Barlow Cove, and return to Juneau. After the AFSS specialist received the second pilot's flight plan information, the AFSS specialist asked the second pilot if he would like a briefing of the current weather conditions, and the pilot agreed. The AFSS specialist, stated in part: "Okay, well let's see, let me give you this latest pilot report that we just had ah, one of the guys took off and tried to head to Hoonah I think from Haines Air, and he said he returned on account of weather, due to ah low conditions at Barlow..... and that's kind of been the case around the area right now, nobody’s making it up and down the canal.... so right now I really don't have anybody flying around right now, so VFR flights are not recommended." The first pilot responded, in part: " ...Okay, I live out in Auke Bay, and it looked pretty good out that direction, at least as far as Barlow, but it's worsened, it's gotten worse in the little bit... Oh okay, okay, well I guess we'll just go back there and see what she looks like." A complete transcript is included with this report.
The accident airplane did not reach the intended destination of Juneau, and was not located at any airport. The FAA issued an alert notice (ALNOT) at 1507. Search personnel began an extensive search effort that included aircraft, surface vessels, and ground search personnel. The search was suspended on January 2, 2001.
The first pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, single-engine sea, and helicopter ratings. He also held a flight instructor certificate with an airplane single-engine rating. The most recent second-class medical certificate was issued to the pilot on December 4, 1999, and contained the limitation that correcting lenses must be available while exercising the privileges of his airman certificate.
No personal flight records were located for the first pilot, and the aeronautical experience listed on page 3 of this report was obtained from a review of FAA airmen records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City. On the pilot's application for medical certificate, dated December 4, 1999, the pilot indicated that his total aeronautical experience consisted of about 1,800 hours.
The second pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The most recent, expired, third-class medical certificate was issued to the pilot on November 25, 1998, and contained no limitations.
No personal flight records were located for the second pilot, and the aeronautical experience listed on page 3 of this report was obtained from a review of FAA airmen records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City. On the pilot's application for medical certificate, dated November 25, 1998, the pilot indicated that his total aeronautical experience consisted of about 200 hours.
The closest official weather observation station is Juneau, Alaska, which is located about 13 nautical miles northeast of the presumed accident site.
At 1353, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting in part: Wind, 080 degrees (true) at 7 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles in light rain; clouds, few clouds at 500 feet, 2,800 feet broken, 4,000 feet overcast; temperature, 35 degrees F; dew point, 33 degrees F; altimeter, 30.33 inHg.
An area forecast for Lynn Canal and Glacier Bay, valid until December 28, at 0000 was reporting, in part: An AIRMET for mountain obscuration with mountains occasionally obscured in clouds and in precipitation, improving. Otherwise, sky condition and ceiling, 800 feet scattered, 1,500 feet broken, 2,000 feet overcast, tops 10,000 feet; isolated ceilings below 1,000 feet, with isolated areas with visibility below 3 statute miles in mist.
The pilot communicated by radio and telephone with the Juneau AFSS. The area of the accident did not have any radar recording capabilities, nor was any radar coverage available in the Lynn Canal.