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On April 30, 2001, approximately 1330 Pacific daylight time, a DeHavilland DHC-2 floatplane, N6781L, registered to and being operated by Kenmore Air Harbor, Inc., and being flown by two commercial pilots employed by the operator, was substantially damaged when the aircraft nosed over during taxi for takeoff at the north end of Lake Union, Seattle, Washington. Both pilots were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions with strong, gusty winds prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was instructional in nature, was operated under 14 CFR 91, and departed the Kenmore Seaplane Base, Lake Union, Seattle, Washington, approximately 1245. The flight was destined for Kenmore's Lake Washington Seaplane Base at the north end of Lake Washington, Seattle, Washington.
The pilot occupying the left seat reported that he was on a training flight with the right seat pilot in preparation for conducting Part 135 operations with the operator. He stated that the aircraft was turned into the wind at the north end of Lake Union in preparation for takeoff, and that full power was just beginning to be applied. A gust of wind picked up the right wing and the aircraft rapidly pivoted, became airborne and then impacted the water in a nose down attitude. The aircraft then nosed back up, decelerated and slowly nosed over to an inverted position during which the two pilots egressed.
A cold front was passing through the Puget Sound area shortly before the accident and strong, gusty winds out of the south were recorded at all Puget Sound stations in the area near the time of the accident. The winds at specific times were reported as follows:
Boeing Field 1253PDT 180 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 22 knots
Seattle International 1256PDT 200 degrees at 17 knots gusting to 23 knots
Renton Municipal 1253PDT 170 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 24 knots
Paine Field (Everett) 1253PDT 170 degrees at 21 knots gusting to 32 knots
Peak winds of 35 knots were recorded in the early afternoon at both Everett and Seattle. The pilot reported that the wind at the time of the accident was from 150 degrees at 25 knots with gusts to 43 knots.