ANC01LA080
ANC01LA080

On July 1, 2001, about 1500 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Beech H35 airplane, N5429D, sustained substantial damage when it struck mountainous terrain, about 20 miles southwest of Chitina, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The certificated private pilot, and the one passenger aboard, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the Cordova Municipal Airport, Cordova, Alaska, about 1420.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB investigator-in-charge on July 2, the pilot related that he and a friend were flying from Cordova, at 6,000 feet mean sea level, en route to a private airstrip located near Palmer, Alaska. He added that the purpose of the flight was to show his friend some Alaskan scenery. He said he thought the winds were fairly calm as he approached an area of mountainous, snow-covered terrain. While in level, cruise flight, he said the wind increased, and a strong downdraft caused the airplane to descend rapidly. He said he applied full engine power in an attempt to climb, but the airplane continued to descend, rapidly lost airspeed, and subsequently collided with an area of snow-covered terrain. The pilot noted that the airplane was damaged so severely that it may not be repairable. The pilot stated that there was no preaccident mechanical problems with the airplane.




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