On July 7, 2001, about 1530 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Cessna 185 airplane, N2248T, sustained substantial damage during landing on a lake, about 2 miles east of Cantwell, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country instructional flight when the accident occurred. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot. The pilot, holder of a student pilot certificate, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated from Anchorage, Alaska, about 1330.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on July 10, the student pilot reported that he was flying his airplane, as a flight of two airplanes, from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The other airplane in the flight was operated by his flight instructor. The student pilot has an endorsement for repeated cross-country solo flights on his student pilot's certificate, and has accrued about 100 hours of total flight time. The student pilot said that as the two airplanes approached the Cantwell area, the weather conditions included light rain, gusty winds, and turbulence. The flight instructor decided to land on a gravel airstrip adjacent to Drashner Lake because he smelled a gasoline odor in his airplane. The student pilot began a landing approach to the lake, but his first approach resulted in a go-around. On the second landing approach, the student pilot said he bounced the landing on the water,and the airplane settled onto the lake, but a wind gust lifted the airplane off the water. He said he then forced the airplane onto the water, but while doing so, he took his eyes off the shore of the lake. When the airplane finally settled onto the water, he noticed the airplane was close to the shore. He shut the engine off, but the airplane hit the beach, and came to rest in an area of muskeg, about 40 feet from the shoreline. The front float attach points were broken during the collision with the shore, and the airplane fuselage pivoted downward. The airplane received damage to the floats, engine cowling and propeller, the fuselage and wings.

On July 20, the student pilot telephoned the NTSB IIC and reported the damage to the airplane was substantial, but he did not submit an NTSB Pilot/Operator report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2).

On July 7, at 1458, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) at Cantwell was reporting, in part: Wind, 340 degrees (true) at 14 knots; visibility, 15 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, few at 2,500 feet, 4,000 feet broken, 7,000 feet overcast; temperature, 46 degrees F; dew point, 39 degrees F; altimeter, 29.71 inHg; remarks, Windy Pass estimated as marginal.

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