On September 19, 2001, about 1700 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Piper PA-18 airplane, N7477L, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from a remote lake, about 4 miles south of Port Heiden, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country business flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by Wind River Camps, Anchorage, Alaska. The private certificated pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on September 20th, the pilot reported he was departing a small lake known locally as Gold Fish Lake, near the village of Meshic, Alaska. He has operated from the lake numerous times, and landed on the lake about 45 minutes before the accident to pick up cargo for his fishing camp. The pilot said that when he landed, the wind was from the west, and when he began to taxi on the lake for departure, the wind was calm. The pilot began the takeoff run toward the west, and he said the airplane came up on step. He said his ground speed seemed fast, but the airspeed was low. He said the airplane became airborne near the edge of the lake shore, but the tail portion of the float assembly struck a six inch high berm at the edge of the lake. The airplane came to rest on a road located along the shoreline of the lake. The airplane received damage to the float assemblies, the propeller, and the tail. Following the accident, the pilot said that witnesses told him that as he taxied onto the lake for departure, the wind began to blow from the southeast about 15 knots.