On October 13, 2001, about 1300 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 207A airplane, N7384U, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from Kobuk, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country positioning flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by Flight Alaska Inc., Anchorage, Alaska. The commercial certificated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. VFR company flight following procedures were in effect. The intended destination was Kotzebue, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on November 8, 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) principle operations inspector (POI) for the company reported he was notified by the operator on November 7, of damage to the right wing of the accident airplane. In a subsequent telephone conversation with the company's director of operations, the NTSB IIC learned that the pilot reportedly told company personnel he collided with an unknown object as he departed Kobuk. While in cruise flight after departure from Kobuk, the pilot noticed damage to the leading edge of the right wing. He then landed at Kiana, Alaska, and telephoned a company mechanic in Kotzebue. After a discussion with the mechanic, the pilot departed Kiana and landed at Kotzebue. The director of operations said that the initial report from company personnel in Kotzebue attributed the wing damage to a bird strike.

The director of operations said that maintenance personnel in Kotzebue determined the wing damage was greater than minor. A temporary patch was fashioned, and the airplane was ferried to the company maintenance facility in Anchorage on October 14. When repairs were started on November 2, company maintenance personnel noted that the impact location on the right wing contained wood splinters.

During a visit with the NTSB IIC on November 30, the pilot said he departed runway 27 at Kobuk. During the takeoff, he heard a loud bang, but said he did not see what he struck. He produced photographs of the damaged wing. The wing, just outboard of the lift strut, had aft crushing and vertical tearing of the leading edge material. Company maintenance personnel reported the wing repair consisted of replacement of the leading edge.

An examination of Kobuk airport environment, depicted in the FAA's Airport Master Record (FAA form 5010-1), revealed 25 to 30 feet high trees along each side, and near the departure end of runway 27.

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