On September 16, 2001, about 1200 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped deHavilland DHC-2 airplane, N5343G, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from a remote area, about 65 miles northeast of Arctic Village, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was registered to Coyote Air LLC., and operated by the pilot. The airline transport certificated pilot, and the one passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on December 5, 2001, the pilot reported he flew to a remote gravel bar located along the Coleen River to pick up a friend who was rafting in the area. The pilot said he was departing toward the north from an area that was about 1,000 feet long. During the takeoff roll, the tailwheel struck a large rock. He continued the takeoff and landed at Coldfoot, Alaska, without incident.

A postaccident examination of the tailwheel area on December 4, revealed damage to the tailwheel casting, fuselage bulkheads, and a stringer near the tailwheel attach point. The airplane repair conducted at an FAA approved repair station, included replacement of bulkheads at fuselage stations 228 and 224, and replacement of fuselage skin at stations 228 through 204. Doublers were fabricated and installed at stations 244 through 208. An FAA Form 337, Major Repair and Alteration, was completed by the repair station.

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