On July 31, 2002, about 1600 Alaska daylight time, a tundra-tire equipped PA-18 airplane, N4948, sustained substantial damage when it collided with a culvert during an aborted landing at the Birchwood Airport, Chugiak, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) local area personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The certificated airline transport pilot, and the one passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated about 1500, from the Merrill Field Airport, Anchorage, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on August 1, the pilot reported that while on approach for landing on runway 19L, he encountered what he characterized as light and variable winds estimated to be from the south, at 5 knots. He said that just after touchdown, a sudden gust of wind pushed the tail of the airplane to the left, and the airplane veered to the right. The pilot said that he applied full engine power in an attempt to abort the landing. The airplane became airborne, and while in ground effect, the airplane drifted to the right side of the runway. The right main landing gear struck a culvert on the right side of the runway. The airplane pivoted to the right, and the left wing struck the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident anomalies with the airplane.

The pilot did not submit an NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120. 1).

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