On September 11, 2002, about 1300 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Cessna 185 airplane, N1987U, sustained substantial damage when it collided with trees during takeoff from a remote water-filled slough, located about 52 miles north of McGrath, 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 Wild Alaska Trophy Outfitters, Anchorage, Alaska. The solo airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight was en route to Galena, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on September 12, the pilot reported that after an uneventful landing on an 800 foot long, water-filled slough, he dropped off two hunters and their gear. He said that during his landing approach, he estimated the winds to be out of the north, at 12 to 15 knots. The pilot reported that during initial climb following a northerly takeoff, the northerly winds dissipated, and the airplane would not continue to climb. The airplane subsequently collided with a stand of trees at the departure end of the slough, nosed over, and sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and empennage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

Neither the pilot, nor the operator, submitted an NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1).

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