On October 22, 2002, about 1415 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-32 airplane, N76RL, collided with another Piper PA-32, N31657, as both airplanes were taxiing on the ramp area of the Bethel Airport, Bethel, Alaska. N76RL was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cargo flight under Title 14, CFR Part 135, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by Bellair Inc., Fairbanks, Alaska, as Flight 400 from Bethel to Eek, Alaska, and received minor damage to the propeller and engine cowling. The airline transport certificated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. N31657 was operated by Larry's Flying Service Inc., Fairbanks, Alaska, as a VFR on-demand passenger flight under Title 14, CFR Part 135, from Russian Mission, Alaska, to Bethel. The airplane received substantial damage to the left wing. The commercial pilot and the four passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and VFR company flight following procedures were in effect for both flights. 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 October 22, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, Anchorage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), reported that N31657 was taxiing from runway 03 toward its parking spot on the west ramp of the Bethel Airport. He said the two operators involved in this accident have loading areas adjacent to each other on the ramp, and that each pilot's view was blocked by a fuel truck that was positioned in front of N76RL. As N31657 was approaching its parking spot, the pilot began a right turn. The fuel truck pulled away, revealing N76RL beginning to taxi forward away from its parking spot. The pilot of N31657 tightened the right turn, but the propeller of N76RL sliced into the leading edge of N31657's left wing.
In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) submitted by the pilot of N76RL, the pilot indicated that he did not see the second airplane taxiing because the nose of his airplane was higher than his line of sight.