ANC03CA008
ANC03CA008

On October 29, 2002, about 1000 Alaska standard time, N878A, a wheel-equipped Piper PA-22 airplane, converted to a tailwheel configuration, was destroyed following impact with terrain and a postcrash fire while attempting to takeoff from a remote, off-airport site located about 23 miles southeast of Palmer, Alaska. The private pilot/airplane owner and the two passengers were not injured. The flight departed Wasilla, Alaska, about 0900, and operated in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB investigator-in-charge on October 30, the pilot related that he was attempting to takeoff from a gravel bar adjacent to Lake George. He said shortly after the airplane became airborne, it settled onto the gravel bar and collided with rocks. The impact collapsed the left main landing gear and then the right main landing gear. After the pilot and passengers evacuated the airplane, it was consumed by a postcrash fire. The pilot indicated that although the wind was calm when he began the takeoff, there were infrequent gusts of wind, and a wind shift or gust may have contributed to the accident. He said there were no preimpact mechanical problems with the airplane.

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