On March 9, 2003, about 0930 Alaska daylight time, a wheel/ski-equipped Cessna 185 airplane, N1613M, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain during an aborted takeoff from the Galena Airport, Galena, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The flight was being conducted in support of the Iditarod Trail dog sled race. The certificated commercial pilot and the two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a VFR flight plan had been filed. The flight originated at the Galena Airport, and was en route to Unalakleet, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on March 9, the pilot reported that following an intersection departure from runway 07, the airplane stopped climbing when it was about 50 feet above the runway. The pilot added that the airplane's engine appeared to be producing full power, but the airplane still would not climb. He said that as the airplane neared the end of the runway, he closed the engine throttle in an effort to abort the takeoff, and land on the remaining runway. The airplane descended, and as the airplane's main landing gear struck the surface of the runway, the left main landing gear collapsed. The airplane's left wing struck the runway, and the airplane ultimately veered off the left side of the runway, into an area of snow-covered terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and left wing.

The airplane was retrieved from the accident airport and transported to a maintenance facility located in Big Lake, Alaska. On May 29 , a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector of the Anchorage Flight Standards District Office, inspected the airplane. The inspector reported that no airframe or engine preaccident mechanical anomalies were noted. The inspector reported that the propeller assembly had been removed prior to his arrival.

On June 17, a propeller tear down and inspection was conducted at Dominion Propeller Corporation, Anchorage, Alaska. While under the direction of the NTSB IIC, the propeller assembly was disassembled and inspected. No preimpact mechanical anomalies were discovered during the examination.

The Safety Board released the propeller assembly to the owner's representative on June 17, 2003. No other components were retained by the Safety Board.

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