On March 22, 2004, about 1515 Alaska standard time, a ski-equipped Cessna 180H airplane, N2472F, sustained substantial damage when it collided with snow-covered terrain during takeoff-initial climb from a remote glacier, about 43 miles northwest of Talkeetna, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by the pilot. The airline transport certificated pilot, and the two passengers, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot departed from Palmer, Alaska, at 1122 on a round-robin VFR flight plan to the Lake Hood Seaplane Base, Anchorage, Alaska, to the Ruth Glacier, and return.

At 1745, Federal Aviation Administration personnel received a relayed report from an overlying aircraft that the accident airplane was disabled on the Ruth Glacier. The airplane was declared overdue, and search and rescue personnel were notified. An emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal was received by search and rescue personnel in the area of the accident. The occupants of the airplane were picked up by a rescue helicopter at 2025.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on March 23, the pilot reported that he departed Finger Lake Seaplane Base in Palmer to pick up passengers at Lake Hood. The flight then continued to the Sheldon Mountain House, located on the Ruth Glacier in the Alaska Range. During the downhill takeoff from the glacier, the pilot said that the left main landing gear ski collided with snow-covered terrain just after the airplane became airborne, and the left main landing gear strut was torn off the fuselage. During the subsequent emergency landing on the snow, the airplane received additional damage to the left wing and fuselage. The pilot said the weather conditions were clear, and the visibility was unrestricted.

In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) submitted by the pilot, the pilot indicated that the landing/takeoff area had 6 to 8 feet high snow drifts, but the area was still being used by local ski-equipped aircraft.

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