On February 3, 2005, approximately 1000 Pacific standard time, a single-engine Maule M-7-260 amphibian airplane, N977BE, was substantially damaged while attempting to land on Lake Sutherland, located 10 nautical miles west-southwest of Port Angeles, Washington. The certificated commercial pilot and his sole passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, which was conducted in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed the Diamond Point Airstrip, Sequim, Washington, at 0930, with the destination being Lake Sutherland. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement provided to the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that upon arriving over Lake Sutherland the planned approach was to land on the western half of the lake. The pilot stated there was no traffic, no obstructions, the wind was calm, and that "glassy water" conditions existed. The pilot further stated that he proceeded westerly on a left downwind leg to the lake and made a "U-shaped" turn to final just west of the shoreline, with his final approach being on an easterly heading. The pilot related that as he crossed the shoreline he decreased power to increase the descent rate, and utilizing visual cues he was about to add power to level off when the airplane impacted the water. The pilot and his passenger exited the airplane unassisted and without injury.
In a written statement the passenger reported, "...the approach appeared normal until we entered a position where the surface of the water could not be distinguished from sky. Approximately two seconds later after reaching this point we impacted the water."
The pilot reported that the airplane sustained structural and water damage to the entire aircraft, with the exception of possibly the empennage and tail section.
According to Federal Aviation Publication FAA-H-8083-23, "Seaplane, Skiplane, and Float/Ski Equipped Helicopter Operations Handbook," Chapter 6 - Seaplane Operations, Glassy Water Landing, the proper procedure for conducting a glassy water landing is to, "Always perform glassy water landings with power. Perform a normal approach, but prepare as though intending to land at an altitude well above the surface. This altitude might be 200 feet above the surface. The objective is to have the seaplane ready to contact the water soon after if reaches the target altitude, so at approximately 200 feet above the surface, raise the nose to the altitude normally used for touchdown, and adjust the power to provide a constant descent rate of no more than 150 feet per minute at an airpseed approximately 10 knots above stall speed. Maintain this attitude, airspeed, and rate of descent until the seaplane contacts the water."