On July 2, 2005, about 2100 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Bellanca 7GCAA airplane, N8626V, sustained substantial damage when it collided with trees and terrain during a forced landing following fuel exhaustion, about 6.5 miles northeast of Whittier, 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 owned by Alaska Star Flying Club, Eagle River, Alaska, and operated by the pilot. The commercial certificated pilot, and the sole passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at the Birchwood Airport, Chugiak, Alaska, about 1700, for a flight to Girdwood, Alaska. No flight plan was filed, nor was one required.

At 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) was notified by the Federal Aviation Administration Regional Operations Center, that the accident airplane was airborne in the area of the Prince William Sound. The pilot of the airplane was in radio communication with the Juneau Flight Service Station, Juneau, Alaska, and was reporting that he was lost, and the airplane had minimum fuel. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, utilizing on-board direction finding equipment, was able to locate the airplane near Wells Passage, about 17 miles east-northeast of Whittier, and began to escort it toward Whittier. About 2100, the airplane's fuel supply was exhausted, and the pilot made an emergency landing from about 1,500 feet msl in a partial clearing near the shoreline. The airplane struck several small trees in the process of landing. After the landing, the pilot and passengers boarded the Coast Guard helicopter, and were transported to Anchorage, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC on July 3, the pilot reported that the airplane did not have any navigational equipment other than a compass. The intent of the flight was to sight-see in the area of the Columbia Glacier, and then proceed to Girdwood. The pilot said that during the flight, the compass became erratic and was not providing accurate information, and at one point, turned 180 degrees. The pilot indicated that he attempted to find his location, but was unable to accurately fix his position. He made several radio calls on a variety of frequencies, including 121.5 MHz, and finally made radio contact with the Juneau Flight Service Station as he was circling over a beach under about a 500 foot ceiling. When the Coast Guard helicopter arrived, the two aircraft proceeded toward Whittier, but the airplane's engine quit when the fuel supply was exhausted. The pilot said he made a dead-stick landing in a partial clearing that contained small trees, and the airplane received structural damage to the wings and fuselage.

At 2047, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) at Whittier was reporting, in part: Wind, 150 degrees (true) at 3 knots; visibility, 20 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, few at 2,000 feet, 3,000 feet overcast; temperature, 57 degrees F; dew point, 50 degrees F; altimeter, 29.73 inHg.

The pilot did not submit a Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1).

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