SEA07LA018
SEA07LA018

On November 15, 2006, approximately 1310 mountain standard time, an Aviat Husky A-1B, N85HY, nosed over during a landing on a snow-covered road about 15 miles west of Fruitland, Utah. The airline transport pilot and his passenger were not injured, but the aircraft, which is owned and operated by Commander Funk, LLC., sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 volunteer aerial search/observation flight, which departed Heber, Utah, about two hours and forty minutes prior to the accident, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. There was no report of an ELT activation.

According to the pilot, because he was flying over Strawberry Reservoir while searching for the bodies of two drowning victims, he was wearing a life vest that forced him to sit in an awkward position while flying. Because of the position he was sitting in, the pilot's back began to ache, so he decided to land on a nearby snow-covered road in order to rest and have something to eat. After selecting the road, the pilot made three low passes over the road, each time rolling the aircraft's wheels along the surface to judge the depth and softness of the snow. After reaching the conclusion that the snow was about six inches deep, and soft enough for landing, the pilot made a fourth approach, intended to be a full-stop. He then touched down in the tracks he had made on the other three runs. Although the touchdown was uneventful, after the aircraft had rolled about 150 feet, it broke through a crusted layer of snow about six inches below the surface, and sank to the snows full depth, which was later determined to be about 18 inches. As the aircraft broke through the crust layer, the pilot started to add power in an attempt to go around, but the main wheels dug into the snow, and the aircraft nosed over onto its back.

In a post-accident telephone interview, the pilot stated that he had radio contact with individuals on the ground who could have reached the area he chose to land at in less than five minutes. He further stated that after the accident he realized that it would have been wise for him to ask those individuals to check the snow depth at the landing site before he tried to land there.

The pilot did not submit the National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, Form 6120.1/2.

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