ANC07LA036
ANC07LA036

On May 3, 2007, about 1910 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Bellanca 8KCAB airplane, N5038K, sustained substantial damage when it collided with snow and ice-covered terrain, about 9 miles north of Girdwood, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) local area personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by the pilot. The private certificated pilot, the sole occupant, received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at Merrill Field, Anchorage, Alaska, and no flight plan was filed.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel reported that the airplane crash was seen by hikers on the Eagle Glacier. The hikers gave medical aid to the pilot, and called for rescue personnel. The pilot and the hikers were transported from the glacier about 2030.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on May 10, one of the hikers/witnesses reported that a group of mountaineering club members were on the Eagle Glacier during a personal back-country ski trip. The pilot was reported to have been flying in the area of the ski trip members to check on their progress. The pilot made a low pass over the group, and then returned for another pass. The airplane flew over the group on the second pass about 80 feet above the snow and ice covered glacier. The airplane continued toward the northwest, collided with the glacier about 150 yards from the group, and overturned. The ski trip members pulled the pilot from the airplane and began medical aid. They then called for rescue personnel.

The witness reported that the weather conditions on the glacier at the time was an overcast sky, with a ceiling of about 600 feet. The witness said there was flat light conditions and a haze.

On May 12, 2007, the pilot reported via telephone that when he flew over the ski members on the glacier, he had a visual horizon and could see the sky. He said he thought he was about 200 feet above the ground. During a second pass, the lighting conditions changed from bright to hazy, and the pilot indicated he probably was looking at the snow covered surface of the glacier. In the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) submitted by the pilot, the pilot said he encountered a high overcast over the glacier, and a slight beam of light that penetrated the overcast. He said that during a third circle over the area, the airplane was descending, and he thought the terrain of the glacier was also descending.

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