On September 3, 2007, about 1545 Alaska daylight time, a tailwheel equipped Piper PA-18-150 airplane, N2355H, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain, following an uncontrolled descent during takeoff initial climb from an unimproved, off-airport landing site, about 27 miles northeast of Valdez, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the State of Alaska, Department of Public Safety, Anchorage, Alaska, as a visual flight rules (VFR) public use flight, when the accident occurred. The solo commercial certificated pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company flight following procedures were in effect.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on September 5, a supervisor for the operator said the pilot told him that during takeoff, after climbing out of ground effect, the airplane lost lift and descended. He reported to the supervisor that the left wing caught in willows and impacted the ground. The pilot reported damage to both wings and the fuselage.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that he was doing routine aerial patrol looking for illegal hunters. He said part of the patrol included surveying off airport landing sites. He reported that he landed to survey a site, and upon completion of the survey he attempted a short field takeoff. He said after becoming airborne he was approaching ascending terrain, and applied a second notch of flaps. He said he applied forward pressure to maintain level flight, but the airplane descended, and the left wing struck the ground.

The airplane was not examined by the NTSB.

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