ANC08LA046
ANC08LA046

On April 1, 2008, about 1540 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-32 airplane, N8327S, sustained substantial damage when it collided with snow-covered terrain while in cruise flight, about 10 miles south-southwest of Koliganek, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country air taxi flight under Title 14, CFR Part 135, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated as Flight 245, by Peninsula Airways Inc., Anchorage, Alaska. The commercial certificated pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident. VFR company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight originated at the Dillingham Airport, Dillingham, Alaska, about 1510, and was en route to Koliganek, with cargo and mail.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on April 2, the director of operations for the operator reported that the pilot was on the first segment of his flight from Dillingham, then to Koliganek, then to New Stuyahok, Alaska, and return to Dillingham. The pilot did not arrive in Koliganek, and an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal was received from the airplane. The pilot was located by search and rescue personnel about 2040, and transported to Koliganek by snow machine.

In a written statement from the pilot on April 3, he reported that he was in cruise flight about 700 feet agl, and the visibility was good until about 20 miles from Koliganek. The weather began to deteriorate rapidly, and the pilot decided to turn around. The airplane then collided with terrain.

Personnel from the operator reported that when they arrived at the accident scene to begin recovery operations, they found that the airplane collided with almost featureless snow-covered terrain on a northwest heading. They reported the right main landing gear separated first, followed by the left main gear, followed by an impact that separated the right wing.

At 1540, a special observation at Koliganek was reporting in part: Wind, 130 degrees (true) at 15 knots; visibility, 2 statute miles in mist; clouds, 400 feet broken, 1,300 feet broken, 8,500 feet overcast; temperature, 34 degrees F; dew point, 32 degrees F; altimeter, 29.67 inHg. Remarks; ceiling variable from 200 to 900 feet.

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