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On June 26, 2011, about 1600 Alaska daylight time, a tailwheel-equipped Cessna 150M, N66286, sustained substantial damage after impacting terrain near Beluga Lake, Alaska. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured, and the sole passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to the pilot, and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were forecast in the area at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Lake Hood Strip Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, about 1353.
According to family members, the pilot was taking a visitor on a sightseeing flight to a glacier west of Anchorage. The pilot was carrying a SPOT satellite messenger, which was relaying periodic messages about the group's location to a website. The pilot's wife had been monitoring the flight and noticed that the SPOT location had not changed in several hours, so she notified local authorities to report the airplane overdue. At 0100 the next morning, a search and rescue crew located the airplane on a moraine east of the glacier.
In a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) two months after the accident, the passenger reported that the intent of the flight was to sightsee near the Beluga Lake/Triumvirate Glacier area. He assisted the pilot with what he described as, “a very thorough preflight and walk around.” He said that he remembers departing Anchorage with good weather, and everything was normal with the flight. They landed twice in the area east of the glacier without incident. He and the pilot agreed to not fly too close to the glacier due to their uncertainty of the weather and wind coming off the glacier. He stated that he thought they were taking off to the east, but due to the injuries he sustained in the accident, he could not be certain of the direction of flight. The last thing that he remembers of the accident flight is the airplane being airborne approximately 200 feet off the ground.
The pilot, age 45, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land rating issued October 3, 1988. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on January 24, 2011, and contained no limitations.
No personal flight records were located for the pilot, and the aeronautical experience listed on page 3 of this report was obtained from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records on file in the Aerospace Medical Certification Division in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On the pilot’s most recent application for a medical certificate, he indicated his total aeronautical experience was about 800 hours, of which 32 hours were in the previous 6 months.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A postmortem examination of the pilot was done under the authority of the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska, on June 27, 2011. The examination revealed that the cause of death for the pilot was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.
A toxicological examination by the FAA’s Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) on September 19, 2011 was negative for any alcohol or drugs.
The accident airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-E2D engine, rated at 150 horsepower. The engine was installed on May 15, 2002, and had a service time of 402.6 hours at the time of the accident. The engine was equipped with a two-blade McCauley propeller.
At the time of the accident, the airframe had 4,228.9 service hours. The last annual inspection was performed on June 11, 2011, at 4,222.6 service hours. The airplane was converted to a tailwheel landing gear in 1985, and was also equipped with a Horton Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) kit.
The nearest weather reporting station to the accident site is Anchorage International Airport (PANC), 54 nautical miles east. At 1553, the PANC surface observation reported, in part: wind 160 degrees (true) at 12 knots, gusting to 21 knots; few clouds at 3,000 feet; scattered clouds at 5,500 feet; and overcast at 8,000 feet. The area forecast outlook for the Cook Inlet area, valid until 1700, called for visual meteorological conditions to prevail over the area with isolated rain showers.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The NTSB IIC, and an inspector from the Anchorage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), examined the airplane at the accident site on June 27.
The airplane impacted sandy, rock covered terrain at the base of an east-west berm that parallels a large moraine commonly used by aircraft as a landing surface. The main wreckage consisted of all the major components of the airplane, and was situated approximately 45 feet from the initial impact ground scar. The ground signatures observed at the initial impact point were consistent with the airplane being in a right wing down attitude. The area contained fragmented pieces of the green lens covering from the airplane’s right navigation light. A second impact crater was approximately 20 feet from the initial impact point, and was of size and shape consistent with the point of impact for the propeller and fuselage. The main wreckage came to rest on a westerly heading, 180 degrees from the direction of travel.
The right wing was displaced upward and aft of its normal position and had extensive spanwise leading edge crushing. The left wing had spanwise leading edge crushing and was bent upward and aft approximately 3 feet from the wingtip. An unmeasured amount of fuel was observed in the left wing fuel tank. The right wing fuel tank was compromised, and no fuel was observed in the tank. The fuel selector was observed in the on position.
The empennage separated from the fuselage at a rivet line just behind the cockpit, but remained connected to the flight control cables, and was canted approximately 120 degrees left of its normal position. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers were relatively free of impact damage.
The cockpit area was extensively damaged. The engine and firewall were displaced upward and aft, and the instrument panel was displaced upward, almost to the top of the windscreen. The throttle and mixture control were found in the full-forward position. The carburetor heat was in the off position. The master switch was in the on position, and the ignition switch was in the “both” position.
The engine remained attached to its mounts, and had impact damage to the front of the case, the underside, and the right forward side. The exhaust tubes had malleable bending and folding, producing sharp creases that were not cracked or broken along the creases. The on-site inspection of the engine revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have prevented normal engine operation.
The propeller assembly remained attached to the engine crankshaft. One propeller blade had chordwise scratching and aft bending. The second blade had “S” bending, torsional twisting, and chordwise scratching.
Due to impact damage, the flight controls could not be moved by their respective controls, but continuity of the flight control cables was established to the cockpit area.
No parts or components were retained by the Safety Board.