On September 2, 2012, about 1030 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150 airplane, N82016, sustained substantial damage about 63 miles northeast of Coldfoot, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal cross-country flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91, when the accident occurred. The pilot, the sole occupant, received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed Deadhorse, Alaska, about 1130, bound for Homer, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on September 12, the pilot said he received a weather briefing prior to departing Deadhorse. He said the weather was basic VFR, and that he was going to fly a new route (for him) southbound through Atigun Pass. Upon reaching the pass he said the terrain elevation was climbing faster than his airplane, and the weather in the pass was worse than expected. He decided to turn the airplane around in the pass, and exit the pass the way he had come. As he made the turn, it was apparent he wasn't going to make the turn successfully. He stalled the airplane, and impacted terrain.

The pilot said there were no mechanical problems with the airplane, and that he should have decided to turn back earlier. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

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