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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ANC06FA018
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 25, 2006 in Ketchikan, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Aero Vodochody L-39MS, registration: N104XX
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 5 Minor.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airline transport certificated pilot was on a Title 14, CFR Part 91 ferry flight in a military jet surplus warbird when the airplane collided with water and a residential area during an instrument approach to land. During the circle-to-land contact approach, the pilot was advised by an FAA flight service station specialist at the island airport that the weather did not look favorable for a contact approach due to low clouds and visibility. A pilot-rated witness on the shore across from the island reported seeing the airplane descend from the clouds and strike the ocean three times before it climbed out of sight. The witness described the visibility as about 3/4 mile in blowing snow. The airplane continued to fly for approximately 2.3 miles, until other witnesses near a town on the shore heard the engine stop, and saw the jet and a parachute at a low altitude. The airplane collided with the ground in a large lot, and continued into an occupied trailer home and parked vehicles. A postcrash fire ensued. Inspection of the airplane disclosed no preimpact mechanical problems with the airplane. The loss of engine power was consistent with the water impact which damaged the inlet fan and compressor stator. The circle-to-land minimum descent altitude for aircraft with a 120 knot approach speed is 2,500 feet msl, and requires 3 miles visibility. Prior to impact, the pilot attempted to eject from the airplane at a low altitude. The ejection was unsuccessful, and the pilot struck a tree while still in the ejection seat. Inspection of the ejection apparatus disclosed no evidence of any preimpact malfunction.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to follow published instrument landing procedures and his descent below approach minimums during an IFR circle to land approach, which resulted in the airplane striking the ocean and a loss of engine power. Factors contributing to the accident were low clouds and snow.