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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: GAA17CA187
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 15, 2017 in Ruby, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA22, registration: N72999
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot of the tailwheel, ski-equipped airplane reported that, while landing off airport in flat light conditions, he was unable to maintain a good visual reference of the hardpacked snowcovered landing area. After touchdown, the airplane drifted off the hardpacked snow, and the left ski sunk in softer snow. He increased power and attempted to recover with “hard right control” to no avail. The airplane’s left ski struck a snow-covered tank.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left-wing lift strut.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control while landing in flat light conditions on a hard-packed snow-covered landing area.