On February 20 2009, about 15:15 Alaska standard time, a wheel/ski-equipped de Havilland DHC-2/U-6A (Beaver) airplane, N5342G, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from a remote frozen lake, about 10 miles northeast of Kenai, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) local area proficiency/instructional flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Anchorage, Alaska.
The three people aboard, the first pilot, a certificated flight instructor in the right seat, the second pilot in the left seat, and a pilot-rated passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and CAP flight following procedures were in effect. The flight originated at the Kenai Municipal Airport, Kenai, about 14:15.
During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on February 20, the flight instructor reported that the purpose of the flight was to familiarize the second pilot with ski operations of a de Havilland DHC-2 airplane. He said that after the second pilot completed a series of touch-and-go landings to the west on the frozen snow-covered lake, he took the flight controls to demonstrate the next touch-and-go landing to the east.
The flight instructor reported that after landing to the east, he kept the tail of the airplane up and the airspeed just below flying speed in order to make ski tracks on the lake to check the snow conditions. e said that as the airplane passed the midpoint of the lake, he applied full engine power for takeoff and the airplane became airborne, but it failed to climb sufficiently to avoid colliding with an area of rising, tree-covered terrain at the departure end of the lake. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage and empennage.
In the pilot’s written statement to the NTSB, he characterized wind conditions as calm while on an easterly approach, but he reported an occasional strong gust of wind out of the west following the accident. The closest weather reporting facility is the Kenai Municipal Airport, 10 miles southwest of the accident site.
At 14:53, an automated weather observation system was reporting, in part: Wind, 190 degrees (true) at 3 knots, visibility, 10 statute miles; clear; temperature, 30 degrees F; dew point, 21 degrees F; altimeter, 30.51 inHg.
On March 2 2009, following recovery of the airplane’s wreckage to Anchorage, a wreckage examination was done under the direction of the NTSB IIC. Also present were three members of the CAP’s safety assessment team, and two aviation safety inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Anchorage Flight Standards District Office.
No pre-accident mechanical anomalies were discovered during the wreckage exam.
The certificated flight instructor was familiarizing the second pilot with ski operations in a ski-equipped airplane during an instructional flight. The flight instructor reported that he took the flight controls from the second pilot to demonstrate a touch-and-go landing on a frozen, snow-covered lake.
After landing to the east, the instructor said that he kept the tail of the airplane up and the airspeed just below flying speed in order to make ski tracks on the lake to check the snow conditions.
About midway along the lake the instructor added full engine power and the airplane became airborne but failed to climb sufficiently to avoid colliding with an area of rising, tree-covered terrain at the departure end of the lake. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and empennage.
Post-accident examination revealed no pre-accident mechanical anomalies. The instructor noted that after the accident he noticed occasional strong gusts of wind from the west.
The flight instructor’s decision to attempt a touch-and-go landing toward rising terrain and with a tailwind, resulting in an in-flight collision with terrain during takeoff.