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NTSB Prelim: Piper PA-18-150

(Witness) Looked Up And Saw The Airplane Inverted And Spinning In A Nose-Low Attitude

Location: Anchor Point, AK Accident Number: ANC24FA008
Date & Time: December 8, 2023, 13:15 Local Registration: N1880P
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150 Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 8, 2023, about 1315 Alaska standard time (AKST), a Piper PA-18-150 airplane, N1880P was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Anchor Point, Alaska. The pilot was fatally injured, the passenger sustained critical injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A friend of the pilot, with knowledge of the planned itinerary, stated that the flight originated from a private airstrip on Pike Lake near King Salmon, Alaska. The airplane was expected to fly Northeast towards Chinitna Bay and cross the Cook Inlet to Anchor Point, Alaska before turning Southeast for Homer, Alaska. The friend received a text message from the accident pilot confirming the airplane’s departure from Pike Lake at 11:29 AKST. 

A witness near the accident site stated that he heard the airplane’s engine rpm increase which drew his attention, then looked up and saw the airplane inverted and spinning in a nose-low attitude towards the ground. Review of a video from a vehicle dash-mounted camera showed the airplane in an inverted flat spin before disappearing behind trees. The video captures the spinning, inverted airplane as it descends vertically, but it does not record the initiating event. Additionally, the dash-mounted video revealed that as the airplane enters the top of the video screen, the airplane’s left wing was folded against the fuselage as the descending wreckage entered an area of tree and brush-covered terrain.

During the detailed on-scene examination, the investigative team retained various components for additional examination and testing, and results are pending. The airplane came to rest inverted in an area of low brush. The left wing was partially attached to the fuselage; both lift struts were fractured. The right wing and right wing struts remained attached and were cut by first responders. The fuselage was twisted and sustained impact damage. Control continuity was established between the cockpit flight controls and their respective control surfaces. The engine remained attached to the airframe; one propeller blade was located next to the wreckage; the other blade tip was separated.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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