Date & Time: Oct 15, 2012 at 1557 LT
Type of aircraft:
Grumman C-1A Trader
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Willow - Nixon Fork Mine
Crew on board:
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
On October 15, 2012, about 1557 Alaska daylight time, a twin-engine Grumman C-1A “Trader” airplane, N27PH, sustained substantial damage when it collided with tree-covered terrain about 19 miles west of Willow, Alaska. The airline transport rated pilot, who was the only occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Fuel Services, LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, and was being operated as a 14 CFR Part 91 visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country fuel transport flight when the accident occurred. Marginal visual meteorological conditions were reported at the airplane’s point of departure. The accident flight originated from the Wasilla Airport, Wasilla, Alaska, about 1520, en route to the Nixon Fork Mine, about 28 miles northeast of McGrath, Alaska. According to the co-owner of the airplane, the purpose of the flight was to transport approximately 900 gallons of diesel fuel to a company owned tank that supplies fuel for a mining operation. When the airplane did not arrive at its destination, the co-owner of the airplane reported it overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at 1757. After being notified of the overdue airplane, personnel from the 11th Air Force’s Rescue Coordination Center initiated a search for the missing airplane along its supposed route of flight. On the morning of October 16, an Air National Guard C-130 Hercules was able to locate the wreckage. Rescue personnel aboard a HH-60G helicopter were able to reach the site later that morning, and confirmed the pilot was deceased. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), along with an additional NTSB investigator, a FAA inspector, and a representative of the operator reached the accident site on the morning of October 17. The wreckage was located in an area of level, tree covered terrain. A postaccident fire consumed a majority of the airplane. Portions of the fragmented airplane were scattered along a debris path oriented along a magnetic heading of 130 degrees, and measured about 240 feet from the point of initial impact to the furthest piece of wreckage. A detailed wreckage exam is pending following recovery. The closest weather reporting station to the accident site is the Skwentna Airport, Skwentna, Alaska, about 22 miles west. About 63 minutes before the accident, at 1452, a weather observation was reporting, in part: Wind, 350 degrees (true) at 10 knots, gusting to 18 knots; visibility, 15 statute miles; sky condition, scattered at 1,500 feet, 3,000 feet overcast; temperature, 30 degrees F; dew point, 23 degrees F; altimeter, 29.11 inches Hg