Date & Time: Jul 31, 2020 at 0827 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N4982U
Flight Phase:
Takeoff (climb)
Survivors:
No
MSN:
904
YOM:
1956
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
1
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
5
Other fatalities:
0
Total fatalities:
6
Circumstances:
On July 31, 2020, about 0827 Alaska daylight time, a de Havilland DHC-2 (Beaver) airplane, N4982U, and a Piper PA-12 airplane, N2587M, were destroyed when they were involved in an accident near Soldotna, Alaska. Both pilots and the five passengers on the DHC-2 were fatally injured. The DHC-2 was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 on-demand charter flight. The PA-12 was operated as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The float-equipped DHC-2, operated by High Adventure Charter, departed Longmere Lake, Soldotna, about 0824 bound for a remote lake on the west side of Cook Inlet. The purpose of the flight was to transport the passengers to a remote fishing location. The PA-12, operated by a private individual, departed Soldotna Airport, Soldotna, Alaska, about 0824 bound for Fairbanks, Alaska. Preliminary flight track data revealed that the DHC-2 was traveling northwest about 1,175 ft mean sea level (msl) and gradually climbing about 78 knots (kts) when it crossed the Sterling Highway. The PA-12 was traveling northeast about 1,175 ft msl and about 71 kts north of and parallel to the Sterling Highway. The airplanes collided about 2.5 miles northeast of the Soldotna airport at an altitude of about 1,175 ft msl and data signals were lost. A witness located near the accident site observed the DHC-2 traveling in a westerly direction and the PA-12 traveling in a northerly direction. He stated that the PA-12 impacted the DHC-2 on the left side of the fuselage toward the back of the airplane. After the collision, he observed what he believed to be the DHC-2's left wing separate, and the airplane entered an uncontrolled, descending counterclockwise spiral before disappearing from view. He did not observe the PA-12 following the collision. The DHC-2 main wreckage was heavily fragmented and located in a wooded residential area; the fuselage was oriented on a heading of about 270° at an elevation of about 240 ft. A debris field about 300 ft long and oriented on about a 327° heading included the engine, fuselage, wings, vertical stabilizer, and portions of the floats. Dark green paint transfers consistent with the PA-12 were observed on the aft fuselage of the DHC-2. The PA-12 main wreckage was located about 600 ft east of the DHC-2. The airplane impacted in a near vertical attitude and came to rest at an elevation of about 258 ft. The horizontal stabilizer and one elevator from the DHC-2 were found intertwined in the wreckage of the PA-12. The DHC-2 was registered to Soldotna Aircraft and Equipment Leasing. A registration card located inside the PA-12 identified the airplane as a Piper PA-12 with a registration number of N2587M. The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) registration database revealed that N2587M was a valid registration for a Piper PA-12 assigned to the pilot. However, the PA-12's exterior registration number identified the airplane as N1904T; in addition, the word "EXPERIMENTAL" was applied to the inside of the lower clam shell door. A search of the FAA registration database revealed that the registration number had been reserved by the pilot but was not a valid registration. According to information on file with the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, the pilot of the PA12 was denied medical certification in June 2012 by the Alaska Regional Flight Surgeon due to vision problems. The denial was appealed and sustained in July 2012. Neither airplane was equipped with, nor were they required to be equipped with, a crashworthy flight data or cockpit voice recorder. Several avionics components and personal electronic devices were recovered from the wreckage areas. These components and devices were shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC, for further examination.