08 November 2009

Floatplane Crashes at Takeoff - Photographer Ducks Just in Time

The floatplane (a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, registration N915RC) was in an otherwise normal takeoff from Lake Hood in Anchorage, Alaska on 7 June 2009 when it encountered a right quartering tailwind gust that lifted up the right wing and float. The airplane veered to the left toward a steep bank, and the pilot was unable to correct the deviation and with the rudder. The airplane lifted off, but the float collided with the top of the bank. The airplane cart wheeled about 160 degrees to the left before coming to rest on its right side. It sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and floats. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures. Reported wind at the airport approximately 3 minutes after the accident was from 020 degrees magnetic at 3 knots, with no recorded gusts.

Fortunately, the pilot and three passengers were not injured. Also fortunate was the fact that the photographer lived to film another day. According to the photographer's description on YouTube, the aircraft passed less than 10 feed from their position.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain directional control during takeoff.

Crash During Floatplane Takeoff in Anchorage, AK 7 June 2009

Additional Information

NTSB Factual Summary (PDF)
NTSB Full Narritave
NTSB Probable Cause Determination (PDF)

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