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14 August 2010


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Lucky for the survivors indeed.

Coming from Europe, I have to remind myself, considering the sheer size and remoteness of some locations in America, that flying is a very normal and necessary thing for many Americans.

I read that such small aircraft crash more often that large ones because adverse weather, visual flight and inferior instrumentation compared to airliners.

And 29.000 flight hours? Wow. America must have some fine bush pilots.

John Minnerath

I spent 10 years flying back and forth to job sites across Alaska.
From the Chukchi Sea to the Beaufort, from Barrow to the Aleutians.
Flying the Alaska bush is nothing short of treacherous.
I made a lot of white knuckle flights and a few that left me wondering how the hell we had made it in one piece.
Like everyone else who has done a lot of it, I knew quite a few who had gone down, and no few who didn't come back.
There are any number of reasons why this Otter went down, exactly why might never be known.
Even commercial flights into some of the remote villages can be damn terrifying at times.

Abu Sinan


I lived in this area from 2001-2003, right across the Bay. It is a very remote area and the area in question here has had a lot of accidents over the years.

I worked on a military base in King Salmon that was a staging ground for rescue planes when these types of events happened. Sorry to say it is an all too regular occurance.

I read that weather the day of the accident was pretty bad and the pilot might have been having to fly by instruments only.

It is kind of the nature of the beast being some 300 air miles from Anchorage with no way in or out save plane or boat.


I fly myself. What I can't see in the images is the aircraft propeller. The state of that and the internals of the PT6 will tell the inspectors if the engine was producing power at the time of the accident.

The accident looks suspiciously like a case of CFIT - controlled flight into terrain. The pilot may have been incapacitated, unaware of his location or failed for some reason in his attempt to out climb the mountain. The investigators should work that out.

Mark Logan

It's even stranger to me, I've done two trips to Dillingham for fishing. It's a fishermans "mecca".

But to the point, there is no reason to fly over any hills to get from Dillingham to Lake Aleknagik. That lake is drained by a river that runs right by Dillingham. Perhaps he was in the midst of turning back after encountering a suddenly lowering ceiling, but even that doesn't explain why he would opt to turn towards the hill instead of to the flater land to the south.


The busiest airport in the world is Davis Airport in Anchorage, I believe.

A lot of people don't realise that Alaska will kill you pretty quickly if you don't respect it. Going from the East Coast to there was quite a shock for me.


CFIT is what it sounded and looked like to me. My dad and ex are both airline mechanics. I heard something this morning about some instrument may not have been working properly. I also wondered about "icing" because of the temperatures.


Sorry, I forgot to mention earlier the two most worthless things for a pilot...altitude above you and runway behind you.


As you know Jackie, it's never one single cause, it's always the holes in the Swiss Cheese lining up. Ice, power, instrument failure, weight, whatever. The investigators should nut it out.


I have no other voice but to argue that Pakistan and India 's floods misfortune (20 million displaced) is the opportunity for Col. Langs, grand council.

If ever there was a time for Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, The Gulf States Saudi, the United States, Russia and Europe (pointedly ignoring Israel) to make Col. Langs grand bargain it is now.

John Minnerath

Icing everywhere in Alaska and at all times of the year, is a real problem.
I flew in a lot of low wing planes sitting beside the pilot where I could see ice forming first hand.Spooky!
We chartered a Caravan to fly me and my equipment from Wainwright to Kaktovick one time. The pilot had been flying in Alaska for about 3 months.
The guy scared me to death and I'd been flying around up there for a long time.
A week later the same guy in the same plane iced up leaving Wainwright and went down right after he got off the runway.
Killed everyone on board, including himself.

Brad Ruble

I reached the site of a Caravan accident in Cody, Wy and saw a classic stall spin wreck. The A/C had gone in inverted. It was snowing at the time.
A very good friend of mine flew Caravans for 17 years in the Rocky Mountains, until the day his A/C iced up and when he spun out of the clouds he was lucky enough to have terrain clearance and so lived. He hasn't flown a Caravan since. He told me in no uncertain terms. Never get in a Caravan in the ice.
As for the Otter wreck, a friend of mine once told me "everyone we kill in the weather we bury on a nice day".


I have to check if a Caravan is even allowed to be flown into known icing conditions. I'm not sure it is, and I think I recall that it picks up ice under the fuselage for some reason, despite the exhaust.

John Minnerath

I"m talking 10 years ago, but the Caravan was a popular plane with the countless small local "Airlines" flying the bush in Alaska. It could carry a lot of weight and cargo. The old 207 was real popular too.
My favorite and that of a lot of others was always the Navajo.
Damn thing seemed built to fly lousy conditions.

Mark Logan

To anybody interested in icing, I strongly recomment Dennis Newton's "Severe Weather Flying". He is a very rare bird. Both a meteorologist and a test pilot. Dennis spent a couple of years as chief of a research project where they took a couple of King Airs and deliberately sought to load them up with as much ice as possible. Not many people have attempted to do this in the real world, over real mountains, and for good reason. They test and certify de-icing equipment by following tankers that spray water in front of them. This book discredits a lot of common misconceptions about icing and is an entertaining read.

Ice is not a likely factor in this accident. Surface temps were in the 60's and it's extremely unlikely he ever went higher than 2-3000 feet.

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