Loss of control Accident Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser N3937M, 11 Aug 2022
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 281506
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Type:Silhouette image of generic PA12 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser
Registration: N3937M
MSN: 12-2825
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Marsh Fork Canning River, AK -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Marsh Strip, AK
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On August 11, 2022, at 1152 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-12 airplane, N3937M, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near the Marsh Fork Canning River, about 40 nautical miles (nm) northwest of Arctic Village, Alaska. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot was reportedly on a solo hunting trip that began on August 7, 2022, and was returning home when the accident occurred. There were no reported distress calls or other communications from the pilot. On August 12, 2022, about 1140, a pilot spotted the wreckage about 2.5 nm west of Marsh Strip, a gravel strip located next to the Marsh Fork Canning River. The pilot who discovered the wreckage stated that on the afternoon of the accident, there was significant wind shear with sustained wind at least 20 kts and gusting to at least 30 kts. He stated that the wind gusts were violent, which made him park his airplane on a strip about 15 miles east of Marsh Strip and wait for the wind to subside. He added that another pilot who flew northbound over Marsh Strip about 1430 on the day of the accident reported that the wind was very turbulent.

A review of the data from a pilot’s GPS revealed that at 1149 the airplane departed Marsh Strip to the south and then made a right turn into the valley. The flight track continued up the valley about 300 to 400 ft above ground level (agl) for about 2.5 nm, then made a sharp left turn and descended to the ground. Figure 1 shows the end of the GPS flight track and the estimated accident location overlaid onto Google Earth. The weather and lighting conditions in Google Earth are not necessarily the weather and lighting conditions present at the time of the recording. Due to data buffering on the GPS unit, the data recording may have ended before the accident event.

The accident site featured an initial impact crater about 20 yards west of the airplane and the wreckage path was on a heading of 064°. On the right side of the impact crater was a disturbance in the ground that contained an inspection panel from the right wing. The main wreckage came to rest facing southeast and remained mostly intact.

Examination of the wreckage at the accident site revealed that the cockpit area was crushed upward and aft. The airplane was canted left with the left wing folded back underneath the fuselage. The left wing sustained downward crushing to the wing tip. The right wing sustained outboard leading edge damage and was bent upward near midspan. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces, through a few impact separations, to the cockpit controls. The flaps were partially extended. The horizontal stabilizer trim jackscrew position corresponded to a full nose-up position. There was a strong smell of fuel near the front of the airplane and the fuel tanks and fuel lines were compromised. The gascolator was intact and about half full of greenish-blue colored fuel, which tested negative for water contamination.

The pilot’s seat floor mounts were separated from the fuselage. The pilot’s restraint was a 3point military style lap belt and shoulder harness and was found secured at each anchor. The lap belt was positioned around the pilot and each of the tongues was secured by the one-stroke release buckle. The shoulder harness stitching near the roof anchor had pulled loose and the webbing was very worn and faded.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. The first blade sustained damage to the leading edge and the tip was fractured off, and it exhibited chordwise scoring, rearward bending, and blade curling. The second blade exhibited leading edge gouges slight forward bending, and the tip was fractured off. Examination of the engine did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A review of the data from the airplane’s J.P. Instruments EDM700 engine monitor revealed no anomalous indications.

A postaccident weight and balance calculation, not including fuel, revealed that the payload was about 535 lbs. The airplane’s useful load was 559 lbs. The amount of fuel onboard the airplane at the time of the accident has not been determined.



Other occurrences involving this aircraft

1 Jun 2018 N3937M Private 0 Nulato, AK sub
Hard landing.



Revision history:

13-Aug-2022 18:54 Captain Adam Added
13-Aug-2022 19:00 Captain Adam Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
15-Aug-2022 16:13 AgOps Updated [Time, Location, Nature, Source, Narrative]
09-Sep-2022 00:04 Captain Adam Updated [Time, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative, Category]

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