GENERAL INFORMATION FOR NTSB REPORT: ANC00LA029
Data Source NTSB AVIATION ACCIDENT/INCIDENT DATABASE
NTSB Report Nbr ANC00LA029
Event Id 20001212X20442
Local Date 02/21/2000
Local Time 1123
State AK
Airport Name RALPH WEIN MEMORIAL
Event Type ACCIDENT
Injury Severity MINOR
Record Status
Mid Air Collision NO
Event Location OFF AIRPORT/AIRSTRIP

WEATHER INFORMATION
Weather Briefing Complete FULL
Basic Weather Conditions INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL COND
Light Condition DAY
Cloud Condition PARTIAL OBSCURATION
Cloud Height above Ground Level (ft) 1400
Ceiling Height above Ground Level (ft) 0
Cloud Type OBSCURED
Visibility RVR (ft) 0
Visibility RVV (sm) 0
Visibility (sm) 1
Wind Direction (deg) 250
Wind Condition Flag U
Wind Speed (knots) 3
Wind Condition Indicated Unknown

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
Aircraft 1
Type of Operation PART 135: AIR TAXI & COMMUTER
Registration Number N219CS
Aircraft Make PIPER
Aircraft Model PA31T
Aircraft Series 3
Aircraft Damage SUBSTANTIAL
Aircraft Fire NONE
Aircraft Explosion NONE
Aircraft Type AIRPLANE
Aircraft Homebuilt UNKNOWN
Phase of Flight UNDEFINED
Aircraft Use UNKNOWN
Category of Operation SCHEDULED
Flight Plan Filed IFR
Domestic/International DOMESTIC
Passenger/Cargo PASSENGER/CARGO
Operator Name CAPE SMYTHE AIR SERVICE
Operator Doing Business As
Owner Name CAPE SMYTHE AIR SERVICE, INC.
Number of Seats 10
Number of Engines 2
ELT Installed YES
ELT Operated YES
Departure Airport Id PIZ
Departure City POINT LAY
Departure State ALASKA
Last Departure Point NO
Destination Local CRASH AT DESTINATION CITY
Destination Airport Id OTZ
Destination City
Runway Id 26
Runway Length 5900
Runway Width 150
Air Carrier Operating Certificates YES
Air Carrier Other Operating Certificates UNKNOWN
Rotocraft/Agriculture Operating Certificate UNKNOWN
Cert Max Gross Wgt 9000
Landing Gear RETR

ENGINE INFORMATION

Aircraft 1 - Engine : #1
Engine Manufactuer P&W
Engine Model PT6-A-11
Engine Horsepower 500
Engine Thrust HP

INJURY INFORMATION
Injury Summary for Aircraft 1
Fatal Serious Minor None
Crew 0 0 0 0
Pass 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 1 0
Sequence of Events for Aircraft 1
Occurrence #1
IN FLIGHT COLLISION WITH TERRAIN/WATER
Phase of Operation: APPROACH - FAF/OUTER MARKER TO THRESHOLD (IFR)

Events Sequence for Occurrence #1 of Aircraft 1
Event Seq # Event Group Code Subject Modifier Personnel Cause/Factor
1 2 LEVEL OFF NOT PERFORMED PILOT IN COMMAND FACTOR
2 3 EXCESSIVE WORKLOAD (TASK OVERLOAD) PILOT IN COMMAND FACTOR
3 2 MINIMUM DESCENT ALTITUDE EXCEEDED PILOT IN COMMAND CAUSE




AIRCRAFT 1 PRELIMINARY REPORT


On February 21, 2000, about 1123 Alaska standard time, a Piper PA-31-T3 airplane, N219CS, sustained substantial damage when it collided with frozen pack ice on the Chukchi Sea, three miles west of Kotzebue, Alaska, during an instrument approach to the Ralph Wein Memorial Airport, Kotzebue. The solo airline transport pilot received minor injuries. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 135 as scheduled commuter Flight 170, by Cape Smythe Air Service, Inc., of Barrow, Alaska. The flight originated in Barrow, with intermediate stops at Wainwright, and Point Lay, Alaska. Instrument meteorological conditions of 3/4 mile visibility in snow and fog were reported at Kotzebue at 1116. The pilot filed an IFR flight plan while airborne, and received an IFR clearance to Kotzebue, from a point 35 miles northwest of Kotzebue. The flight was cleared for the GPS Runway 8 approach, and at 1117, the pilot reported to the Kotzebue FAA Flight Service Station that the airplane was on a 10 mile final. The airplane did not arrive at the airport, and an ELT signal was received about 1124. A ground search located the airplane at 1215. Postaccident inspection by the FAA revealed the airplane remained upright, all three landing gear assemblies separated from the airplane, and substantial damage had occurred to both wings and the tail assembly. The pilot stated in his NTSB Pilot/Operator report that once he was cleared for the approach, he began a steep descent with the autopilot engaged. He indicated that as the airplane crossed the final approach course about 10 miles from the airport at 3,000 feet msl, the autopilot turned the airplane inbound toward the airport. He said he continued the steep descent attempting to cross the final approach fix at 1,600 feet. He noted the airplane had overshot the course to the south, and the autopilot was not correcting very well. He disengaged the autopilot and manually increased the correction heading to intercept the final approach course. He said that during the descent he completed the landing checklist, extended the landing gear and flaps, and tuned the communications radio to the Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) frequency to update the weather, which reported 3/4 miles visibility in snow. He then tuned the second navigation radio to the ILS frequency, thinking he should fly the ILS. The pilot said he looked up from tuning the radios to see the sea ice coming up too quickly to react, and the airplane impacted terrain. A review of the Air Traffic Control radar plot of the airplane's ground track depicted the airplane overshooting the final approach course from north to south, and then overshooting to the north prior to impacting the sea ice. During a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge on March 2, the pilot stated the last altitude he remembered seeing was 800 feet msl. He related there were no preaccident anomalies with the airplane, and that this airplane's radar altimeter was not configured to generate an aural warning when the airplane descended below the selected minimum descent altitude, which he had set to 300 feet agl. The pilot commented that he "did not stay ahead of the airplane."

AIRCRAFT 1 FINAL REPORT


The airplane collided with frozen pack ice, three miles from the airport, during a GPS instrument approach. Instrument conditions of 3/4 mile visibility in snow and fog were reported at the time of the accident. The pilot stated that he began a steep descent with the autopilot engaged. He indicated that as the airplane crossed the final approach course, the autopilot turned the airplane inbound toward the airport. He continued the steep descent, noted the airplane had overshot the course, and the autopilot was not correcting very well. He disengaged the autopilot and manually increased the correction heading to intercept the final approach course. During the descent he completed the landing checklist, extended the landing gear and flaps, and was tuning both the communications and navigation radios. The pilot said he looked up from tuning the radios to see the sea ice coming up too quickly to react, and impacted terrain. The pilot relayed there were no preaccident anomalies with the airplane, and that he 'did not stay ahead of the airplane.'

AIRCRAFT 1 CAUSE REPORT


The pilot descended below the minimum descent altitude. Factors associated with this accident were the task overload of the pilot during the instrument approach, and not performing a level off.


END REPORT