August 12, 2010, McGrath, Alaska, Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub


The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1500 Alaska time when it impacted terrain. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Instrument conditions prevailed.

The accident airplane was lead for a flight of two. The second airplanes pilot subsequently reported noticing deteriorating weather ahead. The lead plane continued towards rising terrain and worsening weather. Thinking perhaps the lead pilot was aware of a pass through the mountains, the second pilot followed. Once they passed the first mountain ridge the weather became turbulent, dark and rainy, and both airplanes had to descend to remain clear of clouds. Around this time the pilot of the lead airplane radioed, “Buddy, are you still with me?” The second pilot responded, “Barely” and then lost sight of the lead airplane. As soon as the second pilot lost sight of the lead airplane, he radioed he was “out of here” and turned around. Approximately three minutes after he turned around he heard a short burst of noise on the radio that sounded like an “open microphone.”

The lead aircrafts wreckage was located later that day on rising terrain at the end of a canyon. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses and neither occupant had been wearing a lap belt.


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