Deep snow bends Stinson

This December 2009 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Stinson 108-1. Injuries: None. Location: Selawik, Alaska. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot was on a cross-country flight in a ski-equipped airplane when he encountered whiteout conditions. He turned around to return to the departure airport. As the visibility continued to diminish, he elected to land on a frozen, snow-covered lake. The airplane landed hard on the uneven terrain, and the left main landing gear collapsed and the left wing hit the snow.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper descent rate during landing, resulting in a hard landing.

For more information:; NTSB Identification: ANC10CA010.


  1. Sandeewebb says

    A true “Whiteout’ would appear to emphasis terrain avoidance rather than opting for an off airport landing. A decent VSi might provide the resource for a descent. Whiteout would make any surface appraisal a guess at best. A perfect descent rate onto an unacceptable surface gets a partial credit at best.

  2. Dennis Reiley says

    Really, how do you maintain a proper descent rate in whiteout conditions? A whiteout means the conditions make it difficult to discern the horizon, the sky and land blend together. In landing, rate of descent is most accurately determined visually, instead of by instruments. A whiteout makes that almost impossible.

    The cause of the hard landing was whiteout. Who was the half-baked investigator who determined it was improper rate of descent. Obviously they have no idea of what a whiteout is.

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