This April 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: Cessna 152. Injuries: None. Location: Talkeetna, Alaska. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot said that he was on a local flight when he made a low pass about 100 feet over a camp on a glacier. The density altitude at the time was about 7,200 feet. He made the pass with full flaps, with approximately 65 knots of airspeed. When he retracted the flaps, he said that the airplane descended uncontrolled into the snow, despite the full application of power.
The pilot indicated that there were no known mechanical problems with the airplane prior to the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage during impact.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed to avoid an aerodynamic stall while maneuvering at a high density altitude.
For more information: NTSB.gov