Aircraft: Republic RC-3 Seabee. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Cedar Bluff, Ala. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot of the amphibious airplane flew to visit a friend who lived on the shore of a lake. According to the pilot’s friend, the pilot normally approached the lake from the north, made a left 180° turn, and then landed to the north.
On the day of the accident, however, the wind was calm, and instead of landing to the north, the pilot flew over his friend’s house from the west, about 400 feet above ground level, made a left 180° turn, and began a descent toward the surface of the lake.
During the descent, the airplane hit a set of electrical transmission lines. The Seabee rolled upside down and crashed into the lake.
Examination of the electrical transmission lines revealed that they were unmarked where they crossed the lake. According to a FAAinspector and local witnesses, the lines were hard to see and did not contrast well with the surrounding terrain due to the color of the sky, water, and cloud cover.
Investigators noted the pilot should have been aware of the lines, because they were depicted on the sectional chart for the area, and he had landed on the lake several times before.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to see and avoid power lines during final approach to landing.
NTSB Identification: ERA12LA562
This August 2012 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.