Aircraft: Piper Super Cub. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Akiachak, Alaska. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot departed on a flight between two remote Alaskan communities. Because of deteriorating weather conditions along the flight route, he decided to return to his home airport.
During the return flight, he became concerned about his remaining fuel and diverted to an alternate airport. When he reached that airport, he elected not to land because he believed that he had enough fuel to reach his home airport.
As the flight continued, the engine lost power, but he was able to switch fuel tanks and restart the engine.
While maneuvering to land at the closest airport, all engine power was lost, and the pilot made an off-airport landing in a snow-and tree-covered area.
During the approach, the airplane stalled and collided with terrain.
The pilot also reported that while en route to the alternate airport, the instrument panel-mounted carbon monoxide detector turned black.
According to the carbon monoxide detector manufacturer, a positive indication for carbon monoxide would be indicated by the detector showing yellow, green, or dark blue color. Any other color would indicate that the detector was contaminated or outdated. No expiration date was recorded on the carbon monoxide detector.
A post-accident examination of the airplane’s muffler and cabin heater did not disclose any leaks or mechanical anomalies. Therefore, it is unlikely that there was a problem with carbon monoxide during the flight.
Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate fuel planning, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion, and the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the subsequent forced landing, which resulted in an inadvertent stall.
NTSB Identification: ANC13LA009
This November 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.