The non-certificated pilot reported that, following an uneventful local sightseeing flight in his Searey, he conducted a low pass over a lake near Stanwood, Wash., with glassy water conditions, but he did not intend to land.
He thought the plane was about 3 or 4 feet above the water when it suddenly skimmed the water’s surface.
He pulled up, but the plane nosed down into the water, and it became partially submerged.
It is likely that the glassy water conditions adversely affected the pilot’s depth perception, which led to his subsequent failure to judge the height above the water and resulted in the inadvertent touchdown.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the non-certificated pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from water while maneuvering at a low altitude over glassy water conditions, which adversely affected his depth perception.
NTSB Identification: WPR14LA112
This January 2014 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.