The pilot of the Lake LA-4 amphibian stated that the airplane was properly configured for landing on a lake near Chapin S.C., with the landing gear retracted and the flaps extended.
The approach was normal, however, he heard a loud bang immediately after touchdown and felt a lateral force in the cockpit. He then observed that the right wing pontoon had separated. He exited the cockpit before the airplane sank, sustaining minor injuries.Two witnesses in a nearby boat, who rescued the pilot, reported that he commented about the landing, saying it was only his fourth landing on the water and that the water was calm, which can affect depth perception. The pilot, who did have a seaplane rating, had logged 4,360 flight hours, including 21 in the Lake.
The witnesses added that the right wing pontoon contacted the water first, which spun the airplane. The airplane sank in an area of the lake that was approximately 120 feet deep. As of 60 days after the accident, the wreckage had not been located and recovered. The right pontoon was recovered.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s improper flare, which resulted in abnormal contact with the water and separation of the right pontoon.
NTSB Identification: ERA14CA225
This April 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.