The pilot of the float-equipped Helio Courier stated that after takeoff from a lake near Bethel, Alaska, about 30-50 feet above the treetops, the plane encountered a downdraft and descended uncontrolled into trees and terrain.
The nearest weather reporting station was 7 nm to the north, and reported that the wind was 350° true at 17 knots, with gusts to 23.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and the elevator.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a positive climb rate during takeoff initial climb, resulting in an uncontrolled descent and collision with trees and terrain.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA268
This September 2015 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.