The Bottoms Of Both Floats Were Heavily Corroded And Discolored

Location: Skwenta, AK Accident Number: ANC22LA080
Date & Time: September 25, 2022, 13:00 Local Registration: N9728B
Aircraft: Cessna 180A Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On September 25, 2022, about 1300 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Cessna 180A airplane, N9728B, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Skwentna, Alaska. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

According to a family member, the accident pilot sent a text message at 1240, indicating that she was ready to taxi for departure from Whiskey Lake so the family member would know when to expect her arrival. The intended route of flight was from Whiskey Lake to Lake Hood (PALH), Anchorage, Alaska. The family member estimated that it would take about 45 minutes to get from the departure point to the destination, and when the airplane was about 15 minutes overdue, he started calling around. A friend of the family flew over Whiskey Lake and found an airplane submerged in the water. Members from the Alaska State Troopers (AST) Search and Rescue team located the airplane and pilot about 1630. Initial on scene photographs taken by AST indicated that the left float separated from the airplane, and it was subsequently located about 175 yards away from the main wreckage. The right float remained partially attached to the submerged airplane wreckage.

On October 4, members from the Alaska Dive Search Rescue and Recovery Team traveled to Whiskey Lake and subsequently recovered the submerged airplane, then moved it to the shoreline. On October 6, the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-charge, along with representatives from Cessna Aircraft and the Federal Aviation Administration, traveled to the accident site. During the on-scene wreckage examination, flight control cable continuity was established from the control inputs to the control surfaces. The right wing was damaged from the tip of the wing inward, the wing tip was not located. The left wing remained submerged. The water rudder handle was in the UP position; the flaps were retracted. The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft flange. One blade was curled aft at the tip, the second blade was bent aft at midspan. Damage consistent with propeller strikes was noted on the inboard portion of the right float.

The bottoms of both floats were heavily corroded and discolored. The right float remained attached to the airframe by the fly wire, and water rudder control cables. There were six patches of varying size noted on the hull of the right float. A portion of the float hull, about midspan from the tip of the float to the step, was partially separated and bent aft. The left float separated and was also recovered to the shore, impact damage was noted on the front tip of the float. There was one patch on the hull of the left float, with another patch on top of it. The aircraft was equipped with EDO 2870 floats.