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Mon, Oct 06, 2008

Pilot Lost In Alaska Challenger II Crash

Preliminary NTSB Investigation Underway

The second aircraft accident in a week near Anchorage, AK claimed the life of the pilot, authorities said, crashing into the woods near Eklutna at about 3 pm Friday, October 3.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson said witnesses described the aircraft flying about 100-200 feet over the treetops before suddenly plummeting into trees near a gravel pit along the Alaska Railroad tracks.

The pilot was the only person onboard the Challenger II, a two-seat single-engine homebuilt kitplane. It was equipped with a ballistic parachute, but it was not deployed in the incident. A mechanic came and disarmed the parachute after the crash, Johnson said.

"It was a very quick event," he said. "Witnesses indicated that the airplane essentially nose-dived, actually became inverted, and then went into the trees from there."

Judging from witness accounts, the plane (type shown below) went down too quickly for any radio communication during the descent, Johnson said, adding that the pilot had not filed a flight plan, and the origin and destination of the flight was not yet known.

The Anchorage Daily News said that by Friday evening, Johnson had started examining the mangled wreckage to determine what went wrong. There was no post-crash fire.

Although ADN reports indicate the crash took place as stormy weather was moving in on Anchorage, the weather in Eklutna appears not to have been a factor, Johnson said.

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 7511J        Make/Model: EXP       Description: CHALLENGER II
  Date: 10/03/2008     Time: 2300

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: ANCHORAGE   State: AK   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ONE PERSON ON BOARD WAS
  FATALLY INJURED, 26 MILES FROM ANCHORAGE, AK

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: METAR PANC 032253Z 29003KT 10SM -RA BKN022 OVC050 03/M01 A2934

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: ANCHORAGE, AK  (AL03)                 Entry date: 10/06/2008

FMI: www.ntsb.gov, www.quadcitychallenger.com

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