The water temp would be about 40f degrees there...!!!! I've fished that water often enough.... Glad everyone was able to swim ashore...!!
Nanwalek can be tricky to operate in and out of,there have been numerous accidents there,in my experience-the direction of the wind and air movements around that place is the number one factor, the topography brings wind shifts and downdrafts from different directions during the takeoff and landing phases. the two wind socks can be pointing in opposite directions, many times you start your takeoff roll towards the town and about the time you rotate you have a tailwind component. you will find yourself low and slow and in a turn (to avoid the church) with a strong tailwind while over the water. I do not know the details of the accident-im just writing my experiences down to help others that may fly in there, I am very glad that everyone survived and made it to town.
"f/64 and be there"
A few years back I knew a pilot who was killed in the water off the Nawalek runway. Screaming X wind out of the valley blowing out to sea, he landed a little long and hot. During an attempted go around (out to sea is the only way to turn) the tail wind gust pushed him right into the water.
There is a trail that goes between Nanwalek (English Bay when I grew up around here) that goes over to Port Graham. If that was turned into a road, then Port Graham strip could handle both villages when the winds are wrong. But that would mean that Nanwalek would probably loose all that extra federal and state funds for their school and other projects just because they are airport access only.
From the Homer News:::::
Pilot, passengers walk away from Nanwalek plane crash; Villagers help in rescueVillagers help in rescue
By Michael Armstrong
A Smokey Bay Air pilot and his three passengers survived a belly-down landing in chilly waters off Nanwalek Thursday afternoon. After landing about 75 feet from the shore, the pilot helped his three passengers get onto the wing of the Cessna 206 airplane. When the plane started to sink in about 15 feet of water, all four swam and then walked to shore.
Nanwalek villagers, including some who waded into the water, helped the victims make it to safety. The victims were checked at the Nanwalek health clinic and reported no injuries.
Villagers also reported the crash, as did the pilot.
"Smokey Bay is exceedingly grateful to the people of Nanwalek and English Bay and the way the community has helped and assisted us in this time of need," said Paul Andrew Lawrence, chief pilot for Smokey Bay Air. "We have only gratitude to them to express for what they have done for us."
Lawrence did not release the names of the pilot or passengers, but said he believed the passengers were from Nanwalek.
The crash happened about 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15 as the Cessna 206 took off from Nanwalek heading north over the village and toward the head of English Bay. As the pilot turned the plane over water, the plane hit a downdraft that pushed the plane toward the ocean. The pilot kept the plane upright, said Chris Shaver, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, Anchorage.
"That's very lucky. They typically go nose over," Shaver said. "They were fortunate they were able to exit the airplane."
Lawrence credited his pilot for making a survivable water landing.
"The main factor is the pilot's skill in ditching the airplane," Lawrence said. "In the process of ditching the airplane, we're lucky it did not flip over on its back."
The Cessna 206 had inflatable personal floatation devices similar to what are used on commercial jet aircraft, but the pilot and passengers did not have time to put them on, Lawrence said.
Nanwalek doesn't have a weather station, but the Homer weather station reported winds out of the east at about 13 to 17 mph, Shaver said.
The Nanwalek Airport is notorious among pilots, with the village at the north of the runway, a 677-foot hill to the south and frequent gusts coming from the east. In eight incidents at the airport since 1975, including a fatal crash in 1998, reports on five incidents cited high winds or crosswinds as a contributing factor. The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities plans to replace the Nanwalek and Port Graham airports with a single, shared airport between the two lower Cook Inlet villages.
The troublesome Nanwalek strip is one of the issues the NTSB will look into in its investigation, Shaver said.
"The surrounding topography will more likely be a factor in this one," he said. "It's close to the mountains. You get a lot of turbulence, a lot of downdrafts."
As of Friday afternoon, the Cessna 206 remained in the water. Lawrence said villagers secured the plane to keep it from being swept away by tides. A team will recover the plane this weekend, Shaver said, with an investigation team coming down from Anchorage next week. A preliminary report will be released within five days, and a finding of probable cause within a year.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Rescue Coordination Center were notified of the crash, but were not needed, Lawrence said.
"The greatest phone call you can make is when you call the Coast Guard and search and rescue center and say 'Our pilots and passenger swam and walked ashore and are not in need of recovery,'" Lawrence said. "That call is the sweetest one for a chief pilot to make. It's a good day."
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would lay money that Nanwalek, as a population base, has a higher percentage of plane accident survivors than any other town, village, or city in the world.
The winner isn't the person with the most gold when they die, but rather, the person with the most stories.
I think I'm with you on that headoutdaplane.
The reason I've heard about not connecting the villages by the trail is they don't get along and neither village wanted it. That is strickly hear say and I really don't know for sure. That would be better for everyone though if they had a road between them and a better airport.