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Thread: A small plane crashed on Tikchik Lake near Dillingham

  1. #1
    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    Default A small plane crashed on Tikchik Lake near Dillingham

    From ADN:

    A small plane crashed on Tikchik Lake on Sunday and a hunting guide who saw it flip and sink told troopers no one got out, Alaska State Troopers report.
    A National Transportation Safety Board investigator says the pilot was the sole person on board and was killed in the crash.
    The guide and a hunter were waiting for the plane, owned and operated by Fresh Water Adventures, to pick them up, said Larry Lewis, an NTSB investigator. The air taxi service is owned by the Ball family and based in Dillingham, according to the company website. A message left at the air taxi service was not returned.
    Troopers haven't identified the pilot or described the plane. KDLG radio in Dillingham said family friends identified the pilot as Newt Ball, 71.
    The plane that crashed was a Grumman Widgeon built in 1944. It's an amphibious, high-winged twin engine plane that, based on initial reports, may have had a hard landing on glassy water, Lewis said.
    "We just have some basic observations by some witnesses. And it looks like he may just have landed hard and maybe caught a wing but we're not sure yet," the investigator said.
    The guide saw the plane trying to land on the lake, then flip and begin to sink, troopers said. The guide didn't see anyone escape the aircraft. He also watched the area after the crash and didn't see anyone in the water, troopers said.
    Neither troopers nor the NTSB immediately knew how far the plane was from shore and the hunter and guide, or how deep the water was. Troopers may use divers to recover it.
    The lake is in Wood-Tikchik State Park about 63 miles north of Dillingham.
    The hunting guide reported to troopers around 5:15 p.m. on Sunday that the plane had crashed.
    Troopers say they have preliminary information regarding the aircraft and pilot but won't release it until a trooper can get to the scene and confirm what they were told.
    The pilot was experienced, Lewis said. He had traveled on the Grumman, with the pilot, in 2010 to investigate the plane crash that killed former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
    The witnesses reported glassy water on Tikchik Lake at the time of the crash, Lewis said.
    "And glassy water landings are -- it seems odd -- but glassy water landings are some of the most difficult landings you can do in an amphibious airplane," Lewis said. "It presents some anomalies as far as depth perception goes." Special techniques are needed, he said.
    Fog and darkness prevented troopers from getting to lake on Sunday and but the fog cleared by Monday afternoon, trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.
    A trooper based in Dillingman was headed to the scene, she said. Troopers planned to meet with the guide to get a more precise location on the lake and determine whether the plane could be retrieved, Lewis said. He was awaiting word on whether to go out to Dillingham.

    Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/10/08/265449...#storylink=cpy

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    What a tragedy. The Ball brothers are really old time Alaska pilots. That Widgeon has been around the area a long time.

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    Very bad news
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    A very unusual accident for a long time MES pilot. Sincere condolences to all family and friends.

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    It does seem odd (unusual) to be sure, since Newt could fly the box that the parts were shipped within. It will probably one of those things we will never know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    It does seem odd (unusual) to be sure, since Newt could fly the box that the parts were shipped within. It will probably one of those things we will never know.
    Right you are !!! Besides the slick water landing, which he could be expected to handle quite well, or landing with the gear down, which again seems unreasonable, that leaves medical matters it would appear. Perhaps mechanical failure, or even structural failure, which the observor surely would have noticed, were at play there. At any rate, you're very likely right: probably one of those things that we may never know . . . . .

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    I've flown with Newt, in that Widgeon many times and have been following this story all week. Top shelf pilot and gentleman who's life story would fill an entire bookshelf if it where ever written down. ****ed shame.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    I also flew a lot with Newt. We checked out together as Captains at Continental Airline on the Boeing 747 and I know that Newt also flew the long range flights on the Boeing 777. My friend had a lot of experience with all types

    He will be missed and condolences to Carol and his family
    JFRED

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    I talked to the guide he was picking up. He witnessed it -figured he misjudged his altitude due to flat light and the flat calm water- caught a wing tip while banking and cartwheeled. He ran for his sat phone- called 911 and watched it sink while talking to the troopers.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    So he was saying he witnessed a descending turn over glassy water? Yikes...!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    So he was saying he witnessed a descending turn over glassy water? Yikes...!!!
    Certainly a tough landing to walk away from . . . . . even for a supremely experienced and capable pilot.

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    A descending turn over glassy water is not a big deal if you are high enough with visually verifiable altitude by reference to the close proximity of the shoreline. If not, then a landing-attitude (nose high) descent straight in at a minimal rate of descent to glassy water is the safest. Landing in pitch dark on lakes or In foggy glassy water conditions is exactly the same. It's basically a straight-in instrument approach all the way to touch down.

    My heart felt sympathy to Newt's family

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    Kind of think Grizzly 2, might be on to something, not that I know, because I do not ... but, names withheld in courtsey to the widdows that we still know, great gal's one and all .... more than once, pilots, far better than me have, at advanced age, found themself's in a medical emergency when doing what they knew so well and they did the best they could before everything went to black ..... may god bless

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_s...w_left_bullets

    The gentleman's body has been recovered.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Good for his family. Close the book. Smile with the memories.

    Rest in Peace.

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    Roger that, there are a lot of worse ways to go....
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