ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbine Otter N703TH Dry Bay Airport, AK
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 24 May 2022
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH3T model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbine Otter
Operator:Yakutat Coastal Airlines
Registration: N703TH
MSN: 456
First flight: 1965
Engines: 1 General Electric H80
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Dry Bay Airport, AK (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Yakutat Airport, AK (YAK/PAYA), United States of America
Destination airport:Dry Bay Airport, AK, United States of America
A de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbine Otter (GE Aviation Czech M601H-80 turbine powered) crashed short of the runway while attempting to land at Dry Bay Airport (3AK), Yakutat, Alaska. The pilot and three passengers were seriously injured. The aircraft sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that during the takeoff roll from Yakutat Airport, he applied takeoff engine power and about 2 seconds later attempted to raise the tail of the airplane by applying forward elevator. He said that the tail came up slightly, but it subsequently settled back to the runway. He thought this was unusual but attributed it to an aft loaded airplane, applied additional nose down trim and departed without incident.
While enroute he stated that the tail of the airplane seemed to move up and down which he attributed to turbulence. Upon arrival at Dry Bay Airport he entered a left downwind for runway 23. At an altitude of about 600 ft, he reduced engine power and extended the flaps to 10° abeam the end of the runway. He turned base leg about half a mile from the approach end of the runway and slowed the airplane to 80 mph. While turning final he noticed the airplane seemed to pitch up, so he applied full nose down pitch trim and extended the flaps an additional 10°. On short final he applied full flaps, and the airplane abruptly pitched up to about a 45° angle. He stated that he applied full nose down elevator, verified the pitch trim, and reduced the power to idle. When the airplane was about 300 ft above ground level, the airplane stalled, broke slightly to the left and entered about a 45° nose down dive. After allowing the airplane to gain airspeed, he applied full back elevator.
The airplane consequently impacted forested terrain near the approach end of runway 23 at an elevation of about 18 ft, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to determine the actual weight and balance of the airplane before departure, which resulted in the airplane being operated outside of the aft center of gravity limits and the subsequent aerodynamic stall on final approach. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration's failure to require weight and balance documentation for 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 single-engine operations.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: ANC22LA035
Download report: Summary report

Centre of Gravity outside limits
Loss of control



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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Yakutat Airport, AK to Dry Bay Airport, AK as the crow flies is 76 km (47 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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