On 13 May 2019, a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver floatplane operated by Mountain Air Service collided with a Taquan Air de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbine Otter floatplane over George Inlet, Alaska, United States. The DHC-2 broke up in mid-air with the loss of the single pilot and all 4 passengers. The DHC-3 pilot was able to maintain partial control, but the aircraft suffered substantial damage in the collision and the subsequent forced landing; the pilot suffered minor injuries, 9 passengers suffered serious injuries, and 1 passenger was killed. Both aircraft were conducting sightseeing flights. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
|2019 George Inlet, Alaska mid-air collision|
|Date||13 May 2019|
|Summary||Mid-air collision; under investigation|
|Site||George Inlet, Alaska, United States |
N952DB, the DHC-2 Beaver involved
|Type||de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver|
|Operator||Mountain Air Service|
|Flight origin||Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base|
|Destination||Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base|
De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbine Otter floatplane similar to the accident aircraft
|Type||de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbine Otter|
|Flight origin||Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base|
|Destination||Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base|
The first accident aircraft was a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver floatplane, FAA aircraft registration number N952DB, serial number 237, owned and operated by Mountain Air Service LLC. The second accident aircraft was a de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbine Otter floatplane, FAA number N959PA, serial number 159, owned by Pantechnicon Aviation Ltd. and operated by Taquan Air. Both aircraft were conducting local sightseeing flights of the Misty Fiords National Monument area for the benefit of passengers of a Princess Cruises cruise ship docked in Ketchikan, Alaska and were operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 135 as on-demand sightseeing flights. Neither aircraft carried, or was required to carry, a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder.
Both aircraft were returning to Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base approximately 7 mi (11 km) southwest. The DHC-2 was flying at 107 knots (198 km/h) at an altitude of about 3,350 feet (1,020 m) mean sea level (MSL) while the DHC-3 was gradually descending at 126 knots (233 km/h) from an altitude of 3,700 feet (1,100 m) MSL. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The DHC-3 was equipped with an Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) collision warning system, but the pilot did not perceive any ADS-B collision warnings before he saw a "flash" to his left, and the two aircraft collided at 12:21 PM local time at an altitude of about 3,350 feet (1,020 m) MSL.
The DHC-3 pitched about 40 degrees nose down, but pilot was able to maintain partial control and perform a landing flare before touching down in George Inlet. The floats separated from the aircraft and it began to sink; the pilot and 9 passengers were able to evacuate to shore with the help of bystanders, but 1 passenger was trapped in the wreck. The DHC-3 came to rest under about 80 ft (24 m) of water.
The DHC-2 broke up in mid-air, creating an approximately 2,000 ft by 1,000 ft (610 m by 305 m) debris field about 1.75 mi (2.82 km) southwest of the DHC-3 crash site. The DHC-2 fuselage, empennage, and cabin structure were separated from one another, and the right wing showed damage consistent with propeller impacts.
The DHC-3 airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries, 9 passengers sustained serious injuries, and 1 passenger sustained fatal injuries; the DHC-2 pilot and 4 passengers suffered fatal injuries. 6 injured victims were admitted to a local hospital and 4 others were evacuated to Seattle. 2 bodies were not recovered until the following day.
The deceased DHC-2 pilot was also co-owner of Mountain Air Service and the company canceled all operations after the crash. Taquan Air Flight 20 crashed one week later on 20 May and the airline suspended all flights the following day. Amid increased oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Taquan resumed limited cargo service on 23 May, scheduled passenger flights on 31 May, and on-demand sightseeing tours on 3 June.
The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined high-wing propeller-driven short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft developed and manufactured by de Havilland Canada. It has been primarily operated as a bush plane and has been used for a wide variety of utility roles, such as cargo and passenger hauling, aerial application (crop dusting and aerial topdressing), and civil aviation duties.
Shortly after the end of the Second World War, de Havilland Canada made the decision to orient itself towards civilian operators. Based upon feedback from pilots, the company decided that the envisioned aircraft should have excellent STOL performance, all-metal construction, and accommodate many features sought by the operators of bush planes. On 16 August 1947, the maiden flight of the aircraft, which had received the designation DHC-2 Beaver, took place. In April 1948, the first production aircraft was delivered to the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Beaver played a supporting role in Sir Edmund Hillary's famous 1958 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole.
In addition to its use in civilian operations, the Beaver has been widely adopted by armed forces as a utility aircraft. The United States Army purchased several hundred aircraft; nine DHC-2s are still in service with the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol) for search and rescue. By 1967, in excess of 1,600 Beavers had been constructed prior to the closure of the original assembly line. Various aircraft have been remanufactured and upgraded. Additionally, various proposals have been mooted to return the Beaver to production.
The Beaver's versatility and performance led to it being the preferred aircraft of bush pilots servicing remote locations in the Canadian north, and it is considered by aviation historians to be a Canadian icon. In 1987, the Canadian Engineering Centennial Board named the DHC-2 one of the top ten Canadian engineering achievements of the 20th century. The Royal Canadian Mint honoured the aircraft on a special edition Canadian quarter in November 1999, and on a 50-cent commemorative gold coin in 2008. Large numbers continue to be operational into the 21st century, while the tooling and type certificate for the Beaver have been acquired by Viking Air who continue to produce replacement components and refurbish examples of the type.De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter
The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada. It was conceived to be capable of performing the same roles as the earlier and highly successful Beaver, including as a bush plane, but is overall a larger aircraft.List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft
This list of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft includes notable events that have a corresponding Wikipedia article. Entries in this list involve passenger or cargo aircraft that are operating commercially and meet this list's size criteria—passenger aircraft with a seating capacity of at least 10 passengers, or commercial cargo aircraft of at least 20,000 lb (9,100 kg). The list is grouped by the year in which the accident or incident occurred.Taquan Air
Taquan Air is the operating name for Venture Travel, LLC, an American regional airline headquartered in Ketchikan, a city in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Alaska. It operates domestic scheduled passenger and charter services. Its base is Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base, which shares the same harbor and airspace as Ketchikan International Airport. As per the United States Department of Transportation in a report dated August 2, 2010, Taquan Air is a "U.S. Certificated Air Carrier", and is 1 of 125 such carriers in the US.Taquan Air's heyday was in 1997 when they were the largest floatplane company in the world and the second largest air commuter service in Alaska, carrying 243,000 passengers that year. In a continuing effort to grow, they sought FAR part 121 certification, allowing them to carry more than nine passengers on a flight. They achieved certification and began flights in 1998, but the costs of the new venture and economic factors led to the sale of assets and layoffs in 1999. New ownership in 2000 kept the company name alive, and Taquan remains known for their floatplanes.
Taquan Air's flight schedule provides for the delivery of US Mail, and includes service to the fourth-largest island in the US, Prince of Wales Island; and the easternmost town in Alaska, Hyder. An accident in 2007 associated with a raincloud has led to the installation of weather cameras throughout Alaska. Taquan Air, along with other Ketchikan flight services, provides "flightseeing" tours over pristine Misty Fjords National Monument, and bear viewings within the Earth's largest remaining temperate rainforest, Tongass National Forest.Taquan Air Flight 20
Taquan Air Flight 20 is a regularly scheduled commuter flight operated by Taquan Air from Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base to Metlakatla Seaplane Base. On 20 May 2019, the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver floatplane operating the flight overturned in the harbor in Metlakatla, Alaska, United States during a water landing, destroying the aircraft and killing both persons aboard. The cause of the crash is under investigation.