Richard D. Crawford 8/20/95 Mt Susitna Flying Crash

Body Found In Plane Wreckage
ADN 9/19/95

The Alaska State Troopers recovered a body Monday from the burned wreckage of a small plane reported overdue Aug. 21. Steve Wilhelmi, a troopers' spokesman in Anchorage, said the effort was organized after a helicopter pilot on Sunday reported seeing wreckage near the end of a Mount Susitna landing strip. The area is due west of Anchorage. Wilhelmi said remains are presumed to be those of pilot Richard D. Crawford, 45, of Anchorage. Troopers reached the site Monday along with federal air safety investigators. Authorities say the pilot planned to go to Mount Susitna in his Piper PA-18 Super Cub to practice touch-and-go landings. Troopers were awaiting a positive identification Monday from the state medical examiner.

NTSB Accident Database
Date: 08/20/95
A/C Type: Piper Pa-18a

Probable Cause Report
The certificated private pilot departed on a local area flight to practice touch and go landings in the area of a 4,200 foot high mountain. The airplane did not return and an aerial search was initiated. On the day of the accident, a witness in an airplane flying in the area, reported to search personnel that she observed an airplane crest the mountain top and descend downslope out of view, followed by a cloud of dust. Search personnel reported only finding miscellaneous debris. The wreckage was located about 4 weeks later near the summit of the mountain, partially consumed by a postcrash fire. It was found by a passing helicopter nestled in a grey and black colored rock outcropping. The wreckage path was oriented on an easterly heading and was located about 100 yards south of a small airstrip at the top of the mountain. The airstrip is oriented on a north/south heading. About 27 miles West of Anchorage, the wind was reported to be from 250 degrees at 4 knots.

Probable Cause
The pilot's improper in-flight planning/decision and failure to maintain adequate clearance or altitude from the mountainous terrain, while maneuvering near an airstrip.