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Ketchikan Float Planes Crash


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11 hours ago, cruises42 said:

We are doing a flight to Denali from Anchorage (as an excursion). Does anyone know what company they use (I don't think it is listed in the excursion description). I was a little hesitant to book it and now I'm more nervous.

We were on the NA last week and we received a notice in our stateroom after the first Ketchikan float plane accident that all excursions on Taguan Air had been suspended.  We were not booked on a float plane excursion but the notice was distributed to all staterooms.  It was very sad to see the flags at half-mast in Ketchikan when we arrived there a few days later.

Edited by RoyalVisit
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5 hours ago, Oakman58 said:

Jeez, that's three floatplane crashes in something like 9 days.  I'm beginning to rethink the floatplane trip we have scheduled in Anchorage next month.

My Mom used to say at bad things happen in 3s, so perhaps this is over.  I have flown MANY times on these small planes, but only once on a float plane.  I was never concerned about the safety factor, but now even I am wondering about these excursions (or perhaps I am just getting too conservative in my old age!

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1 hour ago, DaveOKC said:

My Mom used to say at bad things happen in 3s, so perhaps this is over.  I have flown MANY times on these small planes, but only once on a float plane.  I was never concerned about the safety factor, but now even I am wondering about these excursions (or perhaps I am just getting too conservative in my old age!

 

That's an interesting way to look at it.  I irrationally believe in the rule of three as well.

We're booked for a floatplane out to Neets Bay this summer.  Not sure I have the stomach for it now.  But perhaps this summer would be a good time to go for it.  Or, heck, maybe most of them will be cancelled anyhow.

We shall see.

 

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1 hour ago, DaveOKC said:

My Mom used to say at bad things happen in 3s, so perhaps this is over.  I have flown MANY times on these small planes, but only once on a float plane.  I was never concerned about the safety factor, but now even I am wondering about these excursions (or perhaps I am just getting too conservative in my old age!

 

I had forgotten that my mom used to say the same thing.  Now that the "rule of 3's" has been satisfied I might as well go on that floatplane excursion.

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1 hour ago, DaveOKC said:

My Mom used to say at bad things happen in 3s, so perhaps this is over.  I have flown MANY times on these small planes, but only once on a float plane.  I was never concerned about the safety factor, but now even I am wondering about these excursions (or perhaps I am just getting too conservative in my old age!

 

 

I believe in that old saying (showing my age) about things coming in threes.  3 Float Plane accidents 

 

3 famous people died recently:

Doris Day 

Peggy Lipton

Tim Conway

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Unfortunately, the rule of threes is just superstition.  It doesn't replace the safety record of these small companies that operate under less stringent regulation.  Just like sightseeing helicopter crashes, this happens with these flightseeing planes every few years (almost two dozen people killed in Alaska since 2007, most of them within the last few years).  The NTSB investigation report invariably cites a cause that essentially says it's due to poor regulation & pressure of the tourist industry to fly in risky conditions.  The cruise lines are directly complicit in this as it is usually their passengers who are being sold on the idea of taking these flights.

Edited by bEwAbG
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23 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

HAL does not identify the company, but you can figure out who the vendor is by checking the websites of the companies that fly out of Anchorage and comparing the blurbs to the HAL excursion descriptions. They're often word-for-word the same. Also look at the photos. The photo in HAL's excursion list is often supplied by the vendor. The excursion I took was with Regal and they were excellent. 

 

Thanks, I will check. We got an e-mail today telling us that the flight we booked has been cancelled for the season but they still have another one to Denali so we booked that.

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On 5/21/2019 at 5:47 AM, AncientWanderer said:

I haven't shared our own "float plane story" because I don't like being a fear-monger, but I think I may as well.

DH took a float plane in Alaska a few years back when he was on a salmon fishing trip with a buddy.  They were up there and the engine cut out.  They lost altitude...and the pilot was able to restart the engine.  A few minutes later -- repeat of the engine cut out, altitude loss, and repeat of the restart.

The pilot immediately turned the plane around and headed back in.  He said it was a case of "bad fuel."

 

Lots of different things can happen.

I'm sorry to say that a few years ago a friend was killed in a float plane crash in Alaska.  The plane had a small group of avid fishermen onboard from a nearby, well known salmon fishing lodge.  It crashed in the water while taking off,  and I heard later that the engine may have been the culprit.  There were no survivors.  A few months afterwards,  I leaned that friend's husband was also on the same flight.  It's not clear if both men knew each other, as they were from opposite sides of the country.   

But the "coincidence" of knowing two unrelated people who lost their lives on the same tragic flight, and the past years' crashes involving cruise ship passengers,   has kept me OFF of flight seeing tours,  and not recommending them when asked.  Alaska  is stunningly beautiful, and  I understand that many people have enjoyed the flights.  However I think we can all agree that those flights present an unusual risk that may not be made clear to cruise ship passengers.   

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For anyone interested in the investigation of the midair collision in Ketchikan, here is the preliminary report:

 

https://go.usa.gov/xmfmQ

 

The DHC-3 pilot stated the flight from the Misty Fjords area had proceeded normally, and he had descended and was maneuvering the airplane to show passengers a waterfall near Mahoney Lake when the collision occurred. He had not observed any potential conflicting traffic on his flight display that included Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADSB) system data. He last recalled looking at his ADS-B display when he was flying over Carroll Inlet. Just prior to the collision, he saw a flash from his left side, and experienced a large, loud impact. According to the pilot, the DHC-3 airplane then rolled right and pitched about 40 degrees nose down toward the water in George Inlet. He stated that he was able to maintain some control and flare the airplane prior to impact. The pilot estimated that the airplane impacted the water about five seconds after the collision. The pilot, some passengers, and some bystanders helped the passengers of the DHC-3 evacuate the airplane and move to the shore.

Edited by jakkojakko
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12 hours ago, jakkojakko said:

For anyone interested in the investigation of the midair collision in Ketchikan, here is the preliminary report:

 

https://go.usa.gov/xmfmQ

 

 

 

ADS-B is not an alternative to full TCAS.   However, it helps.   But, when doing low, slow, aerial tour flights, the best anti-collision device you can get is an alert pilot's eyeballs who is not concerning him/her self with entertaining passengers.    Your head must be constantly on a swivel, checking for other traffic, and constantly announcing your position on the agreed upon frequency to all planes touring in the area.   You can't sit there, relying on electronics to cover your butt, when you are flying random patterns and varying altitudes with many other aircraft in the area doing the same.  The basic rule of flying is..... Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.   Aviate (fly the airplane), Navigate (meaning know where you are in relation to the ground, obstacles, and other aircraft) and Communicate, (announcing your position in uncontrolled airspace).   There's nothing in that basic rule that speaks of providing a running tour narration and altering your path of flight to accommodate the passengers photography needs. 

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