Kreindler Partners Follow Investigation of Mid-Air Crash near Soldotna, Alaska

Kreindler partners and former military pilots Brian Alexander, Justin Green and Dan Rose are following a fatal midair crash involving a Piper PA-12 airplane and a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver float plane that killed all 7 people aboard both aircraft near the airport in Soldotna, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula.

There were 6 people aboard the de Havilland DHC-2 airplane including the pilot, a tour guide and a family group of 4 South Carolina tourists. Alaska state representative Gary Knopp was the pilot of the Piper PA-12 airplane. According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) preliminary investigation, the lawmaker was the sole occupant of the Piper PA-12 which took off from Soldotna’s Airport. The de Havilland DHC-2 floatplane took off to the northeast of Soldotna’s airport, from nearby Longmere Lake. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined the planes collided around 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020.

Alaska state representative Gary Knopp was the pilot and sole occupant of the Piper PA-12 which took off from Soldotna’s Airport. There were 6 people aboard the de Havilland DHC-2 floatplane including the pilot, a tour guide and a family group of 4 South Carolina tourists. The de Havilland DHC-2 took off to the northeast of Soldotna’s airport, from nearby Longmere Lake.

The pilot of the de Havilland, Greg Bell, was part owner along with his family of High Adventure Air Charter, a business which offers custom charter and tour trips. The de Havilland Beaver was one of High Adventure Air Charter's aircraft. Bell was flying with five passengers: David Rogers, a hunting and fishing tour guide, and a tour group of family/friends from South Carolina: Caleb Hulsey and his wife, Heather Hulsey, Mackay Hulsey and his girlfriend Kirsten Wright, all in their 20s.

According to Anchorage Daily News, the "National Weather Service reports from the Soldotna airport for Friday morning showed clear visibility, with broken clouds at 10,000 and 4,500 feet."

In the Media

Aircraft Information, per Aviation Safety Network (a service of Flight Safety Foundation)

High school sweethearts from SC killed in Alaska plane crash that claimed 7 lives (Fox Carolina)

Preliminary Investigation

Kreindler’s preliminary investigation shows that the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver floatplane (N4982U Aircraft Registration) was manufactured in 1956 and owned by Soldotna Aircraft & Equipment Leasing LLC in Soldotna, AK. The plane’s engine was an R-985 series, manufactured by Pratt & Whitney.

The Piper PA-12 (N2587M Aircraft Registration) was a 1946 model that received its airworthiness certificate in 1957. The Piper PA-12 is a fixed-wing airplane with a single Lycoming O-235 series engine.

"Pilots, whether private or commercial, have a responsibility to see and avoid other planes.  While U.S. airspace is vast, all aircraft must takeoff and land at airports and as a result, airports are where aircraft naturally come close to each other.  Not surprisingly it is in the vicinity of airports that most mid-air collisions, like this one, occur."
~ Kreindler Partner, former Navy Pilot and commercially licensed Sea Plane Pilot Dan Rose

Kreindler Experience with Sightseeing Planes

Kreindler partners have handled many cases involving tour and private airplanes including the Piper and de Havilland models that were in this tragedy.

  • Kreindler Partner and former Army pilot Brian Alexander represented victims of a previous Alaskan single-engine de Havilland Canada DHC-3 floatplane crash – the 2010 tragedy that killed former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.
  • Kreindler partner and former U.S. Marine pilot Justin Green successfully represented victims of the 2009 Hudson River mid-air collision involving a tour helicopter and a Piper PA-32R airplane.
  • Kreindler Partner Dan Rose is a former Navy pilot and is a licensed seaplane pilot. Mr. Rose along with partners Brian Alexander and Justin Green have handled many mid-air crash cases. No law firm in the world has represented more clients and their families following mid-air aviation collisions than Kreindler & Kreindler.
About Kreindler & Kreindler

Kreindler is one of the largest and most distinguished aviation accident law firms in the world. Since 1950, our attorneys have served as lead counsel in nearly every major commercial aviation disaster litigation. Additionally, we have handled countless private, charter, military, general aviation and helicopter accident cases. Our partners have authored numerous highly acclaimed books, articles and treatises on aviation litigation, including the leading treatise in the field, Aviation Accident Law.