Alaska Aviation Disaster Prompts Changes To Radio Frequencies

Alaska Aviation Disaster Prompts Changes To Radio Frequencies

Alaska is known for aviation. On almost any day, locals can peer into the sky and find small planes weaving through the woods and mountains. In fact, many natives of the state rely on aircrafts to get around.

Recent investigations from the National Transportation Safety Board suggest that pilots who were involved in a fatal 2011 flight collision in Alaska were on separate radio frequencies right before the accident. This created a deadly communication problem.

Two planes were headed to Amber Lake before the catastrophe ensued. The surviving pilot of the accident asserts that he did not hear the nearby aviator on his radio frequency, which is often used in the Talkeetna area (slightly north of Anchorage). Moreover, the pilot notes that he did not notice the other plane until seconds before the collision. He explains that he made aggressive attempts to direct his plane up and to the side; however, he could not avoid the oncoming aircraft.

In the accident, the other pilot’s single-engine Cessna floatplane crashed and burned to pieces. The incident killed the Cessna’s 41-year-old operator, his wife and their two daughters. At the time of the incident, the Cessna pilot was believed to be using another radio frequency, which is also utilized in the region.

Local aviators explain that the area is marked with a disorganized labyrinth of radio frequencies. Moreover, the Federal Aviation Administration established confusing frequency guidelines.

In the aftermath of the crash, Alaska safety advocates have pushed for changes to the radio frequency guidelines. The 2011 aviation accident has garnered enough attention, and local agencies are giving recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration. The hope is that the government can cure the complex frequency guidelines, thus preventing future aviation tragedies.

According to, there are at least 200 public and private airports, lakes (for landing) and landing strips in the area. Hopefully, a revised plan will replace the problem with clearly marked frequency zones.


Even the smallest aviation error can lead to fatal consequences. Pilot errors, mechanical malfunctions and communication problems are just a few issues that can compromise the safety of travelers.

When aviation crashes do occur, injury or wrongful death claims can be challenging to investigate. Remote crash sites and forensic evidence (from a destroyed plane, for example) are just two common hurdles associated with aviation accident investigations. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a plane catastrophe, you may benefit from professional assistance. An experienced personal injury attorney can help investigate your collision and assess your potential recovery rights associated with the incident.