Anchorage Pilot And Two Passenger Lucky To Be Alive




Anchorage Pilot And Two Passenger Lucky To Be Alive

By Mike Mitchell


September 22, 2009, Anchorage, – Dylan Honebriak, 27, a pilot from Anchorage, Alaska was departing the beach along Patton Bay on Montague Island in his 1955 Piper Pacer, when the Piper Pacer flipped over while taking off at about 3:15 PM Monday.  

Honebriak and his two passengers, his stepfather Ricardo Montoya, 48, and stepbrother Keith Montoya, 18, both Soldotna residents, escaped the plane (Tail Number N2601P) without injuries. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk and crew from the Coast Guard’s Cordova Aviation Support Facility rescued the three stranded men.

The Alaska State Troopers were the first to receive notice of the incident after a satellite phone call was made by the stranded men.  The State Troopers immediately passed the call to the Coast Guard who then launched the Cordova helicopter and crew. The rescue crew arrived at the location of the survivors and safely picked them up after landing the helicopter nearby. Honebriak and his family members were safely transported to Seward where they were released at the local airport at 4:10 p.m.

“The weather was pretty bad in Cordova, we had to get special permission to take off,” said Cmdr. Shawn Tripp, pilot and aircraft commander. “As we got closer to Montague Island the weather just got better and better which allowed us to perform a safe rescue.”


The Coast Guard Aviation Support Facility in Cordova is a seasonal forward deployment location to better facilitate a quicker response for search and rescue cases in Prince William Sound.

The PA-20 Pacer is a four-place, strut braced, high-wing light aircraft that was built by Piper Aircraft in the post-World War II period. The Pacer was essentially a four-place version of the two-place PA-17 Vagabond light aircraft. It features a steel tube fuselage and an aluminum frame wing, covered with fabric, much like Piper's most famous aircraft, the Cub and Super Cub. An aircraft prized for its ruggedness, spacious cabin, and, for its time, impressive speed, many Pacers continue to fly today. Factory installed 125 hp (93 kW), 135 hp (100 kW) and 150 hp (112 kW) engine options were available and 160 hp (120 kW) as well as 180 hp (135 kW) engine after-market conversions are an option. 

The Pacer was originally designed as a tailwheel aircraft and thus had somewhat limited forward visibility on the ground and more demanding ground-handling characteristics. To help introduce more pilots to easier, safer flying, in 1953 the PA-20 was redesigned and offered as the PA-22 Tri-Pacer with a nosewheel in place of the tailwheel landing gear. Additionally, the Tri-Pacer offered higher-powered engine options in the form of 150 hp (112 kW) and 160 HP (120 kW) engines, whereas the largest engine available to the original Pacer had an output of 135 hp (100 kW). At the time the tricycle undercarriage became a popular preference and 1953 saw the PA-22 Tri-Pacer outsell the Pacer by a ratio of six to one.  

In 1959 and 1960 Piper offered a cheaper, less well-equipped version of the Tri-Pacer with a 150 HP (112 kW) Lycoming O-320 designated the PA-22-150 Caribbean. Over 8000 Tri-Pacers were produced between 1953 and 1960 when production ended, with over 2000 still registered with the FAA in 2006.

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