Ice contributes to fatal accident

This February 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Posted as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Beech 18.
Location: Great Bend, Kan.
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot had an airline transport certificate and at least 3,250 hours of experience, including 1,680 in multiengine aircraft. Of that 255 hours were in the Beech 18 and 430 hours in actual instrument conditions.

The pilot had flown in and out of the airport many times. Before the flight he obtained a weather briefing that included an AIRMET for IFR conditions and icing along the route. The en route portion of the flight was uneventful. ATC cleared the pilot for the ILS approach to runway 35.

The pilot acknowledged the approach clearance. At the time of the accident the ceiling at the airport was reported as 500 feet in mist.

When the airplane reached the outer marker ATC approved the pilot for a frequency change to the common traffic advisory frequency. The pilot acknowledged the frequency change, and there were no further communications. A witness saw the airplane at an altitude of 200 feet AGL west of the runway. The airplane then entered a climbing left turn to the south and disappeared into the clouds, a maneuver consistent with the published missed approach procedure. Shortly thereafter, the witness observed the airplane in a dive. It then crashed behind some hangars. Investigators noted that the flaps and landing gear were extended and the leading edge surfaces of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, as well as antennas, revealed 1/4 to 1/2 inches of clear ice.

Examination of the airframe and engines revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operations.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control during the missed approach, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and impact with terrain. The ice was a factor.

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