Ice brings down Lancair

Aircraft: Lancair Legacy. Injuries: None. Location: Troy, Mich. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot obtained a weather briefing prior to the flight. There were no reports of icing along the intended route of flight.

The experimental airplane was equipped with a de-ice system. The pilot checked the system as part of the preflight inspection and determined it was operational.

However prior to entering icing conditions, the pilot said the de-ice system indicated a “failure” but he was not concerned because the airframe was not accumulating ice. However, during the descent, the airplane accumulated approximately six to 10 millimeters of rime ice. The pilot reported the ice to the air traffic controller who cleared him to a lower altitude.

Because of the ice on the airplane, he maintained a higher than usual airspeed in the pattern and on approach. While over the threshold, the plane encountered an abrupt roll to the left. He wasn’t able to recover before hitting the runway with the left main landing gear. The gear collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop.

The pilot estimated the wind was from 350° at 10 knots. Other than the de-ice system, the pilot reported no additional anomalies with the airplane. The reason for the de-ice system failure was not determined.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the landing which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Contributing to the accident was the structural icing on the airframe.

NTSB Identification: CEN11CA135

This December 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

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