Poor decision kills two

Aircraft: Mooney M20E. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Colorado Springs, Colo. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot, 25, was a United States Air Force B-1B pilot. He also held multiple pilot certificates for airplane, including those of instructor. He had logged 913 hours, including 58 in the Mooney M20E. The Mooney was not equipped with anti-icing or deicing equipment and was not approved for flight in known icing conditions.

At the time of the accident IFR conditions existed over the area with conditions favorable for icing below 8,500 feet. AIRMET advisories for IFR, mountain obscuration, turbulence, and icing conditions had been issued. Visibility was reported as less than 1/4 mile in freezing fog, with a ceiling at 100 feet. The approach minimums were 200-foot ceilings and 1/2 mile visibility.

During the initial phase of an instrument approach to the destination airport, the airplane was in visual meteorological conditions above clouds that contained reported icing conditions. Prior to and during the approach, the air traffic controller vectoring the airplane advised the pilot of two pilot reports of icing conditions encountered immediately after departure.

The Mooney entered the clouds at 8,500 feet and reported a missed approach several feet above the decision altitude. No further radio communications were recorded. The wreckage was located on the airport, about 440 feet south of the approach end of the runway. The ground scars and damage to the airplane were consistent with a low-airspeed and high-angle-of-attack impact.

Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to initiate an approach into weather conditions where the ceiling and visibility were below the minimums for the approach and where reported icing existed, in an airplane not certified for flight in icing conditions, and his failure to maintain control of the airplane during the missed approach.

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA124

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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