This December 2007 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.
Aircraft: Cessna 170B; Location: Alton, N.H.; Injuries: None; Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot and three friends were on a short cross-country flight. The airplane was entering a downwind leg at the destination airport, when the pilot decided to make a low pass over an adjacent lake, near a friend’s property. The pilot said his depth perception was negatively affected due to the flat light and snow on the ground. While maneuvering over the lake, he allowed the plane to get too low. The right main landing gear contacted the snowy frozen surface, which resulted in the right wing hitting the surface. The airplane came to rest upright on the frozen lake, sustaining substantial damage to the right wing and firewall.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance above a frozen lake while maneuvering. Factors contributing to the accident were the pilot’s attempt of the low altitude maneuver and unfavorable lighting conditions.
For more information: NTSB.gov