This February 2008 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: Lancair ES. Injuries: 3 Fatal. Location: Albany, Ore. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The non-instrument-rated private pilot filed an instrument flight plan for a cross-country flight. The airplane was not equipped for in-flight icing encounters. The pilot was seated in the right seat, and the airplane’s owner, also a non-instrument-rated private pilot, was in the left seat. Family members indicated that the pilot and the owner/pilot flew together often, and the right seat pilot would provide radio and navigation assistance to the owner/pilot. Based on the available evidence, investigators were unable to determine who was flying the airplane at the time of the accident. The airplane was cleared to climb to 13,000 feet, and approximately eight minutes after departure, declared an emergency and was lost from radar.
Data obtained from instrumentation on board the airplane indicated that after attaining approximately 10,400 feet, the airplane entered a rapid descent. Weather information showed that icing conditions were forecast along the route of flight. Records show multiple weather information requests from the right seat pilot’s computer log-on information to a digital weather service provider the night prior to the accident, and the left seat owner/pilot received a weather briefing via telephone the night prior to the accident. All briefings indicated that visual flight rules to marginal visual flight rules conditions were forecast, and there were AIRMET advisories for mountain obscuration, icing, and turbulence.
Probable cause: The pilot-in-command’s failure to maintain aircraft control while in cruise flight. Contributing to the accident were inadequate planning/decision, icing conditions, and continued flight into known icing conditions.
For more information: NTSB.gov