This March 2009 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: Piper Navajo. Injuries: None. Location: Buckland, Alaska. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The commercial pilot was attempting to land on the snow-covered runway. He applied the brakes but the airplane did not slow. It was about 500 feet from the departure end of the runway when the pilot realized that stopping was going to be a problem, but he elected not to abort the landing. The airplane slid off the end of the runway into a snowbank. The pilot said that he had not received any reports about braking action for the airport that day, but that he had landed there on the previous day and that the condition of the runway then was acceptable.
According to the pilot, there were no known mechanical problems with the airplane prior to the accident. After the accident he examined the runway surface and determined that it was light snow over ice. The FAA Information Supplement for the airport noted that the airport is unattended and visual inspection is recommended prior to landing.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to abort the landing when encountering a lack of traction while landing on a snow and ice-covered runway.
For more information: NTSB.gov