Aircraft: Grumman Yankee Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Morgan, Utah. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: A witness reported that the airplane took off just before sunrise and that the engine sounded normal. However, during climb-out the airplane collided with rising terrain about three miles from the airport and about 776 feet above field elevation.
A post-accident examination revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
A review of the recorded meteorological data showed that the weather conditions were conducive to frost formation. Further, a witness at the airport reported observing frost on the surfaces of parked airplanes on the day of the accident.
Investigators determined that it is likely that the airplane had frost on its surfaces before takeoff and that the pilot failed to adequately clear the frost off the airplane during the preflight inspection, which increased drag and reduced the production of lift, therefore, the airplane was unable to gain sufficient altitude to clear the rising terrain.
Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in frost remaining on the airplane’s surfaces and led to its inability to produce enough lift to clear rising terrain.
NTSB Identification: WPR13FA041
This November 2012 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.