On May 28, 2021, a Lancair Evolution was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near McDermott, Ohio. The private pilot and passenger died in the crash.
A review of air traffic control (ATC) information revealed that the airplane departed about 10:14 a.m. from Bellefontaine Regional Airport (KEDJ) in Ohio, on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan, with a destination of Charleston International Airport (KCHS), in South Carolina.
After departure from KEDJ, the airplane climbed to 25,000 feet mean sea level (msl) and accelerated to 215 knots groundspeed. During the next 1 minute and 43 seconds, the airplane gradually decelerated to a groundspeed of 146 knots while in level flight on a southeast heading. Based on winds aloft of 265° at 47 knots, the airplane had decelerated to a calibrated airspeed of about 76 knots.
The airplane subsequently entered a left turn and descended rapidly.
A distressed conversation between the pilot and passenger was transmitted, during which the pilot stated, “I don’t know what happened….it won’t perform.”
The controller attempted unsuccessfully to contact the pilot and radar contact was lost.
A witness on the ground saw the airplane in a spiral descent.
The airplane descended at a nearly vertical angle and hit a wooded area. The wreckage was significantly fire damaged.
An AIRMET for moderate icing was valid between the freezing level and 22,000 feet msl. An AIRMET for moderate turbulence was valid from 25,000 feet to 42,000 feet msl. Both AIRMETs covered KEDJ and the accident location.
Supplemental National Weather Service forecast products indicated a 10% to 60% probability of icing at 20,000 to 25,000 feet msl near the accident site and that the icing intensity near the accident site would range from “light” to “heavy” categories.
Current Icing Potential (CIP) products indicated that the probability of supercooled large droplets (SLD) near the accident site was 10% to 40% between 20,000 and 22,000 feet msl, with an unknown probability of SLD above 22,000 feet msl.
Weather radar and upper air sounding data indicated that the airplane passed through areas of precipitation and icing during the flight and areas of SLD likely existed at the airplane’s altitude near the accident location.
The airplane was not equipped for flight in icing conditions. The onboard Garmin 900X did not incorporate a stall warning and the airplane was not equipped with an angle of attack system.
The pilot did not request or receive weather information from Leidos Flight Service.
A search of archived ForeFlight information indicated that the pilot did not request or receive weather information from ForeFlight before the accident flight.
The air traffic controller did not read the AIRMET information to the pilot or solicit and disseminate pilot weather reports (PIREPs).
According to a Lancair Owner and Builders Organization (LOBO) representative, the pilot received Lancair Evolution transition training from Elite Pilot Services in 2015 and recurrent training from Evolution Flight Services in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The pilot did not complete recurrent training in 2020 or 2021.
The pilot attended five LOBO events from 2016 to 2021, each of which included weather flying and aeronautical decisionmaking topics. During the 2019 event, the pilot attended a seminar on icing considerations.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to recognize and avoid airframe icing conditions, which resulted in a loss of airplane performance and a subsequent loss of control and in-flight break-up.
To download the final report. Click here. This will trigger a PDF download to your device.
This May 2021 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.
Wylbur Wrong says
I think the probable cause was the pilot not getting a full WX briefing that would have included the Airmet warning of super cooled droplets at the altitudes and area where they would fly through.
There is an old saying, Speed Kills — to get people to slow down on highways. Within the Pilot community, we need to understand and remember ICE KILLs.
James Brian Potter says
I think the cause was blatant disregard to the WX enviroment.