NTSB Identification: IAD96LA063.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 16, 1996 in ROCKY MOUNT, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/1998
Aircraft: Glasair GL20, registration: N518EC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was cruising at 13,000 feet msl in IMC conditions when the pilot requested and received clearance to descend to 9,000 feet to avoid flying in the clouds. Radar data indicates that moments later the airplane made a turn to the right and descended abruptly, then disappeared from radar and radio contact. Witnesses reported that there were severe storms in the area, including hail, heavy rain, high winds, thunder, and lightning at the time of the accident. Analysis of satellite imagery indicated a temperature of -12 degrees at 9,000 feet msl and a freezing level at 4,700 feet msl. AIRMET Zulu Update 2 for icing conditions pertained to the route of flight, and there were numerous pilot reports of turbulence and icing conditions in the vicinity of the accident. There was no record that the pilot was advised by FSS of the AIRMET information about the icing conditions. ATC records indicated that the pilot had encountered severe turbulence at altitudes below 13,000 feet during the 1 1/2 hours before the accident. According to the Owners Manual, the airplane must not be exposed to icing encounters of any intensity.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's continued flight into adverse weather conditions which led to airframe ice and a loss of control. Related factors were: the failure of the FSS briefer to advise the pilot of a valid AIRMET regarding icing conditions, the icing conditions, and turbulence.

Full narrative available

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